Part of dealing with life is to gamify it.
There are a lot of people a lot brainier than myself who have written thousands of words on the matter of why we play games. One theory is it provides a sand pit where we can test out ideas and work through things with less of an impact on our real lives or RL as gamers like to call it.
Gamification is a useful tool for many different reasons, which we wont go into here as such a subject is easily found in great depth on the Web.
A crafting game has the potential to introduce complex systems which need to be thought out and creatively deployed for maximum results. Why do people watch football games when the outcome has no actual impact on their lives apart from social and emotional. Why do people collect trains, or bird watch or play chess.
A social argument can be made, “it’s a great way to meet people”, or “it’s great for business”. But if known to be using it for simplistic, social gain, any community will soon have you labeled and out goes the social benefit.
Those who love to play a game are much more likely to earn “extra benefits”, such as increased social network or the ability to make millions of Dollars video streaming game play.
To love a game it has to have specific aspects personal to the gamer. This makes whether a game is good or bad entirely relative to the needs of the gamer.
By developing a game that is addresses the specific needs of a particular type of game it is possible to create a game that people will love. Albeit a finite amount of people who find such a thing engaging.
To develop a game which people will love it helps that the developer loves it too. And thus it is with Chop Wood. I love a game that is all about crafting, something about research, development and building in a game context has always attracted me. And if you take a look at some of the games on offer in app stores, it engages people too.
To develop a great game it has to have some aspect which is unique. The “biggest” is often use as a way of differentiating a game from competitors. So what would the biggest crafting game in the World look like?
You could argue “real life”, is the biggest game we can play. But we are creating worlds where, this is what game developers do. We are creating a world where we define the goals, consequences and everything else. This is where the creativity comes in.
Would biggest be about the different types of stuff you could gather, learn, craft. It could be quite simple in game play but having a depth which created a complexity, a puzzle to solve.
Factorio does this very well, enabling simple concepts to be deployed to build an extremely complex world.
Minecraft also gives that ability to allow the user to create complexity whilst providing basic tools, resources and actions.
Eve has incredible complexity and size due to the way stuff can be put together to make more stuff to do specific actions.
The biggest game doesn’t necessarily have the largest amount of stuff, but allows you to build an utterly massive and complex world.
I mused with the idea of making Chop Wood the most massive crafting game ever, where you could build the most different types of stuff.
But to what point?
Amount of stuff doesn’t always create complexity and depth, but it can help. It’s more what direction the stuff can take you and it could be argued the limits of that type of game has already been touched upon.
Another direction to go is a multi-user component, the simplest of games can become massive if enough people are playing. Chop Wood is designed from the ground up to allow interaction with other players for trade and communication, although my technical skills are a long way from making that happen right now.
Benefit of size is not just about the amount of stuff you can gather or even the amount of stuff you can craft or build, but about the depth and complexity you can develop using the basic stuff of the game.