What is trial and error?

What is trial and error?

  • Trial and error is a method for learning.
  • The player makes an action.
    • If the action has a negative consequence, the player can refine his/her action to produce a more desirable outcome.
  • Trial and error is a good way to learn the consequences of actions in a game, provided that the consequences do not result in frustration.

Trial and error is one of the most intuitive ways to learn.
Each time the player makes an error s/he can adjust his/her actions until they are more refined.

However, trial and error can be a frustrating way to learn if the consequences for errors are too severe.
These consequences can interfere with the learning process.
For example, the player arrives at the end of a level and encounters an obstacle. The player makes a mistake on obstacle and dies as a consequence. This causes him/her to restart to level. By the s/he returns to the level, it is likely that s/he will forget what s/he has learnt so far about the obstacle.

A simplified trial and error obstacle should occur at the start of level section. This will allow the player to learn without frustrating consequences. Once the player has cleared the simplified obstacle, the consequences of later examples of the obstacle can be increased. This increase in difficulty pacing will be acceptable, as the player will have gained the skills needed to tackle the obstacle.


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