I’m extremely interested in being clever. I try very hard to be clever: I like all my words to have wordplay, I like my music intricate and layered, and I like my game mechanics to have that kind of “zam-zow” elegance that makes you believe they were created by astronauts from the future. In other words, I’m very into over-designing. My natural inclination is to believe that deep, compelling gameplay only results from deep, compelling game components.
This is often true, of course, but for every rule and asset one adds, there tends to be something lost; simplicity can give rise to more complex behaviour than complexity. It’s a tough rule to learn, and learning it has largely been the fundamental task of my game design career. I find it difficult to picture and predict that something complicated can emerge from something basic; it doesn’t make intuitive sense; I have to take it on faith. Of course, that makes it all the more wonderful when it works out.