resource design club 10.03

Idea for

January 01, 1900


Aesthetic goal / Essential Experience: feeling/experience a game is designed to evoke(terror, relaxation)

Mechanics: rules and behaviours(for example, spawn points)
Dynamics: behavior/strategy emerging from mechanics(following that example, spawn camping)
Aesthetics: feelings created by dynamics(concluding that example, anger and rage)

Player Vocabulary/Abilities: mechanical actions initiated by player (ex: Mario jumps, shoots fireballs, moves right and left)
Goals: purpose of actions done by player. There are higher and lower-level goals
(ex: Save the princess > finish the level > jump over that hole)
Fail/Win States: These bring the game to an end and reset it. Most games have both (by saving the princess or getting a Game Over). Tetris, however, only has a fail state, and Braid or Monkey Island only have win states. Other games like fl0w or Nintendogs may not have either.
Critical Path: goals required for reaching the Win State. In Ocarina of Time, you MUST get the hookshot from the grave to progress to the Forest Temple; acquiring Epona is unneeded, and thus not part of the critical path.

Entity: basically objects whose behaviour is relevant to gameplay, often mechanics localized in a body. It can be hard to say what's an entity (is the flag at the end of a mario level an entity? What you just jumped off the edge of the screen and got points for how high you were?). Even if something's an object in code, like clouds in the background in Mario, if it doesn't affect gameplay it's not an entity. Generally, if it can be created or destroyed or has multiple instances, it's an entity.
Agent: an entity with an obvious goal to its behavior. Usually this means their behaviour changes to meet their goals in different circumstances. A fighting game opponent is an agent; what about a Goomba in Mario? Or a Super Mushroom?
Entity Relation Management: relationships between entities grows geometrically as the number of entities increases. In Rocks-paper-scissors there are 3 relationships, but in Rock-paper-scissors-shotgun there are 6 (twice as many!). Thus they are managed by giving entities 'parents' whose behaviours/relationships they share, or by limiting the number of different entities in one scene.
Intransitive/Triangular Relationships: RPS-style balanced relationships between entities.
Level design/arrangement: specifying the setup of entity attributes in space/time. (ex: specifying starting positions of blocks and enemies in Mario.)

Mechanical Representation: metaphor visually representing the mechanical/gameplay layer. Monopoly is metaphorically represented in terms of property and money; Mario is represented as a little man jumping around. The representational and mechanical layers are independent of each other in that one can be changed without significantly affecting the other, like the lyrics and music of a song. For example, Mario could be represented as a block on a spring instead of a person, and the mechanics would be technically identical. Representation does affect the gameplay in that it changes feedback and aesthetics.
Simulated Systems: In these systems, rules determine outputs based on variable inputs. Most game systems are of this type.
Represented Systems: In these systems, designers MANUALLY specify outputs by mapping them to certain inputs. Dialogue trees, choose-your-own-adventure books, or Phoenix Wright's evidence system are like this. These systems exist ONLY inside the player's head (so based on a character's responses to your dialogue choices, you create a mental image of their personality), and are not actually simulated in-hardware. Often, they're systems that are very difficult to program realistically.

Cardinality: the spatial dimensionality of gameplay. Mario 64 is 3D, NSMB is 2D, Monopoly is 1D, and rocks-paper-scissors is 0D, as it contains no spatial component.

Player task types: these classify what is happening when a player does something.
Decision: deciding what to do(Risk).
Performance: doing it(Guitar hero).
These are highly dependent on the time a player has to perform the task. If you need to make one chess move every .5 seconds, it could become an action game, and if Street Fighter were slowed down to 1 frame per second, it could be like chess.

Positive/Negative Reinforcers/Punishments: a positive reinforcer is giving something good; a negative punishment is taking away something bad. Both have a similar effects. Negative reinforcers (taking away something good) and positive punishments (giving something bad) are also alike.
Economies of scale: value of new thingy increases when you already have many. In monopoly, the value of a new piece of property is higher if you already have other properties of the same color. Diseconomies of scale are the opposite.
Exponential growth / Accelerators / Feedback Loops: getting something makes it easier to get more. For example, having lots of money/property in Monopoly makes it easier to get more. Exponential decay/decelerators are the opposite: having fewer chess pieces makes it harder to win, and easier to lose more pieces.

Complete Information: players have all relevant information for gameplay. For example, chess or Pac-Man.
Information Reduction: players process information better by learning to ignore irrelevant information(often, story).

Procedural Rhetoric/Dynamical Meaning: expressing meaning/message/emotion through mechanics and systems (Passage, Ico, SotC, the Marriage)


includes topics that expand on the theme



game genre with possible significant changes or important points



individual gameplay mechanics and mechanics categorized by system



narrative elements concerning plot, characters, world



includes GDC members who contributed to this idea and were present during the discussion


Additional Comments

After the meeting if you have any additional ideas or comments please keep them in this section

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License