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Default Spy DNA - Missions Video & Complexity in Games

June 11th, 2018, 13:25
A new video for Spy DNA shows discovering and accepting missions. Additionally the developer wrote a new blog about complexity in games and how it doesn't need to translate into complexity for the player.


When the Commander is at the base, you can use the intelligence screen to discover and accept new missions.

The background noise is actually from the game itself, I should have muted it in retrospect. The background noise actually serves a purpose, because it stops when the time stops, so the player gets a clear cue, aside from desaturation of the colors on-screen and the highlighted icon in the HUD. You can see this in action when I long-press to select "sprint" as a movement speed for the Commander. While the time is stopped, there is complete silence.

Complexity in games

I want to talk about complexity in games. I think complexity is a very misunderstood subject. Game developers are sometimes seeking to “simplify” where there’s no need, while at the same time adding complexity without realizing it.

What is “complexity?”

When I say “complexity,” I mean specifically “perceived complexity.” In other words: Is the action considered easy or hard for a human to accomplish?

Here’s a practical example: If I asked you to throw a ball at a target, would you consider that a complex or difficult task? Probably not. However, hitting a target with a projectile is a task complex enough that solving the math behind it drove the creation of the first computers.

When video games were created, lobbing projectiles at things was a rich enough subject that entire games were built around the idea, such as Artillery Duel and Scorched Earth.

Let’s look at a more recent example. Is driving a car complex? Most people consider it so easy that they do all sorts of other things while driving. Yet teams of engineers are still struggling to teach a computer to do the same thing. Analyzing visual data is so challenging, that they have to use additional sensors (Lidar) that humans don’t have, or need. Objectively, driving is very complex and yet it’s still easy for humans.

And again many games are built around the idea of driving (or flying). Most of those games are considered very easy to pick up and start playing. Perfecting your technique and winning is the real challenge.

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June 12th, 2018, 22:50
At least they did take care of the UI, which is minimally usable.
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