Friday, 11 January 2019

HyperRogue 11.0 released!

After a long break, HyperRogue version 11.0 is released on Steam and itch.io!

For new players who do not know the old stuff: HyperRogue is a unique turn-based roguelike, taking place in a mind-bending, infinite, non-Euclidean world. People often assume that the game takes place on a sphere, or that it is a "normal" world, just displayed in some fisheye perspective -- HyperRogue is just the opposite of that. If you think that this means some space stitched in crazy ways with invisible portals -- HyperRogue is not that either, it is non-Euclidean in actual, mathematical sense, which is much more interesting! HyperRogue takes place in a non-Euclidean world where the space itself works in a fundamentally different way to ours, where "parallel" lines do not stay parallel forever -- intuitively, whenever there are two straight lines that appear to be parallel, new space grows exponentially between them, causing them to diverge (see FAQ). In the world of HyperRogue, the number of cells in distance 1000 from the starting point make numbers such as the number of atoms in the Universe laughably small!

This version includes three new lands, a new game mode, new geometries and projections, new music, and many minor features and other improvements.



Each of more than 60 lands in HyperRogue introduces unique mechanics (often unique not only to HyperRogue) -- sometimes they do not appear elsewhere in the game, sometimes these mechanics are developed in other lands, which build new unique mechanics on top of them. This new land, the Irradiated Fields, also does introduce some new mechanics of their own, but it is also important how it lets the mechanics originally found in other places interact in interesting ways.

These fields are ravaged with many kinds of magical radiation, which not only make the ground glow nicely in various colors, but also cause the inhabitants to protect the treasures of their land in various ways. In some areas of the Irradiated Fields, you will meet powerful enemies, such as Pikemen, Necromancers or Brown Raiders; in other areas, you will find arrow traps, fire traps, or pools, which can kill you if you are careless, or help you if you know how to use them to your advantage. Will you walk through the Irradiated Fields randomly, or try to find areas where treasures are common but nasty monsters are not, and keep to them? It is your choice!

Galápagos was a land whose properties changed slightly as you explored it, and forced you to find a specific combination of properties; there were 2097152 combinations, but because of how compressed the HyperRogue's infinite world is, you could still find the right one quite easily. In the Irradiated Fields, the properties also change as you travel, but now, they strongly affect the gameplay, by introducing specific enemies, terrain features, or other mechanics.

Irradiated Fields can be found when you have at least 30 (75 in Orb Strategy Mode) Chrysoberyls, Emeralds, and Necromancer Totems in total.



There are several platformer lands in HyperRogue which check how the notions of "horizontal" and "vertical" would work in a hyperbolic world -- afterall, you no longer have parallel lines... The first one in HyperRogue was the Ivory Tower, where two vertical ladders with their bottoms very close have their tops quite far away. Yendorian Forest had a similar structure, with space allowing infinite, exponentially branching trees to grow; Dungeon and Lost Mountain are reversed: the space expands as we go down.

Now, the Free Fall is a land where gravity is orthogonal to the diverging straight lines. You get here through a window in what appears to be a normal (well, infinite) horizontal wall. However, on the other side, that wall turns out to be the vertical wall of an infinitely high tower. Jump from the window, and let the magical gravity carry you...

The gravity will naturally let you fall in a fixed distance from the tower, but you are able to steer your movement a bit, by changing towards outer or inner cycles. However, the space grows as you get further away you are from the tower: five steps in distance 10 from the tower correspond to roughly 15 in distance 12, roughly 45 in distance 14, roughly 135 in distance 16, and so on: in distance 110, the original five steps correspond to octillion. Want to catch a falling Meteorite? You will never catch it if you pursue it on the same cycle, but you can simply move close to the tower, and you will be able to fly faster (in some sense) and thus catch it! After fighting the angry monsters and collecting all the required treasure, and returning back to the world where you can rest on an actual floor, it is fun to check how far away we ended up from the window we originally jumped from -- despite falling for a long time, we usually end up just one or two screens from it.

