The Situation model is built on the notion that the game experience involves both the player and the game. The player, as represented by attributes, and the game, as represented by the available inputs and outputs.
As such, when using the Situation Model to define other aspects of design, it is important to keep both the player and the game involved.
In this article, we will begin to discuss multiple Situations. That is, how Situations flow from one to another.
The Result of a Situation often presents the user with a new Situation. Progress is what happens when a Result generates a new Situation that the player feels is moving further through the game. Specifically, the player gets the impression that the game is moving towards the player's own goals, whatever those might be. Regression is what happens when a player feels that the Result generated a Situation that is farther from the players goal.
In essence, Progress is the player's desire, while Regression is what the player wishes to avoid. Progress is positive, Regress is negative.
Advancement is a different concept. As the player plays the game, Knowledge and Experience are accumulated. Whether the player is Progressing or Regressing, these two attributes are always increasing. A player can learn from falling into a pit and dying. A player can learn from leaping over the pit and continuing on his way.
The specific sequence of Situations that a player plays through is that player's Advancement through the game. Advancement is always positive, in the sense that the player is always accumulating Knowledge and Experience.
Advancement is a far more useful design concept than either Progress or Regression. By studying how a player may advance through a particular game design, the designer is able to gleem some insights into what Knowledge or Experience a player may have deduced. On paper, the designer can map out a particular sequence of Advancement and determine if the player is reasonably able to handle a particular Situation at any point along that sequence. The question of, "How many lives would it take a player to get past obstacle X" is a question of Advancement, not Progress or Regress.