Throughout the program you have been looking
Deconstructing games, looking at systems,
working out mechanics.
But this has always been an isolated action:
Something done in a single course.
Something that is described but the process has
been left up to you
This course is based on analysing, and isolating
So understanding how to do this, we’re going to
go through different processes
Analysis is the process
of transforming a
problem definition from a
fuzzy set of facts and
myths into a coherent
statement of a system’s
The main objective of the
analysis is to capture:
– a complete,
consistent picture of the
requirements of the
– what the system must
do to satisfy the users'
requirements and needs.
Let’s start with a definition:
A system is a set of interrelated components that
function together to achieve a common goal. The
components of a system are called subsystems.
The components of a system are interdependent;
that is, the output of one subsystem is usually
becomes the input of another subsystem. Thus,
malfunctioning of one component affects the
functioning of other components.
A system receives inputs from the outside
environment, which are then processed by various
subsystems, and then delivers required outputs to
the outside environment.
A system also has control mechanisms to make
certain decisions. This is usually performed as a
feedback to the system user (or automated to the
system environment) followed by certain decisions.
When looking at the system as a whole, Use Case
Analysis identifies all the major uses of
the system. It is a functional description of the
· Use Cases are the main tasks performed by the
users of the system.
· Use Cases describe the behavioural aspects of
· Use Cases are used to identify how the system
will be used.
· Use Cases are a convenient way to document
the functions that the system must support.
· Use Cases are used to identify the components
(objects) of the system.
Describe each use case, actor and relationship.
Describe how the use case interacts with
the actor as opposed to how it will perform its task.
Use Case examples
• Clerk prints a sales receipt for a video rental.
• Person spell checks a typed document.
• Receptionist schedules an appointment.
• Advisor registers student for classes.
To create a physical model, the following questions
• Who performs the tasks?
• How they are performed?
• When or how often they are performed?
• How the data is stored (media)?
• How the dataflows are implemented
Objects, Properties, Behaviours,
This brings us back to the familiar ground of
analysis that you are all aware of. The “Game
Design Workbook” describes systems. It says
The basic elements of systems are objects,
properties, behaviours, and relationships. Objects
within the system interact with each other according
to their properties, behaviours, and relationships,
causing changes to the system state. How those
changes are manifested depend on the nature of
the objects and interactions.
Objects are the basic building blocks of a system.
Systems can be thought of as a group of
interrelated pieces called objects, which may be
physical, abstract, or both, depending on the nature
of the system.
Examples of objects in games might be individual
game pieces (such as the “king” or “ queen ” in
chess), in-game concepts (such as the “bank” in
Monopoly ), the players themselves , or
representations of the players (such as the avatars
in an online environment)
Objects are defined by their properties and
behaviors. They are also defined by their
relationships with other objects.
Properties are qualities or attributes that define
physical or conceptual aspects of objects.
Generally, these are a set of values that describe
For example, the attributes of a bishop include its
color (white or black) and its location. The
properties of a character in a role-playing game
may be much more complex, including variables
such as health, strength, dexterity, experience,
level, as well as its location in the online
environment, and even the artwork or other media
associated with that object.
The next defining characteristics of objects in a
system are their behaviors. Behaviors are the
potential actions that an object might perform in a
The behaviors of the bishop in chess include
moving along any of the diagonals radiating from its
current position until it is blocked by or captures
The behaviors of the role-playing character
described previously might include walking,
running, fighting, talking, using items, etc.
As we mentioned earlier, systems also have
relationships among their objects.
This is a key concept in design.
If there are no relationships between the objects in
question, then you have a collection, not a system.
For example, a stack of blank index cards is a
collection. If you write numbers on the cards, or
mark them in several suits , then you have created
relationships among the cards.
Removing the “3” card from a sequence of 12 will
change the dynamics of a system which uses those
Relationships can be expressed in a number of
A game played on a board might express
relationships between objects based on location.
Alternately, relationships between objects might be
defined hierarchically, as in the numerical sequence
of cards described previously.
How relationships between objects in a system are
defined plays a large part in how the system
develops when it’s put in motion.
Objects, Properties, Behaviours,
Give this a go. Analyse this and come back in 30
Analysing games is easy.
