Lostcast 116: Complex City


  • Tiger Hat

    +1 for a really good name for this one :)

    So far I’m about 30 mins in, and I just wanted to share my thoughts about the depth in A Wizard’s Lizard (also in this week’s Humble Bundle ;D ).

    I felt that what @geoffb was saying about the depth of AWL was a bit off the mark. Given the definition from Gamasutra [citation needed] of “complexity is the number of things you can do, with depth being the number of ways you can do those things”, your explanation of depth in AWL as “you enter a room and you can shoot enemies, you can drop a totem or use a soul blast” - to me that is not what the depth in AWL is.!

    I think the depth in AWL is more that when you step into a room with enemies you can, (just focusing on shooting), shoot the enemies, run left or right then shoot them, run past them, shooting as you run, take cover behind an obstacle and then shoot them, get some water between you and shoot them at your leisure… you see? That to me is the depth of the shooting mechanic. Depth is how you use the things that go into making up the complexity. You could repeat my list for movement, totems, soul orbs and any combination thereof.

    Sorry to get all ‘quotey’ on you - can’t wait to listen to the rest of the show, which I am going to give four out of ten tiger hats :)


  • Tiger Hat

    I think you guys hit on the crux of what making games is all about - how difficult it really is. From my limited experience, the more restrictions that are in place the easier it often is whereas wider scope only invites decision headaches. I’m not surprised anymore when I read that studios have these huge design “bibles” in an effort to keep large projects in check. Or, where you have one “creative” force behind a franchise like a Miyamoto maybe more so than a Molyneaux.


  • LDG

    hehe thanks I was happy with that title for once ;)

    Who knew complexity would be so complex! Yeah I feel like AWL did some things right, and it also has hidden value to players that we’re maybe not even aware of – some players have put in HUNDREDS of hours, which is something we ourselves haven’t done (if you count debug/playtesting, sure…) so I believe some players have found something in the game we haven’t found ourselves. Feels like a win!

    The huge bibles to me sound like the wrong tool for the job – something big, overwhelming and complex to tame something with the same properties. Might be fine in some cases but I think some would get so occupied with the reading and application of the rules they’d get distracted and/or lose focus on the project. I do dig that director style approach, with a singular focus distilled in one resolute person.


  • Jammer

    Haven’t listened to the episode yet.

    Though thinking about proven concepts and best practices, I actually took the control scheme for a mobile game of mine from Heroes of Loot. Before though I did experiment with other ideas, and found what he did in that game to be the best of both worlds. Requiring skill without being too finicky. Other experiments i tried just flat out sucked or were too hard.


  • Tiger Hat

    @agmcleod said:

    Haven’t listened to the episode yet.

    Though thinking about proven concepts and best practices, I actually took the control scheme for a mobile game of mine from Heroes of Loot. Before though I did experiment with other ideas, and found what he did in that game to be the best of both worlds. Requiring skill without being too finicky. Other experiments i tried just flat out sucked or were too hard.

    There’s an Thomas Edison quote that I think is perfect for game development:

    I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.


  • LDG

    @agmcleod said:

    Haven’t listened to the episode yet.

    Requirement: must be accompanied by “N/10 tiger hats”!


  • Jammer

    @richtaur said:

    @agmcleod said:

    Haven’t listened to the episode yet.

    Requirement: must be accompanied by “N/10 tiger hats”!

    disclaimer. Opinions way may very. Sourced from many many tiger hats. Ask your doctor


  • Patron

    These pointers are important for normal apps too. I am always trying to remove unneeded features while others keep trying to add them, the reasoning being “Somebody somewhere will want it.”

    The app world is not quite the same as games. The latter theory tends to win. Therefore, I stress the importance of tucking away obscure things under “Advanced” and having good defaults. I have found Mac and Linux have good defaults while Windows is abysmal (e.g. file extensions are hidden, activation, OEM bloatware, missing critical apps such as a PDF viewer and document processing, etc).


  • Tiger Hat

    @dannagle Heavens save us from feature bloat!


  • Patron

    Guys… do we really need any other evidence to support the fact that Geoff should name the episodes?


  • LDG

    +1 for the title
    -1 for the title

    So far, it’s evened out! I’m OK with that.


  • Jammer

    I didn’t read it as “complexity” until i heard it in the episode lol.

    Speaking of which, I love the example Geoff used on drawing when it comes to having to practice something. Now that ive done a few of the part 2 drawing exercies from ctrlpaint, i already found it influencing my technique when working on my programmer art. The process is getting better, and im getting a bit smoother on how i draw everything.


  • LDG

    yup, every little bit of arty goodness you absorb will make you a tiny bit better at drawing etc. ctrl paint is wonderful! Soooo many online resources like that too, Matt Kohr’s offering is just the tip of the iceberg.


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