Game depth

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Game depth is a technical term used in games, especially in computer games.

Game depth is used for all rule-based game methods such as computer , role and board gamesthe potential of a game system to achieve a specific game objective in the most varied / multi-layered way possible. A low game depth is characterized by the fact that a game system can be quickly and optimally mastered with only a small number of possibilities for variation and improvement; Quickly repeating, expected behavior patterns follow - strikingly, the luck factor then increasingly emerges in board and parlor games so that the game can be led to its goal. Conversely, this does not mean that a deep game system necessarily leads to failures at the beginning, but rather that the system has further subtleties ready to achieve the game goal in a new, but rule-compliant way.

In computer games, rule conformity refers to all predefined parameters in the programming. Obvious program errors that can be exploited to the player's advantage are not included . The use of variable weather conditions can be seen as an example of game depth generating means in computer games, provided that these have a direct effect on the way the game is played and, for example, in a racing game, require the player to proceed with the weather conditions. Something similar is also conceivable for other game principles. In a computer role-playing game , on the other hand, offering alternative solutions (sneaking, fighting, dialogue) can contribute to increasing the depth of the game. The Germanist and youth book researcher Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff describes computer games in this sense as "the perfection of the illusionistic design and expansion of a game world" as a feature of game depth. In contrast, the offer of a large number of uniform possible solutions or offers that distract from the actual goal of the game do not necessarily create a greater depth of play.

Individual evidence

  1. Sample review “Europa Universalis” on
  2. Wolfgang Kramer : Game development in the course of time (1969-2009) . In it: " Games have changed a lot in the last 40 years [...]: complexity and game depth ".
  3. Wolfgang Kramer: How do you make good games? ( Memento of August 13, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). In it: " The games [of this] category are characterized by the fact that they [...] have a high level of game depth, [they] are mostly of a complex nature and have several, very sophisticated, innovative game mechanisms that are interlinked with one another. "
  4. “It is not only in racing games that the depth of the game can be increased considerably through a sophisticated simulation of different weather conditions. In practically all games where tactics and strategy are important, sudden changes in the weather require the player to be able to adapt to the new conditions as quickly as possible. ”(Alexander Rudolph: 3D effects for game programmers . Pearson, Munich 2005, ISBN 978-3 -8272-6778-8 , pp. 657 ( online ). )
  5. "If his attention is drawn to our player, a routine for catching the pawn would not be started automatically as described, but the guard would speak to our pawn. We could then try to convince the guard in a conversation that they don't have to catch us, we just sneak around the house for fun. This aspect would increase the depth of the game many times over, as one would also have different options within the communication of the guard. ”(Uwe Kettermann, Andreas Rohde: Programmieren effectively with and DirectX . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 978-3-540-21080-1 , pp. 463 f . ( Online ). )
  6. Bernd Dolle-Weinkauff: When the computer tells ... In: Hannelore Daubert (Ed.): Seeing - hearing - clicking. Multimedia for children and young people . Working group for youth literature, Munich 2001, p. 38 .
  7. “The labyrinths designed as urban landscapes form such a redundant network of paths that the same place can be reached on an infinite number of paths, and the multitude of usable virtual objects enable the game tasks to be solved in very different ways. Nevertheless, there is no game depth in GTA San Andreas: Because the different paths and problem solutions make no difference in the course of the game. The player is not motivated to look for the shortest, most elegant, most economical solution. He is not motivated to plan ahead and to pay attention to implicit rules of success, which in rule games represent the valid theorems of the axiom system defined in the set of rules. Just as a mathematical calculus appears to be particularly powerful if it allows the derivation of many theorems against the background of which further theorems can be proven, games have a particularly deep effect if they offer the player new and often astonishing things with every game run and increasing gaming experience Revealing incalculable rules of success at the beginning. In this sense, GTA San Andreas is not a deep game: all kinds of side missions, mini-games and the many possible variations of gift wrapping (background music, avatar hairstyle, tattoos, clothes, autotuning) invite you to lose sight of the general goal of the game. [...] However, the game challenge sinks to zero in the minor episodes that can be optionally switched on during a mission. GTA San Andreas is broad, wide and colorful, but by no means deep. The real tension in the game arises at best locally, in missions that involve e.g. Sometimes they have to be ended under time pressure. ”(Jochen Venus: Homecoming. On the simulation of mental maps in GTA San Andreas . In: Benjamin Beil et al. (Ed.): “ It's all in the game ”- computer games between game and narration ( =  Navigations - Journal for Media and Cultural Studies ). Volume 9, Issue 1. Schüren, Marburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89472-551-8 , pp. 16 f . ( Online view [PDF]). )