The mechanics that directly lead to the game’s successful resolution.
EXAMPLE: CANDYLAND EXAMPLE: TETRIS
Progression Systems don’t have to be Skinner Boxes as long as they are part of the experience and not just tacked on.
Pondering on a decision about strategic path. Reducing the game’s complexity Encourage Players to Master New Mechanics Personality grows or changes with progression Turn individual battles into campaigns
EXAMPLE: PAC-MAN provides three different ways to earn points: eating pills, capturing ghosts or collecting bonus objects. Having a score value for EACH PLAYER allows them to easily determine the LEADER or WINNER in a game.
DIFFERENT WAYS to Earn Score promotes different TACTICS and allows for STIMULATED PLANNING, VARIED GAMPLAY and REPLAYABILITY. Reaching a Pick-Up first,, completing a Dexterity or Time Based Action. More complex Score calculation might include Resource Management HOW MANY WHEN: You may want to give DIFFERENT POINTS for the SAME ACHIEVEMENTS based on WHEN in the game they are achieved to ensure FLOW. RELOAD: May make scores irrelevant, as players repeat parts of game until they achieve a score they are happy with. HIDDEN: If KNOWN, give rise to DYNAMIC ALLIANCE in which players work together to DEFEAT THE LEADER but can lead to ANALYSIS PARALYSIS. If HIDDEN, provide TENSION and SURPRISE about who Is the leader. TIE BREAKERS: Require Procedures for breaking ties.
GOALS: Race (first player to reach a certain score). Also Gain Information and Collection. TRANS-GAME INFORMATION (comparing scores of different games) EXTRA-GAME CONSEQUENCES (Tournaments and High Score Lists)
EXAMPLE: The first game to have High Score Lists was ASTEROIDS. META GAMING: Trans-Game Information allows for PLAYER DEFINED GOALS of ranking themselves against previous achievements and gaining GAME MASTERY.
HOW MANY: HANDLES: Allow players to IDENTIFY with their own scores and know that other players will RECOGNIZE them, promoting SOCIAL STATUS. TIES: Unless there are TIE BREAKERS, need to show that players with TIED RESULTS are EQUALS.
REPLAYABILY: Goal of performing better than in the previous game.
Levels may vary by content and/or aesthetics. EXAMPLES: MARBLE MADNESS has different routes, obstacles and color schemes. EXAMPLE: ASTEROIDS has faster and more numerous asteroids.
HOW MANY RELATE: Should all adhere to the same CONSISTENT REALITY LOGIC but some LOCAL VARIATION. DIFFERENCES: Themes, End Conditions, Primary Activities, Goals, allowing for VARIED GAMEPLAY. COMPLETION: Typically TRAVERSE to a GOAL POINT, such as a CONTROLLER or BOSS MONSTER .
Players can PROGRESS in games when the chances of effect of actions are improved. Note that this does NOT have to do with the physical or mental abilities of PLAYERS. EXAMPLE: SKYRIM gives improved abilities to character classes when they LEVEL UP.. EXAMPLE: Racing games have POWER-UPS and CHARGERS.
WHAT: HOW: CHARGERS or POWER-UPS with TIME LIMITS. TOOLS give PERMANENT improvements as long as they are carried. Balanced by LIMITED RESOURCES. CHANCE TO SUCCEED/EFFECT IMPROVEMENTS
Additional actions players can perform AFTER they have STARTED playing. Difference between IMPROVED ABILITIES is more SCALE or PERSPECTIVE. EXAMPLE: Role-playing games give new abilities to character classes when they LEVEL UP.. EXAMPLE: Strategy games provide new units with new abilities.
WHAT: Does it affect the same parts of the GAME STATE as existing Abilities? How does the Ability fit into the ALTERNATE REALITY? Does it give PRIVILEGED ABILITIES? TEMPORARY: CHARGERS or POWER-UPS with TIME LIMITS. FOCUS LOCI: AVATARS are like PLAYERS, unless it is LOST with LIFE. UNITS can be made MORE VALUABLE and allows for UNIT DIFFERENTIATION. CHOOSE: If Player can choose, gives FREEDOM OF CHOICE and makes PLANNED CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT possible. GIVE UP: ABILITY LOSS forcing player to choose RISK/REWARD, .
INTRINSIC REWARD: EWPOSERMENT: PERCEIVED CHANCE TO SUCCEED and ILLUSION OF INFLUENCE Also Gain Ownership Goals Balances Avatars, Skills, Competence Areas COMPETENCE AREAS. Form of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT and TEAM DEVELOPMENT. Balances Characters, Units and Team Members
Either by enabling a Game Element to perform an action or by gaining control of a game element that can perform that action, NOT for a Player to perform an action skillfully. EXAMPLE: QUAKE goals that are linked to acquiring weapons. EXAMPLE: SKYRIM ability to cast Spells. :
Promote Tactics Supports Gain Ownership, Overcome, Race
WHAT: HOW: Through PRIVILEDGED or NEW ABILITIES through pick-ups or leveling up. LIMITED: Is there a time limit or number of uses? Used to BALANCE the Competency.