Free Fall can be found when you have 5 Phoenix Feathers and 5 Ivory Figurines.



The mountainous Brown Islands have started appearing in the Ocean, and of course, they contain some treasure! Will you manage to get these treasures safely, despite the attacks of Bronze Bugs which can be only killed by dropping them into water or from a great height, Acid Gulls which melt the earth away where they die, and occassional Pirates?

What does it has to do with hyperbolic geometry? Well, the Brown Islands have been generated by ancient underground creatures, who moved randomly and raised lands in their path... adults spawned larvae in each move, which also moved randomly and also raised lands in their path, and eventually became adults and spawned their own larvae. In a Euclidean plane, it is well known that a creature moving randomly on a two-dimensional grid will get back to the original starting point (and in fact any other point) infinitely many times, so even if our creature did not multiply, it would eventually destroy the whole world with its terraforming action. The same happens if the creature moves in more dimensions, as long as it multiplies -- the space simply grows slower than its spawn. But the hyperbolic plane grows exponentially, and faster than the spawn... allowing our creatures to create interesting terrain!

Look for strange birds in the Ocean to reach the Brown Islands.



The racing mode is a new addition to HyperRogue, which allows you to experience the hyperbolic geometry in a new way. In a normal race, it does not matter much whether you are running on the left side, center, or the right side of the track; in hyperbolic geometry, a competitor aiming to win the race will always aim to run on the center -- if they move slightly to the right, the space between their line and the central track will grow, causing them to quickly run away from their goal (if they do not turn), or take a much longer route. The animation above presents a race -- the goal is far away up. While it may look that the Princess and the Salamander have a shorter way to go, that race is in fact fair -- all the points on the white starting line are in the same distance from the goal!





While in the usual game of HyperRogue you could be attacked from any direction, making most projections other than the usual Poincaré disk model less playable, the linear nature of the racing mode makes it fun to experiment with the other hyperbolic projections. You can race as usual -- seeing the world from the point of view of the racer, in the Poincaré disk model -- but you can also try the band model (in the animation above) which presents the whole track nicely, or the half-plane projection which gives an impression of an infinitely zooming track; or the third person perspective mode (pictured above). Whatever you choose, hyperbolic racing is challenging even on a straight line -- while you can run as fast as you want, if you run too fast, it is really hard to stay on the track when the space grows exponentially before you. A moment of carelessness, and you start running in a completely wrong direction!



There have been some updates after the last announced version (10.4)... while significant, they were not announced, because they were more concerned with experimentation with geometry and topology rather than gameplay -- and I believe that a big update should include new and well balanced gameplay. The picture above presents probably the most interesting of the new geometries. At the first glance, it appears that we are on the hyperbolic plane, in {6,4} tiling. But look closer... The Princess and the Reptile appear multiple times, which suggests this is actually a single Princess and a single Reptile in a wrapped space, and we can see this pair looking into multiple directions (the light rays follow the curvature of the surface). What space it is? Well, look at the numbers -- each cell has a red, green, and blue coordinate, and in each adjacent cell, exactly one coordinate changes by exactly one. This has the same connection structure as a kind of crystal (say, NaCl) in three dimensions -- each grid point is connected to the point to north, south, east, west, up, and down! More precisely, it turns out that what we see here is a periodic surface pictured below.



This construction works in more dimensions too... so you can play in something which looks like a hyperbolic plane, but is actually, say, a four-dimensional "crystal" grid. Can you find the Holy Grail, in four-dimensional Camelot, put right in the center of a four-dimensional ball? While it looks like hyperbolic geometry, the gameplay is Euclidean -- normally in HyperRogue, if you get attacked in a free area by two monsters at once, you can "move in an extra direction" (provided by the hyperbolic nature of the world) to force them to line up. However, this does not work in this geometry -- if you flee, both monsters will always find a way to get next to you again! It is easy to see that this will be the case when you consider the multi-dimensional Euclidean world this geometry models. This space is available in the "Experiment with Geometry" special game mode, check "show quotient spaces" and choose "dimensional crystal".



