What is a good definition of 'depth'?

This is a word that gets abused pretty bad and most people seem to think it’s a synonym for ‘complexity’ or some such nonsense - which sounds not just wrong to me but practically oppositesville. But maybe that’s just what it means now and it’s beyond salvage. idk, just making conversation

Well, depth can arise from simple rules, so it’s certainly not a synonym for complexity.

But then equally I don’t see why complexity is necessarily a bad thing.

Me neither. Behead those who insult complexity.

Longevity? A lack of repetition? something that has a high learning curve?

I’d define “depth” as the number of iterations it takes to evolve an effective play strategy. I can only really talk about this in strategy games (because that’s my experience) but when I start playing a game, I think of a strategy and say, “ok, this should work.” In a shallow game, I’m probably right. In a deep game, I’m not, and it takes me multiple evolutions and revisions to find something better. Each revision likely has an effective counter-strategy, so that there is a back-and-forth as each side refines its play style. That’s depth.

The degree to which the optimal choices in a game are not obvious, even after mastery of the systems.


Aaaand [/THREAD]

Disagree!!! You could have a game that would generally be regarded as very shallow where that is equally true. All that’s required is a veil of ignorance or a good amount of randomness. Shit, tetherball probably qualifies under that. Tweakable though. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmaybe.

I’d call depth the quality of the number of discernible thoughtful design choices growing even as your understanding of the game grows. As the player plays the game more, the fullness of the design of the game reveals itself to them in almost a fractal manner, instead of falling apart upon further scrutiny or the player quickly encountering the hard outer borders of the game space.

I like that one best. So far!

How about this: Depth is the variation available in viable strategies, and the degree to which their suitability is dependent on context.

The degree of depth is measured by how many maps and notes you make on a notepad while playing, and how many train stops you miss by daydreaming about the game.

As far as I’m concerned, depth is the distance beneath the surface of a medium and I don’t know what the hell you’re all talking about.

Depth: a dimension taken through an object or body of material, usually downward from an upper surface, horizontally inward from an outer surface, or from top to bottom of something regarded as one of several layers.

I like this definition, but I think you can achieve depth of gameplay (or at least broadness) through having a very wide variety of viable strategies.

In this sense, games like Super Smash Bros. achieve a level of depth that can be very easy to understand (eg understanding which characters have strengths against others is fairly obvious), but can still be endlessly replayable because it takes a long time to master each of the many otherwise obvious strategies.

This may just be a variation of what you said, but it seems backward to me.

Like chess.

Can be simple to learn, but requires a lot of study and experience to play better and make you appreciate the subtle complexities of the game.

I like it, but it doesn’t really acknowledge depth when optimal choices are not the main motivation. Elements of deep customization for example.

Well I guess I was also speaking broadly in terms of strategy games, and I know squat about Smash Bros. or fighting games in general so I don’t want to throw stones at it. But even if there are a wide variety of strategies that prolong the path to mastery, it may or may not be a “deep” game at the end of the day, as I see it. If at the end of the day, Character A always beats character B, and player one took character B, then player two’s optimal choice is obvious.

But my understanding of high level fighting game play is that it is more about mind games and “yomi” and such, and that is where the real “depth” comes from.

I guess that’s an entirely different meaning than how I interpreted the question. This is where we’d have multiple definitions in the dictionary and probably have an editor’s board spend weeks hashing out which one gets to be number 1. and which one gets to be number 2.