Simple games or complex games?

Member
Posts: 749
Joined: 2003.01
Post: #1
One of the cool things about game designing is that there still are so many basic ideas still unexplored. It' s not like math or some other science where so much has been studied that is is very difficult to find something new, so to actually do something new you must go in the detail of the detail.
In game designing you can think up a really simple idea that nobody ever thought about. And a very cool thing is taking the game to it' s pure basic dynamic, no added candy, just new, simple, fun ideas. (A great thing about that is also that it takes much less time than building a full featured game).

Probably not many gamers like pure, simple, ideas: they want lots and lots and lots of stuff. But I think the first person that invented pong, or tetris, or superpang,or the pong game while watching a moovie (that's so cool!) is much, much more cool than the guys that copied the last FirstPersonShooter with tons of weapons... despite they will make much, much more money.
It' s easy to make a game with tons of features and bonuses and stunning graphics and everything fun; it' s difficult to make a simple game fun.
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Member
Posts: 164
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #2
Or you can try and make a simple game with depth or innate complexity, like tetris. Anything that the user can fully understand at the outset is generally boring. They need some kind of mental challenge, and whether that's forcefed by the developers or built in to the game idea is optional.
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Post: #3
yeah, I ment simple to program- complex to play game ( in truth I just don' t wanna loose to much time programming long stuff Wink)
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Posts: 164
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #4
Well then I would suggest a board or puzzle game and just think up a set of rules, but be sure to be original; we have enough tetris clones Rasp Or if you must make a clone you should clone a gameplay style that hasn't been... cloned recently. I.e. some old somewhat simple mac game examples would be prince of persia, spacestation pheta, pararena, joust. Does anyone remember the 'movod' series? Those were pretty original and fun.

Whatever game you make you want to make sure there is a large incentive to win, and to play again; whatever happened to being able to 'unlock' things in games? Soul Calibur was by far the best game in this regard; every time you win you get SOMETHING new, or work towards it.
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Posts: 749
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Post: #5
for this reason, I think contests with limited amount of code and limited use of art are great, 'cause you can win without working too much, while it' s hard that a small game can win open contests (hmmm... How many lines was MaFFia?). Actually, the art limitation is not a problem for me 'cause all the art I use I steal it from here Rasp (thanx Camacho!) [off topic: usually I look first for the art I can use, then start thinking what game I can do with that Wink]
I want a 300 lines of code contest that can use only the iDevGames art resources !! That would be cool!
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Ice Cream Joe
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Post: #6
I wouldn't go as far as to say that a simple game is better than a complex game or vice versa.

To me, a game has two aims: the first is to offer fun and challenging gameplay. The second is to offer an immersive experience, through sight, sound, realism, and whatnot.

If I'm in the mood for fun and challenging gameplay, I'll pick up a short game. Tetris/Columns, Breakout. And I'd want these games to be easy to pick up. I don't want to worry about 100 different statistics. I wouldn't play "RPG-Quest Mode" in Pong. Just give me something I can play in 10 minutes, tops.

But if I want to be immersed in a game, I WANT it to be complex. The bigger the better. I want photorealistic 3D graphics. I want water to splash dynamically when I swim through it. And the more little details that get coded into the virtual world I'm losing myself in, the happier I'll be with it. Like watching a sunset in Everquest Online Adventures, or putting on headphones and just fiddling with everything on Myst Island.

Seems a lot of big companies have forgotten about the first aim, and a lot of individual programmers tend to protest that by shunning the second. The best games though can do both. In the case of puzzle games, going the extra mile in polish can make it completely immersive.

On "Unlocking" things in games- it can be overdone. Especially if the game goes online. It's one thing if you unlock courses in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater by achieving goals that can be accomplished in one sitting (albiet with some skill.) It's another thing entirely when Blizzard awards different icons for battle.net avatars based on the number of wins. Especially when the number is 1500. That's just... no. Ditto with FF4 having the best armor in the game only be obtainable by getting an item that's only dropped 1/64 of the time by killing a monster that only appears in 1/64 of the encounters in one little room in the final dungeon. Just... no.
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Feanor
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Post: #7
I think the trick is simple rules and choices that can be combined in many ways to obtain different strategies. Tetris is cool because you can always put your piece down somewhere, but depending on the shape of the stack and the piece, there are many good solutions (apparently no determinably perfect -- optimum --- solution, though, which is good). Also, where you put each piece affects where you put successive pieces, a la chess.

It would be cool if other, non-puzzle and non-strategy, games could make use of this kind of game-token interference. Well, Diablo and Dungeon Siege have the shape/size inventory, but that's pretty meagre. If the equipment you carried was more than the sum of the parts, that would be more what I'm talking about. Say, if the armour your wore affected your effectiveness with certain weapons.

I would also like to see a fantasy game with a spell system that built on the one in Dungeon Master -- an actual spell language and ingredients that had properties that interacted, so the player could learn how to make potions and spells by coming to understand the way the ingredients and words worked together. If a mage's equipment affected his spell-casting, that, too, would be cool.
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Oldtimer
Posts: 834
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #8
The "Few rules, a lot of gaming" concept has been examined thoroughly by Rollings/Morris in their excellent book "Game Architecture and Design" (I don't know how many times I've plugged that book here. ;-)

I quote:

Quote:Features are what make your game different from any other game, and this is one reason why features are a good place to start [to design your game]. Another is that a feature-based description of the game will endure throughout the process, whereas it is very likely that most of the rules you write in an attempt to create those features will have to change further down the line.

This is because features are emergent from rules. [...] Emergence, we might say, is that which makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts

So, yes, try to stick with a few rules. I've written a little blurb on this in my latest Dev. Diary for Galder 2, and there's a thread on it here.

*Plug* Smile
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