This hallway connects the street scene to the bedroom. There will be another similar one upstairs. It’s not finished yet. Work is slow.
Demon’s Souls & Positive Feedback
Now I promised to talk about Demon’s Souls in a previous post. Well, where to begin?
This game is revolutionary.
Most modern titles use what we designers term ‘Negative Feedback’ – this is not what is sounds like. A real-world example of this is a heating system, that pushes itself on when the temperature drops below a threshold. A game example of this, and the clearest I can think of, is the Blue Shell in Mario Kart. Get too far behind and the game attempts to balance itself out by giving you a massive advantage when you’re trailing (Blue Shells almost always get given to the player in last position, never to the leader, and are pretty much unavoidable when as the leader.)
This seems like an intuitive way to keep the play tight and competitive.
A ‘Positive Feeback’ loop specifies the opposite: that the further ahead you are, the better you do, and the further you trail, the worse you do. In the example of the heater, this would mean getting warmer when above the threshold, instead of below it, so in theory the heater would keep heating until it blew up, or never heat up at all.
Demon’s Souls uses this counter-intuitive system through virtually all its mechanics. The primary method being through the loss of souls and ‘downgrade’ to Soul Form when killed (you have half your normal HP). In other words, the game gets harder when you fail.
This shouldn’t work – so why does it?
Stay tuned for the next episode to find out!