With regard to the new Cautions section: what with impartiality and everything, I think that theory articles made for the wiki should avoid explicitly saying "Don't Do This", particularly in very generalised statements. I'd much prefer if this sort of consideration was rephrased in terms of 'This behaviour can have this-and-this negative effect, and here is why.' I'd like to rephrase the Cautions section a bit and move its points into Disadvantages. I'm aware this is a bit nitpicky, but I think it's an important distinction. -- Maga 19:20, 5 Dec 2005 (Central Standard Time)
Well, the two examples I gave are recognised as things not to do in a game (in reviews / newsgroup comments) rather than disadvantages of randomness per se, so I don't think they belong in the Disadvantages section ... maybe they need some explicit justification about why they are classified as bad ? I think it is way more helpful to include lessons learned from past IF design than to avoid any judgements at all - if a statement provokes a reaction (eg. "mazes are bad !") then a discussion on the wiki page may be more helpful than removing that statement completely. -- David Fisher 13:50, 06 Dec 2005 (EST / Sydney Time)
Devil's advocate: purely because something is 'recognised as things not to do in a game', whether by individuals or community consensus, doesn't make it impossible for a game to be written which employs that element to good effect. Rules For Creating Art are useful, but never absolute; I'd rather avoid treating them as if they were. I'm not talking about removing a statement completely; I'm talking about rephrasing it so that it contains the same information - and is equally useful as a Lesson Learned - but isn't an unequivocal judgement. I agree that specific instances are useful, however, and encourage the addition of more - it's easy to slip into opaque theoryspeak with this sort of thing.
As for the 'disadvantages of randomness per se' thing, I think they're (usefully) specific examples of general disadvantages of randomness. Thus:
- Random elements lower authorial control over the player's experience.
- Randomness may cause players to miss good elements of a game through no fault of their own, since they may assume that a random response is what always happens when they attempt a particular action. Randomness can thus be a great way for an author to sell themselves short.
- If important information is displayed in a random fashion, it becomes more likely that the player will miss it, or come across it at a non-optimal point of gameplay. (For example, a book which displays a random page each time you open it, one of which contains a vital clue for completing the game.)
--Maga 22:26, 6 Dec 2005 (Central Standard Time)