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Game Design Theory: Play Mechanics

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Free personality test, type descriptions, relationship and career advice. Jamie Madigan's Blog - Newtonian Engagement and Metal Gear Solid V. The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.

Jamie Madigan's Blog - Newtonian Engagement and Metal Gear Solid V

The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. [Jamie Madigan writes, podcasts, and lectures about the overlap between psychology and video games over at] I was recently working through my backlog of things I had filed away to read/watch and I came across this presentation given by Nils Pihl at GDC China in 2013. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but one new concept stuck out to me. Pihl, whose company Mention LLC consults with game developers, calls it "Newtonian engagement. " The name is in reference to Isaac Newton's first law of motion, which essentially states that when an object is set in motion, it will continue that motion until acted upon by an outside force.

Some games are much worse at avoiding these re-evaluation points than others. Now consider another game like Shadow of Mordor. Josh Bycer's Blog - 5 Tips for Designing Control Schemes. The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.

Josh Bycer's Blog - 5 Tips for Designing Control Schemes

Hazel Bradshaw's Blog - Gameplay Flow – Designing for Player Immersion. The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.

Hazel Bradshaw's Blog - Gameplay Flow – Designing for Player Immersion

The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. As gamers we all know the feeling of being so immersed in our game-world that we lose all track of time; effortlessly powering through missions, monsters and bosses, forgetting the rest of the world exists. However, being in the zone is not exclusive to gamers, it is a state of mind universal for all human beings. In positive psychology, this feeling is known as optimal experience – or more simply ‘Flow’.

In the crowded gaming marketplace creating Flow inducing gameplay can set your game apart from the competition in terms of deeper enjoyment, positive feedback and higher player retention rates. Lessons from the New Arcade: Primary Exploration in Games. If there were a Rosetta Stone, so to speak, that allowed hardcore game designers to translate their game ideas into a casual format, it would be quite a breakthrough.

Lessons from the New Arcade: Primary Exploration in Games

There is no shortage of traditionally hardcore designers and AAA companies with an interest in the burgeoning casual games market. What prevents this is that the cornerstone of hardcore games—the deep mastery of skills—cannot always be easily converted to a casual format. Most hardcore games have a greater overall length than their casual counterparts, and each play session tends to be longer too. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of a casual game is that it can be played in short sessions (this essay touches on one reason why that’s true, later), but that doesn’t mean the casual game has to be short.

Most designers realize from the start that casual games cannot be extended with purely hardcore game design techniques. Casual games, on the other hand, don’t always require a large investment in time and energy. Joost's Dev Blog: The downsides of gameplay variety. An important goal in the game design of Swords & Soldiers, Awesomenauts and Swords & Soldiers II is gameplay variety.

Joost's Dev Blog: The downsides of gameplay variety

We try to make all the classes, units and factions play and feel as differently is possible. This makes it more fun to try them all and allows for much more interesting and varied tactics than if everything feels the same. 4 principles for the design of game interfaces. The latest issue of User Experience Magazine features a gem of an article for those looking for a very brief intro into basic heuristics for game design.

4 principles for the design of game interfaces

"Designing Game-Based Tools for Youth" By Sarah Chu and Constance Steinkuehler reveals findings from their research into the UX of the massively popular and massively multiplayer game, World of War Craft. Their conclusions...Keep the interface simple at first. Introduce information and functions as users need them. Minimize the amount of written information. Allow for interface customization. Principles of User Interface Design. Clarity is job #1 Clarity is the first and most important job of any interface.

Principles of User Interface Design

To be effective using an interface you've designed, people must be able to recognize what it is, care about why they would use it, understand what the interface is helping them interact with, predict what will happen when they use it, and then successfully interact with it. While there is room for mystery and delayed gratification in interfaces, there is no room for confusion. Clarity inspires confidence and leads to further use. One hundred clear screens is preferable to a single cluttered one. Interfaces exist to enable interaction Interfaces exist to enable interaction between humans and our world. Feedback Loops in Game Design [Infographic] FEEDBACK LOOPS IN GAME DESIGN as observed by Jesse Catron, Jay Barnson, Kyoryu Design: Daniel Solis ( In a feedback loop, the output affects the input.