HyperRogue 11 also includes new music by Will Savino -- while still a long way from having a unique music for each of over 60 lands, the new additions make the soundtrack much more balanced and matching the theme. Also lots of minor improvements are added -- see the changelog for the details. The original idea of hyperbolic racing mode is by Triple_Agent_AAA, and the new lands are roughly based on the ideas of many players in the "Suggestions for the new lands" thread, including J Pystynen, bluetailedgnat, wonderfullizardofoz, and tehora. The free version has been updated to 10.5d, so it also includes some new minor features (but no Racing mode, no new lands, and no social features such as achievements, leaderboards, and the Strange Challenge).

This is not the end, new lands are planned. Will we reach 100 lands? For now, get HyperRogue v11 from Steam, and have fun!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

HyperRogue 10.4 is now available freely!

Version 10.4b of the non-Euclidean roguelike HyperRogue is released freely!

The last free version of HyperRogue (10.0c) was released almost a year ago. What has been added in the meantime?


Every land in the main game introduces new mechanics, new thematic treasure, and a magical Orb power for you to use; many of these mechanics are unique -- not used in any other land, and in any other game. Most new versions add new lands, and this is true here too -- nine new lands have been added, and HyperRogue now has over 60 lands!
  • Hunting Grounds is a new basic land which aims to show that the hyperbolic geometry not only gives HyperRogue a unique look, but it is also gives unique gameplay. This land helps you to learn the basic combat tactics in the hyperbolic plane... these tactics would not work in the Euclidean world!
  • Blizzard is a land of mighty winds and intense coldness.
  • Terracotta Army is a land filled with arrow traps and poweful warrior statues which wake up when you get too close.
  • No place is safe from lava in the Volcanic Wasteland.
  • In the Jelly Kingdom, monsters become walls and vice versa whenever you pick up a treasure.
  • The Raiders from the Ruined City are all immune to your normal attack, but every type has a different weakness, which lets you escape in some way.



What about the remaining three lands? Well, the new version not only has more lands, but also lets you get more possibilities out of the existing lands by changing the grid. HyperRogue is normally played on the "hyperbolic soccerball" tiling of hexagons and heptagons, with 2 hexagons and 1 heptagon meeting in every vertex. As we already know from the older versions, using only hexagons gives us the standard Euclidean hex grid (which lets you see how most things which make HyperRogue unique do not work in Euclidean geometry), having only heptagons makes the hyperbolic effects stronger, and having pentagons instead of hexagons lets us explore the geometry of the spherical soccer ball. What are the new possibilities?
  • What if we replace heptagons with octagons? Hyperbolic effects get stronger, and this geometry gives new possibilities which did not exist in the standard HyperRogue grid. The Docks, the Crystal World, and the Snake Nest are three new lands which explore these possibilities, and thus they do not appear in the standard game.
  • What if we have much less heptagons? This one is interesting -- we get a game that is still hyperbolic, but in a weaker degree. Since the heptagons remain very important for the tactics, they now become precious and rare tactical resource.
  • Can we have four pentagons in every vertex, or, say, one pentagon and two octagons? In hyperbolic geometry, we can, and HyperRogue now lets us play on such grids!
  • Many Euclidean games use hex or square grid, but what about the grid of octagons and squares? On a Klein bottle? The "Experiment with Geometry" menu allows you to try all the above, and also many other geometries!



The new free version of HyperRogue also has quite a lot for people who are maybe not interested in playing games, but they simply want to do experiments with hyperbolic geometry, for educational/artistic purposes.
  • You can view the world in many new models of hyperbolic geometry, both 2D and 3D. Kuen surface is known to have constant curvature, can we draw HyperRogue's tesselations on it? How would the hyperbolic analog of the two-point equidistant projection of the sphere look like? We know how to crochet small fragments of the hyperbolic plane in our Euclidean world, but could we make similar models of the Euclidean plane in S3?
  • The new Texture Mode is a graphical editor which lets you to draw hyperbolic tesselations easily, which then interacts well with all the features of HyperRogue -- you can walk on your tesselations, render them in the Hypersian Rug mode or other available models, or even change their geometry (many tesselations can be adjusted to any three-colorable underlying map, for example). It is also possible to load existing tesselations (e.g. made by the famous artists such as M. C. Escher), and do this with them!
  • RogueViz, the computation/visualization hyperbolic engine based on HyperRogue, has been extended with some new visualizations (non-Euclidean circular staircase, Banach-Tarski-like decomposition of the Euclidean plane). See also newconformist which is a separate program mapping the hyperbolic plane conformally to arbitrary shapes.



