Archive | April, 2011

Surprise by Complexity Principle

2 Apr

How can you surprise yourself in a solitaire story game? After all you are generating the adversity and you are solving it! Can the Czege principle be violated?

The Surprise by Complexity Principle claims that: when you create the adversity, you should not be sure you can solve it.  The act of attempted resolution should be complex enough to leave you with doubt about the outcome.  It should take time, reasoning and fiddling with your various game props and notes to find out how (and if) the adversity can be solved.  The act of finding a way by going through the complex activities, elicits surprise, happiness and fun!

I noticed this for the first time when I created a card-based solitaire story game. Every character and every scene had a number of Locks that could lead to some evolutions.  Every Lock could be triggered only by a specific Key, that could be related to a character, a scene, an item, etc.

The relationship map between Locks and Keys was associated to playing cards, randomly generated and quite complex.  I had to keep track of the meaning of the cards and the web of keys and locks on different pages of a notebook.  Sometimes a Key needed to solve a situation could be acquired only by Unlocking a certain character or situation, bringing to more adversity and negative consequences for some of the characters.

When a scene was generated it could carry some kind of adversity with it and only going through the web of characters, keys and locks could lead to a potential solution and when it did.. it felt like fun 🙂