Feedback Loops in Game Design [Infographic]

POSITIVE FEEDBACK AMPLIFIES the output and tends to destabilize the system. For example, the runaway leader. One player takes an early insurmountable lead. In Settlers of Catan, the player with the most productive settlements will generate the most resources, which enables him to build more settlements and gain even more resources. Make a better game: Limit the player. [In this piece reprinted with permission from Stardock producer Jon Shafer's blog, the former Civilization lead designer explains the benefits of keeping limits in your game, pulling examples from his own design decisions with Firaxis' strategy series.]

Make a better game: Limit the player

Okay, okay, I know what you're saying. "Limiting the player makes a better game? Are you crazy? Games should have fewer limits, not more! " Players should always feel like they have options -- but having limitless options is definitely not a good thing. You go to the grocery store because a friend asked you to pick up some flour for a recipe.

Features - Psychology is Fun. [In this thought-provoking piece, psychology researcher and author Clark takes a look at how psychology and can must be applied to game development, to produce works that engage audiences -- offering up concrete examples of the right techniques.]

Features - Psychology is Fun

Gaming's core is fun, and psychology is fun's touchstone. This article restricts itself to psychology's most foundational, most immediately-applicable methods for crafting sticky, captivating experiences. From behaviorism's methods for structuring overpowering rewards, to motivational theories on generating wants and needs, to hybrid theories like flow, it is no longer fiscally responsible for games companies to shun psychology. A Theory of Compression and Funneling. [In this article Qantm College game design theory lecturer Luke McMillan here presents a look at how players can be funneled in game design, using the example of classic 2D shooters to illustrate the practice in a work adapted from his PhD at Australia's Queensland Conservatorium of Music.] In terms of rational approaches to contemporary level design, the notion of line of sight being a key difficulty metric is widely used and acknowledged.

That is to say, the greater the player's line of sight, the more they will feel empowered and the easier a particular scenario may become. Card Design Commandments. Post by: Grant Rodiek I have a thing for card games. I like playing them and I like designing them. Every time I try to veer away from cards to tackle another component like dice, I always end up right back with a box full of index cards and penciled scribbles. As I design card games, play card games, and give advice to other designers about their card games, I see a few patterns emerging.

Game Design: Small Choices. Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 14, 2011 As a gamer, we want deeply meaningful decisions that can change the whole course of the story, a la the old Choose Your Own Adventure books. We want big, dramatic decisions with big, dramatic consequences. Unfortunately, reality dictates that we must usually settle for something less. Features - The Abstraction Of Skill In Game Design. [These days, many games feature a blend of action and RPG elements -- is there any way to determine whether a blend is effective? Is there any way to think about the specific target you're aiming for? Game design analyst Josh Bycer takes a stab at it.] Shay Pierce's Blog - All Games Are About Choices. The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. Today I read a very thoughtful blog post by a game designer who I greatly admire, but with whom I absolutely disagree: Chris DeLeon wrote a scathing dismissal of the argument that games like Galaga are based on interesting decisions.

(That argument was itself presented in response to Chris' previous blog post, titled "Many Games Are Not About Choices. ") I'd like to respond with an assertion: that Galaga really is a game based on interesting decisions; and that, in any game which includes anything that could possibly described as "challenge" (in other words, virtually all games), the gameplay is in fact entirely based around interesting decisions. Altug Isigan's Blog - Interaction and Time. » Deconstructing “Feel” (1 of 3) As promised, here’s the text of my submission to Supple Interfaces. » Deconstructing “Feel” (3 of 3) » Deconstructing “Feel” (2 of 3) 3.

Tuning - extensive, minute adjustments of the specific parameters governing the movement of the player-controlled avatar. » Prototyping for Game Feel. It’s intangible. » Prototyping for Game Feel (v.2) Quality, Frequency and Clarity: Understanding Play Mechanics. Play mechanics [1] are concerned with how the player interacts with the mechanics of a game. From the player’s perspective this is what he does, including his actions, strategies and mental model he forms while playing the game. » Virtual Sensation and the Wii.

Play Understanding Games: Episode 2. What Makes Combat Fun: Tips From A Combat Designer « #AltDevBlogADay. Teaching Players how to Play your Game » #AltDevBlogADay. Teaching the player how to play your game is incredibly important. Under no circumstances should this area of game design be overlooked because getting it wrong means players may never see all the hard work you’ve put into the rest of the game.