Jon, Dirk and David discuss the role of failure in games and how it ties in with how people learn how to play. What does punishment add, and where can it go wrong? How do you effectively teach players strategy games? What do PLAYERS get out of failure? And how the heck do you learn a tabletop game without tooltips?
This is a very important topic, and one I feel isn’t given due attention by most developers. A point I made during the show that bears repeating here is that even people who do this for a living feel helpless the first time they play a new game.
In this age of F2P, demos and good ol’ word-of-mouth it’s absolutely crucial that we developers do whatever we can to ease the learning curve in our games. Writing tooltips and help systems and top-notch manuals isn’t fun, but the learnability of your game is really just about as important as whether or not it’s fun.
Some people are willing to grit their teeth and fight their way to the good stuff – but many aren’t. Is the cost of spending another 5% of the effort you’ve put into the rest of the game worth the reward of possibly doubling your audience? The answer seems obvious to me!