DayZ creator says complexity and ambiguity are positive

By Dave Cook, Thursday, 28 March 2013 10:13 GMT

DayZ creator Dean Hall gave a lecture at GDC last night, in which he argued that complexity and a lack of hand-holding is positive. Letting players figure things out for themselves is a cornerstone of the game’s appeal, and will live on in DayZ Standalone he explained.

PC Gamer was there to see Hall give his lecture, where he discussed the game’s many key pillars, “The other design pillar is the idea that complexity is not bad.

“This is something that has really stuck with us in the development of the standalone. So the approach we take, it’s choosing things that the players know. People understand the need to eat. They understand the need to drink. They realize that if you get shot, you’re gonna bleed.

“So these things, we don’t have to really explain them. And because we don’t have to explain them, it meant to figure out how to [play the game] properly, you needed to talk to people about it. And DayZ has this real thing where, you’re talking to people, and you’re experiencing it with other people. And even installing it was this incredible right of passage.”

It’s a brutal game sure enough, and has spawned a community of players eager to help – or con – each other while exploring its vast sandbox. It’s a trial and error experience that can be immensely gratifying onc you figure out how it all works.

Hall continued, “The idea with DayZ was to put the players in a situation. And this is something I delved a lot into when I was working with the army. So if we take the example of, if you broke your leg in DayZ, and you have to use morphine before you can walk–now that’s absurd, that’s not realistic at all. Unless you’re like, I don’t know, Chuck Norris or something. And then the morphine needle would break on his leg.

“So it’s not realistic in that sense. But because the act of getting your leg broken causes a change in the situation that’s quite dramatic, it has a sense of authenticity to the people involved.”

What’s your view? Is complexity good? Should hand-holding take a back seat? Let us know below.

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Dean Hall