1. Lesson 35: Failure

      written by Ray Benefield
      And finally the third lesson of the day. Again if you missed it, I posted three lessons today to celebrate me and Manda's first anniversary/halloween. Here is lessons 33 and lesson 34 if you missed them. You can also get all 35 lessons in a PDF on the forge lessons page. It stays updated every time I release a new lesson. It is formatted to only have one lesson per page, enjoy it. Just wanted to give you guys a heads up that Hoarders, me and Sotha Sil's new standard gametype, has gotten some incredible feedback at many places. It is just as innovative as Conquest and can prove to be just as popular. The gametype is suspenseful and fun and is worth atleast one play-through. If you are a fan of new experiences in Halo, you will love this gametype. Also you can make your own maps work for hoarders with a few simple steps. So check it out if you haven't already. You can find my other creations on the My Creations page. I may not be posting tomorrow or the day after cuz of the whole anniversary ordeal. But I will see you guys around and I will still respond to your comments. So comment away folks. We get over a thousand views a day so I know you guys are reading. Let me know what you guys think of the lessons so far. I love the feedback and it motivates me to keep going. Hope you enjoyed today's three lesson extravaganza. Laterz peepz...




      Things can’t always go your way. Not everything you make is going to be perfect. Not everything you make is going to succeed in the vast ocean of content out there in the world. It is hard to accept and admit failure. But learning to use failure as a tool to reach perfection is key to improving as a designer. Failure isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it is the most important tool in your toolbox.


      Acceptance


      If something doesn’t play well, then admit it. Don’t deny it. The sooner you admit that it didn’t play to your standards, the sooner you can use it as a stepping stone towards something greater. Nobody wants to say that their map is terrible. We want to share our successes and ignore our failures. How about instead of ignoring our failures we learn from them. There is no shame in making a mistake once as long as we learn from it. However you should be ashamed if you haven’t tried to learn from your mistake and you blatantly commit the same crime again. Sometimes you can only get better through failing. Sometimes you don’t know that something is going to be terrible until you apply it. When you fail, you grow.


      Fail to succeed


      So what’s the key to success? Fail early and fail often. Fail when people aren’t expecting you to be perfect. Fail at the earliest opportunity possible because what you learn from your failure may help in your next project. If you have a crazy idea that might not work, then go try it. It is better to know now than to wonder later and fail when you have so many people counting on you to be awesome. You never know what’s good until you know what’s bad, right? And sometimes you never know how good something is until you know how bad it can be. Failure can lead to inspiration for your next project that seeks to remedy the mistake that you made. Innovation in design can lead to tragic failures. On the flip side it can lead to something revolutionary. Innovate the world around you and then tweak it to perfection. You will fail along the way, but you may find something that can completely change the world of design as you know it. Taking the time to invest in failure is something that needs to be taken into consideration as well. Failure is never a waste of time. Before you can create a wondrous pyramid, you’ve got to create the base. You’ve got to build up to reach the sky.


      The back burner


      So sometimes you fail and you can’t figure out where you went wrong. Don’t just drop it completely. Set your idea to the side for now. Future failures and things that you learn may help you learn from your massive failure. Let your idea simmer on the back burner as you work on other things. Revisit your idea every once in a while to see if new things you learned can help you solve the problem that you had. Never fully drop an idea into the abyss. All ideas have merit. The trick is to make that idea work. Who knows… a year from now you may return to an idea with a fancy new toolbox and a shiny new hammer. Maybe at that point you can finally nail that idea to the ground, solidifying its spot in history. Then you can look back and tell people how you turned failure into success and made a name for yourself. If I can do it, so can you.


      27 comments:

      GodlyPerfection said...

      Actually sir anonymous... he covers some pretty important things. I actually just did a write up comparison of his design guide vs the forge lessons. Feel free to read it... lol.

      On a side note, Carney's guide makes me feel like I'm on the right track to be a level designer. Woot!!! ;)

      Anonymous said...

      Same dummy that built Boardwalk and Snowbound? Yeah, I'd love to hear his advice. Probably be just as horrible as O'Than's guide.

      anANGRYkangaroo said...

      Hey everybody. Chris Carney released HIS guide on how to create levels (he is a level designer for bungie) and i thought you all might want to see it. http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?type=topnews&cid=29601
      ^^Linkage ^^
      He also touched on a few of Godly's lessons, and simplified them... I guess Godly DID know what he was talkin about ;P

      SmartAlec13 said...

