'Twinkie Denying' Game Design Decisions Ernest Adams of the No Twinkie Database of bad game design decisions is back with volume 9 of his "bad designer, no Twinkie!" essay series. Based on a variety of suggestions from readers, Adams outlines a number of bad design decisions — not all of which I necessarily agree with, but certainly provides from fodder for discussion. Unclear outlining of win/loss conditions are an example of a 'Twinkie denying' design flaw:
Tim Elder of Blue Alto (big up for using your real details, Tim) writes, "I was playing through the single player missions in the Dawn of War expansion Winter Assault when I got to an Eldar mission that involved blowing up an Ork power generator to cause a distraction. My first time through the mission, I read the mission briefing, which stated that we didn't have enough troops for a full assault, so we had to blow up the generator to bring the Orks to it, and we could go around them." "My troops approached the generator, killing the small numbers of Orks along the way, and all of a sudden the screen faded out and a message popped up saying 'You have failed the mission.' Huh? Why?" So he tried something else, and got the same response. And again, and again. "Reload after reload and I still have no idea why I failed the mission, even after once having destroyed the stupid generator. Surely win and loss conditions should be well spelt out, so that the player knows what they need to do, and avoid doing." You're damn right they should. It's one of the most basic principles of design. Bad Game Designer! No Twinkie!
And so on. It's actually a very interesting read, and certainly more entertaining than some of the drier articles on game design that we usually come across. The Designer's Notebook: Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie! IX [Gamasutra]