Instituting limits to provide options

Yes, this post is here just a day after I talked about the virtues of options, and how ‘more is merrier’. In a sense, that is true, but there is also a caveat, and a pretty important one at that. If everything is equally viable in all situations, nothing is different. The important part of that phrase is “in all situations”. I wanted to make this topic today because I didn’t want any readers (or my future self) to think that I was in favor of options for option’s sake. The only options that matter, as far as I’m concerned, are meaningful ones. If the choice a player makes has no impact upon them, then the end result is a useless option, which degrades the product as a whole, and is wasted development time.

I remember when I was in high-school, I would watch the cartoon Daria, often with my mother actually. In one episode, Daria was required to write a story, and she was, literary speaking, flailing about madly. Her work was all over the place, and not ending up with something she was happy about. Eventually, her eccentric and mostly dim-witted teacher put a stipulation to help narrow the project – the story must include a card-game, which Daria of course scoffed at. What was then portrayed as a flimsy inclusion to her previously attempts, ended up with a poignant story about her family envisioned in the years ahead. What had been a seemingly innocuous inclusion had helped drive her in the direction she needed to go to craft a paper worth reading.

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