      A lesson that shouldnt be forgotten. One thing about failure is you can always learn from it, and either get right back into forging, or take a small break for a while, go play some matchmaking, try some other games, and then get a stroke of genius at 3am and pop in your reach disc and get to forging.

      DriedMoss said...

      Time. A very simple friend that provides a designer with unlimited potential to reward themselves for regular and constant practice.

      My very first Reach Forge map, Quad Base, has seen its share of failures; being too big, wrong location, too elevated, awkward orientation to fixed geometry, and many other problems that caused Quad Base to spend some time on the Back Burner.

      Being on the Back Burner was for the best-because Quad Base is developing and fitting in nicely with a multitude of play types - even invasion.

      Failure is context sensitive, it allows us to understand the ultimate goal as being worth the time spent, and failure should always be a learning point, not a stopping point. Remember the lesson on patience. Don't rush your great ideas simply to firehose the community with bad design.

      Refine, Revisit, Review, Replay, Reset (too many 'R' words) and accept failure as a means to progress your design vision towards perfection.

      Forge with Determination.

      Prod said...

      Ok, i'll get on then.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      How could I forget such a fun gametype... lol. It was great. I was actually just about to get on to chill with Sotha. So if you are online then we can chill... it is my anniversary today though so I can't sty on for long.

      Prod said...

      I'm all too familiar with failure.

      Speaking of failing. I want you to help me test the follow-up to "You're on a roll" You probably can't remember it, but you enjoyed it at the time.

      GodlyPerfection said...

      @Sotha

      You and I are some of the people that know this the best. We innovate, then fail, then innovate again, then fail again, until we finally get it right. And that is how Hot Potato came around. Conquest was the same thing because it was originally made for the pit with teleporters and it was terrible. I love these topics that a lot of designers don't write about because it seems like common sense sometimes, but it really needs to be pointed out to truly understand it.

      @ Brik

      Congrats on the changing up on your map bro. I enjoyed the concept you have going and I really can't wait to play on it again. Personally I LOVE FFA over team games (which is a surprise from my creation of Conquest, one of the most teamwork oriented games out there... lol). I look forward to playtesting it with you bro.

      @ Noklu

      Thanks for the happy anniversary ;). And Helix is definitely a fine example of this. I spent a month on it and it just didn't turn out the way that I had planned so it is sitting on the back burner. I may not even finish it for the forgetacular competition (leaving me with currently no entry). We shall see. I've been quite busy. I do wish everyone who is doing the forgetacular contest luck though. I have faith in all of you.

      @ Moss

      That is one of the best connections that can be found amongst these lessons. Going back through all of the lessons and understanding how they mix with each other is a great way to learn more about level design. Patience is definitely a powerful concept in terms of failure and those of you who enjoy this lesson would do well to re-read that one. And I wish you luck on the future of Quad Base I hope it turns out to be exactly what you want it to be... or close to it. ;) Great analysis Moss.

      BadCompany Brik said...

      "The sooner you admit that it didn’t play to your standards," is this foreshadowing a lesson on standards?

      I recently had a spectacular failure of a 4v4 objective map, but after a few quick modifications, it became an FFA map that lots of people that have tested it really like.

      And wow, three lessons in one day. This is fantastic.

      Noklu said...

      Congratulations on the anniversary, Godly.

      I have to say that this seems very reminiscent of recent placing of Helix on the backburner, hey?

      Sotha said...

      And being that the only thing I do when making games (well, most of the time at least) is to try to innovate, I am very familiar with failure. Back in Halo 3, I must have worked on at least a hundred concepts, and what, I posted less than fifteen of them. Some I worked on for months and months (Tactical Corps, Blind, all of my ODST games), but I was never able to get them to play even remotely well. And I eventually had to lay them aside to work on newer and more immediate concepts.

      That isn't to say that nothing came out of them though. I learned from my mistakes. I learned to start by testing the general ideas of my games to see if they have any chance of being fun before making the maps and everything perfect and wasting my time horribly if they fall through. Or, while trying to make a failed concept better, I make offshoots that actually are fun, like Tactical Strike and Expendable, both of which were from my attempts to make an ODST game. And sometimes even, as you mentioned, after a long time on the back burner, I am able to bring some games (such as Maelstrom and the sadly unposted Air Ride) back, whether through a sudden inspiration or new developments in my game-designing abilities, and they rise to become some of my biggest successes from the ashes of failure.

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