Okay, but what is missing in the free version? As usual, only paid versions have "social features" such as achievements and online leaderboards. There is one new feature exclusive to paid versions (in fact, exclusive to the Steam version) -- the Strange Challenge, which generates a new challenge every 77 hours by combining a random geometry, two random lands, and several random orbs, and lets you compare your progress with the other players (every player gets just one chance). Paid versions also get new content earlier -- and such new content is planned for 11.x! Most of the current lands introduce new mechanics, bit adding more complex lands which combine several of these mechanics at once definitely will not hurt, especially if these new land use new procedural generation algorithms. New modes, changing the gameplay in major ways, are planned. The future is exciting!


You can download the Windows, OSX, Android versions from the website, or download the source code (which compiles on Linux) from GitHub. If you want to see what the game is about quickly without downloading, you can also try the online version. Have fun!

Saturday, 26 May 2018

HyperRogue 10.4

After an extremely long series of patch/preview versions (10.3a to 10.3v), it is time to release HyperRogue 10.4! While there are no new lands (they are planned for the next version), this release lets you get more out of the existing lands by changing the grid or presentation. There is also a new competitive mode focused on non-standard geometries!

Many games take place on the Euclidean hex grid; curvature in HyperRogue comes from replacing some of these hexes by other polygons. By replacing them with pentagons (or squares or triangles), we get spherical geometry -- a dodecahedron with 12 lpentagonal faces, or a "soccerball" with 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons. Similarly, we get hyperbolic geometry by replacing them with heptagons (or octagons etc.) -- HyperRogue normally uses the "hyperbolic soccerball" tesselation, with two hexagons and one heptagon meeting in each vertex; for a long time we also had a "heptagonal mode", where all faces are heptagonal, which makes the cells bigger and hyperbolic effects stronger (just like the faces of a dodecahedron are larger than the faces of a soccerball).


Can we go the other direction? If we do not mind losing a bit of regularity, we can! Goldberg polyhedra are obtained by adding more hexagonal faces to a dodecahedron, in a symmetric way described by two numbers -- e.g., soccerball corresponds to GP(1,1). We can do the same operation in the hyperbolic case, and now HyperRogue lets us play in the resulting worlds!


While in the standard HyperRogue grid heptagons are still ubiquitous, they become a precious strategical resource in these new worlds -- they are even more important strategically than in the standard HyperRogue grid. For example, in the standard Land of Eternal Motion, with two Running Dogs next to you, you can (usually) save yourself and leave them behind -- but this is only because there will be heptagons in your path! In GP(2,0) heptagonal (shown above) you may be doomed, though -- the Running Dogs will force you to go a path without any heptagons. Similarly, three monsters "on one side" can be usually survived in the standard HyperRogue map, but you may be doomed in GP(2,0). Thus, this subtle change lets you appreciate the effects of hyperbolic geometry on the gameplay in HyperRogue.


This construction is available in the "experiments with geometry" in special gameplay modes menu. Choose to play the "Crossroads IV" in order to play something similar to the full game -- not all lands though, as the Great Walls are not implemented, and patterns are only approximated. Additionally, the floor pattern code in HyperRogue has been rewritten, making floors look much better not only in GP grids, but in all non-standard geometries available in HyperRogue! The handling of alternate geometry variants of various lands has been improved too, with more efficient menus and improved generation rules in various combinations.


