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Some players (typically the developer types, but not exclusively) love to control intricate aspects of a game (typically a simulation game) such as how long traffic lights take, how much to tax certain citizens (in sim city style games) when to change gear (in a racing game) exactly what an AI should do etc...

But how far should a developer go to implement micromanagement, when does it stop becoming fun? It would be rather tedious to connect each building to the water, and electrical grid for example in sim city. Whereas issuing city ordinances is considered engaging to the player.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Test. With. Real. People. Anyone in your target audience, not on the team and not another developer. I'm not sure what other kind of answer you can get to "What Is Fun?" other than "whatever your target audience says it is." =) \$\endgroup\$ – Patrick Hughes Sep 9 '13 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jammmie999 What Patrick said. There are objective-ish answers that could be given, but the far simpler and more useful answer is "People have different opinions". Just make sure the result is both something you don't dislike and something that isn't disliked by everyone else. And the latter is optional. \$\endgroup\$ – Attackfarm Sep 9 '13 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seems like a "Primarily opinion based" question. Fun/boring are subjective and not quantifiable. You should go as far as you want to make the game you're interested in making. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Sep 9 '13 at 19:01
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In my opinion, it isn't very beginner-friendly to implement too many functions. Look at dwarf fortress and you'll understand what I say. But as you said, as soon as somebody knows the basics of a game, he'll be curious to learn new things.

I really like games where you can e. g. click on a building and just set what the building should produce (everybody understands that). But there should also be a button "advanced", where you can e. g. set if the workers should take the produced things to the warehouse or if they /the produced things) should stay there until they are needed at another building.

To summarize it: the player will play the game longer if there is advaced micromanagment, but he won't start playing it if he has to do too much micromanagment at the beginning.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It isn't beginner-friendly to offer too many options up-front, but a game which progressively adds more things to keep track of is another story. Every game should be its own tutorial. That means no ham-fisted, poorly-executed "tutorial mode" but rather a natural progression of required skills and cognitive load inside the main game story/campaign itself. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Middleditch Sep 10 '13 at 8:39
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I'd say your premises are off.

There is no threshold of options where a game becomes boring, unless those options are presented clumsily.

I would instead say something more like:

  • If there are too many options to learn to players when they are still learning, a game can be overwhelming.

  • If a game requires many detailed choices when they aren't needed, that game may be wasting the player's time.

  • If there is an excessive amount to manage in order for the action to proceed properly (for example, in games which have the player gain more and more units that all need to be given orders at the same time) then the game can become overwhelming, or practically impossible to manage everything (particularly for an un-pausable real-time game), or (in a turn-based game) take a huge amount of time to advance one turn.

While the above issues and others can be problems, they are not always simple matters of too many options being included in a game. Such issues are often problems with the way they are presented, included, or required, and the lack of ways to make them optional.

In general, as long as such details are optional, and don't slow or interfere with most play, they can be benefits that instead of being "boring", actually extend the interestingness of the game. In fact options can often solve problems that might otherwise cause the game to be impossible or annoying or dull, if they were not available.

(All of your examples of excessive detail could be needed and fun in the right context, as long as they don't get in the way of learning and usual play.)

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