They are controlled systems, in some cases,
Applying this to other subjects is hard and requires
But it isn’t hard.
The Institute of Play teaches Systems Thinking to
6th Graders (11-12 year olds)
They include the following
Distinguishing what is
important and salient.
things and ideas.
Sequencing causes and
effects to act and think
effectively over time.
and relationships over
time and space.
Clarifying disparate bits
of information and
reconciling them to a
Resolving tensions and
Explaining knowledge in
terms relative to the
discourse is the
examples from other
that help to demonstrate
and exemplify the
efficacy of primary
Applying knowledge to
new circumstances and
Do this all the time, where ever you are.
Analyse shopping, walking to uni, getting on a ferry,
a train, a bus.
Analyse making a coffee.
Because now it gets hard.
We all know about MDA as a framework, and you
may have used it to analyse games.
But analysis is analysis.
So – how do we use MDA to analyse real world
Games can be seen to be developed like this:
A Design is
into one of
8 kinds of
8 Kinds of Fun
• Sensation: game as sense-pleasure
• Fantasy: game as make-believe
• Narrative: game as unfolding story
• Challenge: game as obstacle course
• Fellowship: game as social framework
• Discovery: Game as uncharted territory
• Expression: Game as soap box
• Submission: Game as mindless pastime
Type of Work
• High-stakes work
• Busy work
• Mental Work
• Physical Work
• Discovery Work
• Creative Work
Jane McGonigal describes Fun in terms of Work.
This can be analysed down to:
Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics
• Mechanics: The rules and concepts that formally
specify the game system
• Dynamics: The run-time behavior of the
• Aesthetics: The desirable emotional responses
evoked by the game dynamics.
How do we even start?
Let’s start here. With an emotional response.
When you are analysing a system to gamify it, you
are looking to engage your players.
Interaction with your system is going to give them
an emotional response.
The chances are they already have one that you
might want to change
We all have an
emotional response to a
Generally the response
isn’t a good one.
What is the Mechanic
and Dynamic of this?
How have we got there?
The mechanic is a
The dynamic might be
where the problem is?
A Dental dynamic could be the noise of the drill, the
waiting room, the fear of pain?
How do we change this? What elements could we
modify in improve that dynamic?
When analysing with MDA, you have to broadly
What is the output for the player?
An emotional response?
When analysing with MDA, you have to broadly
How do you define your mechanics?
What are the elements that set up your emotional
What are your basic blocks?
Individual objects? Concepts? The people involved,
or representations/notions of them?
Then – what is the “The run-time behavior of the
This, obviously, requires you to understand the
system and see how the objects work within it.
Early attempts at this will be long and tortuous.
But it gets easier.
At some point you’ll think about systems/MDA as
Until then – practice…
The “Out of Left Field” Option
This is Aleister Crowley.
Known as The Great
Beast, the wickedest
man in the world.
He was an English
magician, poet, painter,
He analysed magick and reduced it to an, almost,
post-modern simplicity that wasn’t to be seen
again until the Chaos Magic movement in the
mid-70s, popularised in the 80s
He was also a monumental troll.
The reason we’re looking at him today is
because of something he wrote in 1904.
While in the midst of a ritual, and over the course
of 3 days, Crowley heard the voice of Aiwass, an
entity who was the messenger of Horus, or Hoor-
The voice dictated what became The Book of
It stated that a supreme moral law was to be
introduced in this Aeon,
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”
This became the subject of many interpretations.
Some seeing it as a call to just do what you want,
others seeing it, as Crowley did, as living
Magick is the Science and Art of causing
Change to occur in conformity with
Will. (Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World
of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore
take "magickal weapons", pen, ink, and paper; I
write "incantations" — these sentences — in the
"magickal language" ie, that which is understood
by the people I wish to instruct;
I call forth "spirits", such as printers, publishers,
booksellers and so forth and constrain them to
convey my message to those people.
The composition and distribution of this book
is thus an act of Magick by which I cause
Changes to take place in conformity with my
Using this view of “living magically” you can
weigh up the actions of your designs.
What are the consequences of choosing one
action over another?
What tools are available for you to cause
How do you live “designery”?
What are the tools you use to cause change?