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Creating Mechanics

Game Design Methodology

This is part 1 of the Game Design Methodology series. You can find the series overview at Game Design Methodology.

The video covers taking an idea of a game and actually making the mechanics for it. We will step through the creative process for taking the game experience we want, and translating it into data, so we can derive mechanics from it.

What do you want to build?

We start with the experience you want to deliver with a game. We need to build a machine that creates that experience for players.

To build a machine, you should know what you want that machine to do.

Is this going to be a puzzle game to tax people's minds? Is it going to be some big sweeping epic journey where people feel amazingly powerful or the center of attention? Is it some heroic journey? Is it a small intimate tale of love, triumph, revenge, or sorrow?

What are you trying to show? What are you trying to do? What are you after?

What do you have to build it?

To build the machine, you need to know what parts you can build the machine from.

You need to know what resources and inputs you have including the hardware, environment, interfaces, number of players and more.


Once you have an idea of what you want to build with what you have to build it, you can make a determination if the product is even possible and if it is reasonable.

Generating the mechanics

Watch the video to see taking an idea for a simple hack and slash style game and generating the mechanics for it.

We show how the needed data falls directly out of our description. It becomes easy and obvious to see what the initial values should be in regards to:

Enemy health, enemy damage, player health player damage, enemy population, combat timing, enemy population, and more.

The framework

With that data determined we set it as the average and percentage modify to first get class type modifications followed by specific enemy percentage modifications. This creates a framework for rapid iteration and easy to understand tuning.

Non-data driven games

Lastly we show how this can work with less data driven games, something like a physics oriented game. At the highest level, all games should be data driven, even physics based games. You have to show what pieces of data you care about and model it. You can then break it down.

Next Up

You can find the next article in the series here: Iteration.

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Matt Yaney