Little projects it might be overkill, but if your project grow bigger. The value of data driven architecture get higher. As recompile time gets longer.
i believe the term you want is "soft coding of data", not "data driven architecture".
i'm currently re-doing the first person attack animations in CAVEMAN for the third time. for each one, i need to position the arms and weapon relative to the camera (the player's eyes). the values are essentially constants. a compile is just 5 seconds, but each link of the game takes 55 seconds (70,000+ lines of code).
It is even faster if settings could be changed under runtime.
i've made a mesh/model manipulator routine that i can hook up to the arm mesh(es) and weapon mesh/model in a given animation with one or two lines of code, and manipulate them in real time in the game then i write down the constant values and go back and hard code them into the game. these constants are only changing because i switched to a higher quality arm mesh, which i do not plan on changing again before release. i have contemplated going to soft coded values but i only have about 30 weapons left to go, and making the game run slower to load soft coded values because i'm too lazy to wait around for rebuilds of hard coded values is not acceptable. arm animations are shared between appropriate weapons, so i only have to tweak a dozen or so of them, almost all of which have been done by now. so really all i have to do is adjust 30 weapons. and with the manipulator i can do 10 at once per recompile. so theoretically i can do it all with just 4 builds.
the alternative would be to "softcode" it. load the constants from disk. requiring a data structure to hold the constants, code to load and save, and code to apply the rotation and translation constants to the animations. i already have the manipulator to edit the values.
Also it reduces a lot of communication between. Programmer vs artist script programmers. It helps productivity in larger teams.
as is often the case, the size and talents (or lack thereof) of the team can dictate certain necessities. such as soft coding things so you don't need a programmer, a compiler, and source code to make changes.
for a single developer who its not building a extensible engine, but merely a single game, there will be places where soft coding is more efficient (stuff that changes), and places where hard coding is more efficient (stuff that doesn't change).
over-softcoding is actually considered an anti-pattern of sorts, due to unnecessary complexity.
an example of overkill might be a separate soft code system just for things like the rate of acceleration due to gravity, or the distance from the sun. "oh yes! we must soft code those! just in case the earth's mass or orbit changes!". <g>. yeah, right. not bloody likely during the life cycle of your project.
note that if i had soft coded the size of the mesh/model manipulator, instead of hard coding it to 10 transform matrices, i could change a text config file and the manipulator would automatically handle all 30 remaining weapons at once. this is an example of the power of soft-coding data. of course i'd still have to recompile once to make the animations use the manipulator, and once again to enter the hard coded values once i wrote them all down.
i once did a space fighter game where much of its was soft coded. it had lots of editors. a campaign editor, a mission editor, a ship editor, even a weapons system editor (design your own weapons for the ships).
sometimes when starting a game, i consider soft coding everything vs hard coding. but in most cases, for me, its not the most efficient way to get things done. i tend to build games with custom one-off engines, not generic multi-title engines, so soft coded reconfigurability of the game's "engine" is usually a low priority. OTOH, there are some places where softcoding is definitely the way to go. any loadable content is an example of softcoded data. mesh vertices, wave bytes values, texture bitmaps, script logic, level maps, all could be hard coded in the final release version, unless you care about MOD-ability.