Friday, April 8, 2011

Simplicity vs Complexity

As I have been writing the game, I have had to look at how simple or complex to make systems.  Some times this has lead to interesting methods to avoid complexity, like making item creation completely abstract.  While other times I have purposefully added complexity to make the system more robust and useful.

This balancing act is one that comes with the work.  After all if the game is to complicated, people won’t want to play.  But make it to simple and there is no challenge in playing the game.  So how much is to much, or is to little when it comes to complexity?

Well, simply put, there is no real answer, not that I have seen.  I know simplicity for the sake of simplicity is not an answer.  Just as complexity for its own sake is also not an answer.

The trick that I found though is to try and keep things as simple as you can adding complexity when necessary, I did this with magic.  I made magic use the same rules as the normal test system and the combat system.  But after simplifying it, I added some complexity.  This included making spells into skills so they could develop if the player wishes.

So while combining the systems and making them all work the same reduced the over all complexity of magic in the game.  I was able to add in a little complexity with out harming the flow the system.

Another area that I added some complexity to has been with common roles.  In this area I added the environment to the target number.  If say the fight is in an open area on a temperate day and solid ground, then no penalty would apply.  But if your in heavy armor, in the rain, and fighting in knee deep mud.  Then bets are your taking a penalty in comparison to some one wearing light armor.

So those are two ways that I have changed how the game is played.  Reducing systems and making the whole less complex.  While adding simple rules in key areas to add details that tend to go missing.

But in the end there are always paths that I could take.  And even now I have moments where I am reading through what I have done and I think “WTF was I thinking” and have to rewrite things to be that touch simpler.  Ahh the joys of writing a game.

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