New geometries come with one serious problem, though: there are 15 geometries, most of them in the bitruncated and non-bitruncated variants, some in their Goldberg-Coxeter variants, and more than 50 lands... this makes thousands of combinations. Which one to play? This problem is solved in the new Strange Challenge, which is a combination of Orb Strategy, Pure Tactics, and geometry experiments, inspired by daily/weekly challenges found in other roguelikes and roguelites. Every 77 hours, a new challenge is randomly generated, by choosing a random geometry, and creating a combination of two lands in this geometry; you also get random magical Orbs to be used when you get into a tight spot. This is named "strange challenge" because, well, some of the resulting games are somewhat strange (and also because it lets us adjust the rotation nicely -- daily rotation would be too fast, and weekly rotation would be too slow). Compete with your friends and the best HyperRogue players for top scores in these challenges! (Note: this feature is intended to be available only on Steam.)


The full changelog is here; the most significant other changes include more representations of hyperbolic geometry (both 2D and 3D), attack animations, memory saving for low memory devices (preventing crashes on iOS and Android), relaxed rules of Dragon dismounting, rebalanced Terracotta Army and Snake Nest, and fixed Blizzard graphics in Windows OS. HyperRogue version 10.4 can be played on Steam and itch.io. Mobile versions will be updated later. Have fun!

Friday, 5 January 2018

HyperRogue 10.3: more lands, more geometry!

HyperRogue version 10.3 is released on Steam and itch.io! This big update continues the geometry experiment theme of HyperRogue 10.2, and also includes four new lands (two of which are included in the main game and two of which are for special geometries only).

Some of the Slime Beasts have decided to revolt against the color rules in the Alchemist Lab. They have changed their shape and consistency, declared independence, and established their own Jelly Kingdom. This land is based on simple, but unique mechanics -- Jellies switch between being a wall and being a monster after every treasure you pick.

Once a beautiful city... but now overrun by the mighty Raiders of unknown origin.

Raiders (and Skeletons, who also dwell in the Ruined City) cannot be harmed with mundane weapons, but each of the five colors has its own movement restrictions. Choose a path that gives you an advantage to run away from them! (Hyperbolic geometry will help, of course!)

The Docks have no new mechanics, but they feature an interesting tree-like structure that works in the octagonal geometry, but has no natural counterpart in other geometries. For this reason it does not appear in a standard game of HyperRogue. The picture should explain everything :)

The Snake Nest is another land not in the standard game. It is a version of Red Rock Valley, but where every cell is colored in one of the three colors. The snakes also come in three types -- each of which is restricted to two colors. It is exclusive to geometries where cells can be nicely colored this way. (Visit the Red Rock Valley in the current session, or obtain a highscore of 25+ Red Gems, to unlock this in the land list for the Octagons geometry.)

HyperRogue did not previously include the most common and boring tiling in games -- the square grid. The square grid is included now, and it comes in some more interesting variations, too! After bitruncating, we get a tiling made of octagons and squares, which is definitely less standard: from a large cell in the picture you can move to eight adjacent cells, while you can move only to four adjacent cells from a small cell. You can also play on a Klein bottle now -- that's why you see a mirror image of yourself on the left!

More of artistic than of "gaming" nature, the new texture mode lets you easily draw nice tesselations of the hyperbolic plane (or any other geometry supported by HyperRogue), in a way similar to Paint-like programs. Draw some lines, and it often ends up looking great! This is much easier to use, and in some ways more powerful, than the old vector graphics editor. The screenshot above shows drawing directly on the Hypersian Rug. The obtained picture can then be explored, played on, or saved.

After drawing a tesselation, it is also possible to convert it to another geometry. For example, the picture above is the spherical version of the tesselation from the last picture. Thus, it is possible, for example, to load Circle Limit IV by M. C. Escher, change its base tiling to another hyperbolic tiling, and walk on it, or view the result in the Hypersian Rug mode. This is inspired by the hyperbolic versions of M. C. Escher's tesselations created by Jos Leys.

