Arthouse Games
by DougTuesday, June 12, 2007 [4:53 pm]

I agree that flOw, while nifty, is not a great example of "DDA." Before you understand how it works, with separate levels, it keeps you flowing alright. You eat stuff more or less indiscriminately until you encounter something that bites back, at which point you either win or lose. Losing gets you bumped back up to safer waters, and winning allows you to continue, and also nets you some powerups. Once you realize how the depth levels work though, it becomes a rather uninteresting slog to the bottom, the only goal available.

I'm not sure your example of a multi-planar platformer is a better example of DDA though. If you leave it up to the player to adjust the difficulty, it's not really dynamic. The best example of DDA I can think of is in the chase minigames in The Simpsons Hit & Run. Principal Skinner's car gets a significant speed boost if you get far enough ahead, but he slams into a tree if you're too far behind, until you catch up. Ideally, this is all completely transparent to the player, so the race is tense no matter how good they are at driving. Of course, there have to be some limits so there is a chance of failure or success, otherwise the tension is lost again, since the repeat player knows he can't lose (or win, whichever).

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