Elegant Solutions

Juice Analytics posted a synopsis of an article  on “Elegant Solutions” from the Change This web site.  Here’s a quote that sums up the “elegant solution” ideal:

Elegant solutions avoid the traps of: 1) Swinging for the fences; 2) Getting too clever — i.e. too many bells and whistles; 3) Solving problems frivolously.

…An elegant solution is one in which the optimal outcome is achieved with the minimal expenditure of effort and expense…[and is] is recognized by its juxtaposition of simplicity and power.”

It strikes me that game design, especially MMO and Virtual World design, has as its goal elegant solutions to everything.  The breakthroughs I experience in a challenging design problem are most often a result of asking things like “What are we already doing that has something to do with this system?  Can that already-existing sytem or mechanic be the solution to the problem at hand?  How can that already-existing system be extended to solve the problem at hand?  Let’s take a step back and restate what exactly we need to solve in this case.”

I think the best solutions are [nearly] categorically elegant in nature.  And besides, there’s something so very satisfying to creating an elegant solution.