Speaking of the Hypersian Rug -- this mode has also been extended. Previously, you could view a fragment of a hyperbolic plane embedded into the Euclidean space; now, it works with any geometry on both sides. You can now also explore the model in first person perspective. The animated picture above shows an Euclidean square embedded into a 3-sphere -- although the square is actually flat, it appears to be curved negatively, because the space itself is curved positively! Flying inside a 3-sphere is an interesting experience, as things close to the antipodal point, or things just behind you, will appear as if they were very close to you. See this video for more details.

Thanks to Fulgur14, Patashu, tehora, and tricosahedron for their ideas for new lands, themes, and features. Android and iOS versions should be updated soon. This version also includes many minor bugfixes and interface improvements; the full changelog is on Steam forums or the website.

Follow the newly created HyperRogue page on Facebook and @ZenoRogue on Twitter. Get HyperRogue 10.3 on Steam and itch.io, and have fun!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

HyperRogue 10.2: More Geometry Experiments!

While this update probably does not add much for the "normal" players (except some minor bugfixes), it greatly extends the possibilities of experimenting with various geometries and tilings. HyperRogue started with the "hyperbolic soccerball" tiling; further versions have added Euclidean geometry (to see why it matters), heptagonal tiling, spherical tiling (as used in the Halloween minigame), and several quotient spaces. However, this was not enough -- for example, you could not recreate Escher's Circle Limit series in the built-in vector graphics editor because it used a different symmetry than HyperRogue, and other tilings are also definitely useful for educational purposes, and applications of hyperbolic geometry (such as visualization). Therefore, this update adds quite a lot of new geometries to play with! [Still no square grid, though :)]



This picture shows all the tilings/geometries you can select in the Geometry Experiment menu in HyperRogue 10.2. The first two columns show the bitruncated and non-bitruncated variant of each basic tiling. Some of these look the same; this is because the image also shows some quotient spaces -- look for the player character appearing in multiple places :) These are available in all lands -- as shown in the two columns on the right, using the Red Rock Valley as an example. There are more tilings available, but only in particular lands -- we already know the Warped Coast (fourth column), and the new land, the Crystal World, uses the dual tiling (we could previously play in the dual tiling in the Graveyard, but the Crystal World is much more explicit). (The Crystal World does not appear during the normal gameplay -- it is very simple and designed rather for geometry experiments.)

On the Steam forum, players have already started creating ideas about the possibilities for new lands specific to the octagonal tiling. Have fun!

Saturday, 14 October 2017

HyperRogue 10.1: four new lands!

HyperRogue version 10.1 is released on Steam and itch.io! It includes four new lands, and many gameplay, user interface, and graphical improvements.
The volcanic activity in the Volcanic Wasteland is extremely unstable. Lava is too hot to walk on. It cools quickly, but another flow will come soon...

The Emperor's mausoleum. The army of Terracotta Warriors is supposed to protect him in his afterlife, while the traps are to protect the treasures in the mausoleum from thieves. Will you be able to avoid waking up the Terracotta Warriors, and use the traps for your own benefit?

The Zebra is a mixture of the Land of Eternal Motion and... well, this new basic land is the answer! A very simple land, where you can learn the basic skills of fighting in open space. Many of these skills only work in the non-Euclidean world of HyperRogue!

Once in the past there lived a tribe whose prophets warned about the great Blizzard that was to come and freeze the world. They thought it was the wrath of the gods, so they put some altars, so that the gods could hear their pleas. The mighty golems guarded those altars, making sure nobody steals the jewels, because a robbed god is a angry god. Unfortunately winter has come (maybe because only the monks knew how to stop the golems, and they were said to had escaped earlier with some of the jewels). The tribe has frozen to death, altars got covered with snow and ice. Only ice golems still guard them waiting for the spring.

