One of the things that new designers should learn is the fearsome power of feedback in gameplay. Great games use feedback to guide the player, letting them master the skills necessary to master the games. With great design comes great power in the form of the feedback loop. For example, a feedback loop can help advance a game; having more units in a strategy game usually allows you to win more battles, leading to the final victory faster.
But, there are also dark sides to the feedback loop when it doesn’t start properly or if it becomes self-reinforcing. In this case, the feedback accelerates the loop. The RTS example can turn into a self-reinforcing loop if there is no way to overcome superior numbers in the game through game features like defensive structures. In this case, the player who builds the most powerful side first and plays at least as well as his or her opponent will win.
So, let’s take a look at some of the feedback loops in games in more detail.