What is the difference, if any, between gameplay depth and meaningful complexity?
I use them as synonyms personally.
Possibility space is essentially raw complexity, it’s all the possible states and outcomes, even the pointless and redundant ones.
Depth is what you get when you cull the possibility space for only the relevant and non-redundant states. It’s the complexity that’s left over.
In layman’s terms, we know that games are better as they get more complex, but we also know that some games are complex on a surface level, but end up being simple in execution. Like, you have to sort through a ton of variables, but the actual sorting algorithm is simple, despite being time consuming.
Games need to become more complex overall to have more meaningful complexity, however the way in which they’re constructed can lead to a more complex game that isn’t more meaningfully complex.
The enemy of depth is optimization and redundancy.