The question is maybe just at what level of abstrac tion do you want to explore things. That seems like the central question for any tool. Closely related to it is what level of primitives do you want to expose to your user (and there is lots of nuance in that, maybe you expose one level of primitives, but there is an escape hatch to let people go even lower-level than that). That is something I want to think about. I want to think about why ithat decision is important, too (what are you ultimately trying to enable)? People to create things (yes)? People to create things where they feel in control (on solid ground) (yes, I think so)? How does this compare to the physical processes people use to create things (like pottery, or paining, where the material has a feel and a resistance to it)? It seems like making a tool is a process of finding the right constraints. The constraints of physical things are so varied (what makes learning painting something people waht to do? learning to play an instrument? Think about the end product versus the feel of the process).
That's something I possibly hadn't articulated before: end product versus the process. Painting and playing an instrument have a long learning curve -- I would imagine motivated by the end product (think of what I could make). What do I want to do with a tool? The end product is the carrot, but I want the process to feel good. Are video games the opposite end of the pole (not quite, they're pretty goal-oriented as well).
Slowing down, but I will throw in that also, always with this stuff, I am thinking of lego and minecraft. About their phenomenal success, their enduring attraction, and why more things aren't in that realm (why not more games that play to those impulses? Is it that people only have room for a few of those things? There's also the Sim- series of games, I suppose, but still it seems underexplored).