Simplicity vs. Complexity in Game Design

Bedivere from Front Towards Gamer takes a look at the current trend in video game design of making games easier. Is their such a thing as too easy? We all want our games to be accessible, but their is a point when games become dull.

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TheBuIIetSponge3020d ago

Simplicity creates sales, complexity makes a good game.

iamtehpwn3020d ago

Easy to play, Complex to master.

In other words, Anyone can play it, Not everyone will be great depending on their skill.

OneSneakyMofo3020d ago

Yin yang, man. It's all about the yin yang. Bubbles+

fianno3020d ago

Word for word my friend :D

I love games that need that extra bit of concentration to get that extra special bit from the game. Games that are about more than your reactions.. Like most games atm :(

OneSneakyMofo3020d ago

I disagree completely. Look at Tetris - simple yet complex; probably one of the best puzzlers ever created. Flower - the same; a great game either way you play it.

I think the two can coexist to create a game for everyone.

iamtehpwn3020d ago

is a fantastic example of what I was talking about above.

Rainstorm813020d ago (Edited 3020d ago )

Easy to play doesnt really matter, Fun to play and Complex to master.. seems about right.

games like Street Fighter prove this, not really easy to play but complex to master.

When games are too easy to play it becomes difficult to determine who's good and bad, because everyone is good. Easy to play games kills competitive gaming and turns it casual.

BTW i am describing multiplayer games only i dont think the same holds true for SP games.

Downtown boogey3020d ago (Edited 3020d ago )

Fun is a completely different matter. When talking about "easy" here, it means you can control the game properly as well as effectively and also see your objectives clearly, 'with an ease.'

pippoppow3020d ago

Simplicity doesn't always lead to sales: Team Ico games.

Complexity is something needed more these days. Not only more options but coupled with strategic elements thrown together. Take a game like WKC. IT was way too easy and would have benifited from more complexity. I generally think more complexity is good but only if it isn't shallow. Take a good action game with lots of moves. It may have 100 moves but if only two are required to beat the game the rest doesn't matter.

There are some games where complexity (Mech/Sims/RTS)is good and simplicity(Ico) can be just as good. As usual we need a healthy mix. At least I do.

Chris3993020d ago (Edited 3020d ago )

And there was the whole aspect of character builds, which added another dimension of complexity.

The SP you could beat with one or two moves. GR 8+ quests actually became rather challenging.

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xYLeinen3020d ago

I'm not sure actually.

We all know that simplicity gives good reviews. Easy to pick up and easy to play is apparently very good. I don't think consumers are very patient now a days. I don't really see too many games who are really complex.

What i really miss are hard games. Most of the games I've played recently I have ramped up on Hard difficulty but their difficulty ain't that hard at all. There is no need for the perfect execution of a mission, or to try different strategies to complete something. On my behalf I feel harder SP games gives me a lot more value for my money as well as a better experience.

kneon3020d ago

Too many games now seem to be designed so that anyone can complete them on their hardest difficulty. For the hardcore player this just sucks.

Go ahead and make the easiest difficulty super easy so that almost anyone can play, but the hardest difficulty should be a PITA to complete. It should take skill and dedication. It was only a couple of years ago that games were still challenging. For example COD:WAW and Killzone 2 took some skill to complete at the hardest difficulty. And now we have games like MW2 and BF:BC2 that were both a walk in the park even on the highest difficulty.

Hard, God, Titan, Crushing, Nightmare, Veteran, Elite, Legendary, Insane. These will all soon be replaced by "Even Grandma can ace this" :(

eccothedolphin73020d ago

A game being easy to pick up is always a good thing. I remember 15 years ago when games didn't have the easy tutorials like they do now, and you had to spend hours reading the manuals to get started playing.

These days, the game needs to teach you how to play. You should be able to jump in without any prior knowledge of the game, and be able to learn how to play it quickly.

That being said, the game needs to get past the tutorial. 3 hours in, you should't still be doing the same exact thing you were doing at the beginning. A game needs to grow in complexity as you progress.

CrIpPeN3020d ago

What I hate about Max Payne 2 is that lack of Auto Saving that Max Payne 1 did have. And you can't make your movement more sensitive.

Looks like a straight conversion from PC version.

Man In Black3020d ago

The console versions were bad ports. Plus, the mods are fucking awesome. Made one myself a while ago. I was planning to do another one, but kinda lost interest.

DelbertGrady3020d ago

Portal for example. The idea for the game is simple yet complex at the same time. Probably also while creating the game. Designing the levels for it must have been a chore, at the same time the game mechanics are fairly basic. You only have one weapon that does two things, and all levels have the same goal.

SilverSlug3020d ago

'have more options' in a level does not make it complex if your a good designer. You are discussing Linearity vs. more open level designs where you get more choices to tackle a mission.

I don't see why we can't have the later and why that makes it 'complex'?

pippoppow3020d ago

More options adds to the complexity. From then on it's how those options can have varying consequences.

It's like a character can punch or kick. Now if that character does the same damage either way with the same effect then having two options is shallow. Now if the Punch dazes and the kick knock back and doubles over, now strategic elements are introduced which makes the game more complex.

Linearity vs open world matters little if the game is designed correctly and game-play is focused to represent either style.

Could only imagine the brain spasms when the "complexity issue" arises when designing a game. So many factors to discuss. Respect to those in the industry making good games we enjoy. It cannot be easy.

eccothedolphin73020d ago

More choices is more complex. If I have the choice of fighting, talking, or bribing people to complete the game, that's more complex then if the only option is fighting. It makes the game easier by removing the decision process from the player. Rather than trying to come up with your own solution to the problem, you just do what the game tells you.

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