09:48:59 AM Jan 2nd 2013
Okay, this description is ridiculously long. Anyone mind if I move the specific patterns listed to the Analysis page?
05:49:14 AM Aug 24th 2010
I don't like the link to Sarlin's article. It doesn't take a "Tropes are Tools" stand on this issue. It's very much anti-Positive Feedback Loop (PFL). The article states opinion as fact, and has the arrogance to say, "Still, Chess is a pretty good game anyway," dismissively, as though he were handing out a compliment to the slow child in the class. I don't care what this douchebag thinks; Chess is likely the 2nd most widely played unsolved game after Go on the planet. And it wouldn't be hard to say that Go also exhibits strong PFL. And Starcraft? I know this guy is a fighting game player, but he needs to understand that Starcraft is competitive eSports worldwide. More money has been given out in Starcraft pro tournaments than in pretty much everything else combined. The problem with the article, and pretty much everything else on Sarlin.net, is that the author's ability to reason is eclipsed only by his opinion of his ability to reason. He thinks he knows everything, so rather than looking at things from a different perspective, he just assumes that things he doesn't like (like PFL) are a priori bad. He makes no attempt to justify why it's bad other than some (again, a priori) notion that forfeits in games are bad and PFL leads to that. In short, this is not a "thorough examination of the problem". It is not a priori a problem to begin with. And it's certainly not thorough. It is simply a popular competitive gamer's opinion; it doesn't contain any deep, detailed analysis of the issues involved. It makes only a half-hearted attempt to separate good PFL from bad PFL, and even then it only serves to follow the gamer's opinion that fighting games are somehow better than, you know, the most popular boardgames on the planet.
10:46:19 AM Jan 18th 2011
Not happy with the link either - Games need both positive and negative feedback (or neither, but I'll come to that later), because designs that are too much in favor of one or the other lead to design flaws (either the early game becomes irrelevant - basically the Golden Snitch problem - in the case of too much negative feedback, or the game ends when one player loses ground - I believe board game circles call it the Runaway Leader Problem. ...And, yeah, forfeits are bad*, because they mean that the game got to a point where the endgame was sufficiently meaningless for one of the players to consider themselves without a chance of victory, but the victory criteria hadn't been reached. They're a patch solution to runaway leader, at best. Not playing the additional 2+ hours until the winner finishes bankrupting the losers in monopoly doesn't mean those two hours aren't a flaw - It just means that beyond a point, X, the game becomes too boring to bother finishing playing. (Monopoly... Is a good game. Provided you ignore the 2+ hour endgame after you already know who's going to win, and the 30-60 minutes of overly random set up phase where the properties are being purchased initially and which can completely shut out some players. But, man, the mid game where the trades are flying thick and fast which lasts 15-60 minutes depending on the group and exactly what happened in the early game? That's some sweet gaming... Thankfully, there are other games that don't have the 2 and a half hours plus of non-good stuff surrounding the same core of the good stuff (Namely, the trading), but at the time there was limited design technology to work with) ...And you're indignation that he dislikes chess because of chess's popularity is equating popularity with quality - No such correlation appears to exist, in either a negative or positive direction (...Plus chess is too prone to rote memorization of strategies and move sets - A game where strategies are studied is fine, a game where you basically apply memorized strategies until one of you makes a mistake isn't so much. And the fact that white getting the opening move equates to half pawn advantage, when at top level play a third of a pawn is the smallest noticeable advantage, is a flaw... Though if he's going on an anti-positive feedback rage, his choice of western chess over, say, Shogi is somewhat surprising, what with Shogi being zero sum - You capture your opponents piece... Then you capture it and can deploy it as your own (Interestingly balanced by that costing a turn to redeploy from hand.), and his choice to use chess rather than a poor but popular game like monopoly does somewhat indicate that him using chess isn't intended to , but instead be a genuine statement that 'just because a game has this thing that I consider a flaw doesn't mean its a bad game' - Most people, weather they enjoy it or not, will have a positive view of Chess.
12:30:48 AM Jan 30th 2011
"And, yeah, forfeits are bad*, because they mean that the game got to a point where the endgame was sufficiently meaningless for one of the players to consider themselves without a chance of victory, but the victory criteria hadn't been reached." However "bad" you consider them, they're still necessary. Consider the logical wedge. If you have a game that lasts 10 minutes, what happened in the last, say, 15 seconds? Was that the deciding 15 seconds? At what point in the 10 minutes was the game truly decided (assuming one of the players doesn't drop dead)? If it was in the last 15 seconds of play, then what was going on in the other 9:45 of play that the decision was only made then? Consider actual sports. Time runs out. That's when the game is technically decided. But if you're down 5 touchdowns and there's only 6 minutes on the clock, while there is technically still a chance for a comeback, it's highly unlikely. Most games have a point before the technical end of the game when the actions of the losing player are functionally irrelevant. This is common in games, and often essentially unavoidable. Even a "patch solution" like forfeiting is still a solution. They become part of the Social Contract between the players playing the game. They're informal rules, like, "We agree not to flip the board over in disgust" and "We agree not to yank the network cable out if we're losing." The Social Contract may not be formal rules of the game, but they're just as important to the enjoyment of the game for all concerned. "And you're indignation that he dislikes chess because of chess's popularity is equating popularity with quality" True, but when you have a boardgame that has managed to last hundreds of years, there's a very good chance that there's some quality there. And I never said that he dislikes Chess because of its popularity. "And the fact that white getting the opening move equates to half pawn advantage, when at top level play a third of a pawn is the smallest noticeable advantage, is a flaw" I never said Chess was perfect either. I'm not sure what you're getting at here. "and his choice to use chess rather than a poor but popular game like monopoly does somewhat indicate that him using chess isn't intended to , but instead be a genuine statement that 'just because a game has this thing that I consider a flaw doesn't mean its a bad game'" First, he probably didn't include Monopoly because he's probably never really played it. Not everyone has really played Monopoly. People have fooled around with it, but you'd be surprised by just how many people don't really know all the rules. Second, I was taking umbrage to the way he said that Chess is "still a good game." It did not sound like a genuine statement in context. It did not sound like he was giving Chess any of the respect it deserves as a game.
07:43:33 PM Aug 16th 2010
Am I the only one who thinks that "Positive Feedback Loop" would be a better and more accurate title for this page?