See the changelog on Steam forums or the website for more details. Also follow @ZenoRogue on Twitter -- pics of the new lands have been previewed there :) Features of these lands have been inspired (more or less directly) by ideas of Kojiguchi Kazuki, Snowyowl0, SurelyYouJest, tehora, and wonderfullizardofoz -- thanks to them! Android and iOS versions should be updated soon; updating of the free versions with these additions is delayed this time. Have fun!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Losing is fun

This is a response to Christopher Walker's post Implicit vs. Explicit Failure for Educators and Game Designers. The post makes a distinction between two types of failure: explicit ("you have lost") and implicit ("you have not succeeded yet"), and argues that explicit failures are overused in games and education. I think that the post presents a very interesting point of view, and is well worth to read and think about.

However, roguelikes and similar games are based on a completely different philosophy. Losing is an integral part of the game. The unofficial motto of Dwarf Fortress is Losing is fun. This is based on the principle is that it is the journey that matters, not the destination (a similar thing was said by Gauss about mathematics) -- many players find roguelikes fun even if they have no hope of ever winning. Games such as Dwarf Fortress or Tetris do not even have a winning condition -- you will lose eventually. Other games do have winning conditions, and winning such a game after hundreds of failures is a great feeling.

HyperRogue mixes these two designs -- the winning conditions exist (or you can set ones for yourself), but on the other hand, you are allowed to continue the game after winning, but the game gets harder and harder, and you will have to lose eventually. HyperRogue has some puzzles which test your navigational skills in hyperbolic geometry (Princess Quest, Galápagos, Camelot, Yendor Quest). These do not need the component of losing the game explicitly -- however, they would not fit the rest of the game without it, so they also get harder and harder, and one can lose the game while doing them.

Recently, a peaceful mode has been added -- in this mode, the players can solve the failureless versions of these puzzles, or ignore all the challenges and just explore the world. This was intended to make the educational component in these puzzles more accessible to players who are less used to the brutal difficulty typical to roguelikes, and prefer puzzles that you can only win -- especially important in the case of live presentations. However, our experience from such live presentations shows that the standard game is generally much more exciting, especially for younger players.

I think that the dichotomy between explicit and implicit failures presented in the post is a bit exaggerated. In most games, you can try again after you lose; therefore, in a way, all failures are implicit. I think that, rather than avoiding losing conditions, we should teach that losing is not a failure, and minimize the psychological distress caused by it. According to a Go proverb, one should lose their first 50 games as quickly as possible; losing is not a failure, it is simply finding a way that does not work, and everyone needs to lose a lot before they master a subject. It is inevitable that one will "fail" in many situations during their life, that everyone fails, and I believe games to be a great opportunity to teach one not to be discouraged by this.

The post gives an example of a game about Greek mythology where you could lose, causing the chapter to restart, and the player to hear the 30 seconds of narration again and again. From this description, it appears to me that the main problem with the game was not the failure condition, but the fact that they forced the player to watch the story again when they lost. "Well, we need to have some kind of challenge. Otherwise it's not really a game, is it?" Well, maybe it is not really a game, but this does not matter -- not everything needs to be a game to be fun, and many games would benefit if the "challenge" was removed from them. Story and challenge do not mix. If the point of the game is to tell a story -- no challenge is necessary. A challenging game benefits from the story, but only as long as it does not get in the way. Well designed roguelikes usually keep their stories to minimum, or to pieces of lore that you can read if you want. They also rely on randomization, so that every new game will be different and interesting. This randomization sometimes causes the player to lose because of pure bad luck rather than bad decisions -- well designed roguelikes try to avoid this, however, from the "life lesson" perspective outlined in the previous paragraph, it is important to learn that losing is not always your fault.

The post also mentions the problems with stressful mathematical exams, where a single mistake with the execution of the solution makes the whole thing wrong (especially ones where the answer is a single number). Roguelikes also have this property, and there are also many real life situations where it happens -- real research in mathematics, working with computer security systems, etc. While mistakes are costly in all these situations, often there are actually parts of the work that remain valid (completing half of the game, proving useful facts on the way, code often becoming correct after fixing just a single character, etc.), and this should also be reflected in the way the exams are graded. As for games -- aren't they a great way to get one used to this, and reduce the stress?

Thus -- losing is not a failure. Losing is fun. It also makes winning even more fun. Have fun!