# The Flying Chicken of Failure

I had a grandchild home from camp with a fever, so she was at my house.

If you were in our house that morning, you would have heard this shouted from the downstairs office to the upstairs office.

Grandpa! Grandma needs that sound you get when catch a chicken!

and then this,

Why DO you need a squawking chicken sound?

… to go with my flying chicken …

which begs the question why do I need a flying chicken to squawk?

One conviction I have reached by reviewing much of the gaming research is that failure in a game has to be fun. Even when you get the answer wrong, you should find it somewhat amusing. Otherwise, you get discouraged and quit playing.

One thing I have learned in life – whether it is programming, sports, writing or just about anything else, the more you do something, the better you get. Keeping people playing our games so they learn more math, social studiesÂ and English is crucial. This is why I spend what might appear to be an unreasonable amount of time on each problem in Forgotten Trail.

In addition to the good educational stuff (the option to ask for a hint, voice overs on some problems, videos for explanation on others) there are also the sound effects and graphics if you get an answer right or wrong.

Today, I’m doing problems that occur in Forgotten Trail just before a part Gonzalo is working on where you have to catch escaped chickens and bring them back to the farm. You have to decide whetherÂ you should start north or south of the river. There are 28 chickens to catch, 4 are in the northwest and 10 in the northeast.

If you get the problem wrong once, there is an image of a chicken running away and a chicken squawk (thanks to Eric The Sound Guy who can come up with a sound for anything). If you get it wrong a second time, there is another squawking sound and your chicken flies away.

I have to get back to work now and do the part for when you get it right. I have the sound for that (thanks, Eric!) Now, I just need to finish the graphic for when you are correct.

I also have a bonus level I really want to fit in there …

P.S. Speaking of things I fit in there … notice how the directions are northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest? It is because we also try to teach vocabulary in our games and general information. We’ve noticed that a rather shocking percentage of people don’t know their directions.

You’re welcome.