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Session Name:

Make Things Worse: Enabling Setbacks for Consequential Play


At runtime, the player and game form a complex system that is resilient to severe shocks. When shocks happen, a mechanically deeper game will afford the player more ways to recover. Ubisoft's Patrick Redding argues that for a game experience to be meaningful, players should suffer occasional setbacks - situations in which the game requires them to shift their immediate goal in order to continue and succeed. In this session, Redding (Far Cry 2, Splinter Cell Blacklist) explores the conditions that permit setbacks to develop systemically and examines several design strategies that encourage them without provoking players into reloading a saved game. Redding looks at the unique challenge of fostering recoverable setbacks in stealth games, which at their best lets players play a tense cat-and-mouse game with a formidable AI; but which at their worst can degenerate into brittle guesswork with little room for experimentation or error.

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  • GDC 2014
  • Patrick Redding
  • .
  • free content
  • Design
  • Design