EXAMPLE: Candy Land, first to reach CANDY CASTLE. EXAMPLE: PIG, the first person to get a specified number of points. EXAMPLE: GOLF is a form of RACE, with time measured by FEWEST STROKES. .
SINGLE GOAL: High-Level Goal requiring the use of underlying goals: TRAVERSE. WHICH ELEMENTS: HOW MANY: START: Starting conditions and goals should be equivalent for all players, otherwise BALANCING with HANDICAPS? MOVEMENT LIMITATIONS: Balancing DIFFICULTY POSTIION: Affects feeling of PARTICIPATION and TENSION. PROGRESS INDICATORS show progress in meeting GOAL, STATUS INDICATORS used for CONTINUOUS GOALS. INTERFERENCE: Promotes MANEUVERING CHARGERS and PICK-UPS: Forces RISK/REWARD Decisions and STRATEGIC KNOWLEDGE TRAILING PLAYER ADVANTAGES: Balancing with HANDICAPS END: 1) Completion of GOAL (Traverse). 2) TIME LIMITS make it a matter of DISTANCE rather than SPEED. If TWO OR MORE Win, is there a TIEBREAKER? TIME LIMIT: it can be applied to almost any type of game by introducing TIME as a determining factor of the OUTCOME.
USE: - Affect Avatar/Units Attributes (Cut-Off Limits or Diminishing Returns for Balance) - Gain advantages in actions against opponents - Increase chances of winning - Several uses: Trade-Offs LOCATION: Design of pick-up is linked to design of resource location. Fixed (Strategic)/Random? PRODUCTION? Used once? Renewable Resource? Fixed//Random? Tied to a Resource Generator? LIMITED?
Risk/Reward Decisions Promotes Strategic Locations Promotes Gain Ownership and Delivery Goals.
Tools and the game elements that use them are separate entities, and they can exist independently of each others, so that they can be picked up, dropped, destroyed, traded, etc. USES: IMPROVED and NEW ABILITIES, REWARDS
ABILITIES: Modify Aim & Shoot? Allow Controllers to be Used? Exploit Enemy’s Achilles Heel? AVATARS/UNITS: SKILL/RESOURCES: How many can be carried? How many times used? COMBINED: Increases DIFFICULTY and COMPLEXITY
EMPOWERMENT: ILLUSION OF INFLUENCE and PERCEIVED CHANCE TO SUCCEED REWARDS SUPPORTS GAIN OWNERSHIP AND COLLECTING GOALS
Power-ups are a type of Pick-Up. PAC-MAN: Power pill in Pac-Man allows Pac-Man to hunt ghosts for a limited amount of time. QUAKE: Quad damage in Quake quadruples the amount of damage caused by player’s weapons for a limtied amount of time.
ADVANTAGE: The main difference is that Power-Ups give the player’s NEW ABILITIES OR PRIVILEDGE ABILITIES. They can IMPROVE ABILITIES such ass raising Skills. TIME EFFECT: Can increase TENSION if the usefulness depends on other goals, such as locating and avoiding enemies first. LOCATION: Design of pick-up is linked to design of resource location. Fixed (Strategic)/Random? They give an advantage without a disadvantage, so BALANCING is most of an issue than with Pick-Ups PRODUCTION: Used once? Renewable Resource? Fixed//Random? Tied to a Resource Generator? TRADING: Trading BALANCES power-ups.
Tools effects last for as long as you possess them, but Power-Ups last for a limited amount of time.
ABILITIES: WHO: Generally any Avatar or Unit REQUIREMENTS: Do they need constant activation of a player? Balances its uss. SYSTEM: Outside the usual reach of an Avatar’s or Unit’s actions.
Resource Location Strategic Location Area Control Ultra-Powerful Event Supports Gain Ownership Goals
Allows Players to get ABILITIES or RENEWABLE RESOURCES. It can also been seen as a POWER-UP that gives PRIVILEGED ABILITIES EXAMPLE: Speed booster in Super Monkey Ball II: Monkey Race. EXAMPLE: Medicine cabinets and ammunition boxes in Battlefield 1942
PROVIDES: Some may also supply Privileged Abilities. LOCATION: Balanced by OUTSTANDING FEATURES RECHARGE TIME: RISK/REWARD TRADEOFF because FREEDOM OF CHOICE is limited for MOVEMENT.
They are both RESOURCE LOCATIONS and RESOURCE GENERATORS but do not produce any resources unless PLAYER IS IN AREA. Balance Complexity Risk/Reward Decisions Supports Resource Gathering, Gain Competence, Traverse, and Gain Ownership Goals
Controllers allow player to perform a privledged action at that location. Chargers give player resources or abilities they can use away from the location.
LAFS Game Mechanics - Progression Mechanics
The Los Angeles Film School
Making Progression More Meaningful
Add a Strategic Component
Shaping Learning Curve
Reward Most Engaging Way To Play
Enhance Narrative and Character
Provide Cohesion and Consistency
Are your choke points appropriately difficult? Are users
getting stuck on certain levels unexpectedly? Which levels
are users having the most fun playing and repeating?
The numerical representation of the player’s
success in the game, often not only representing
the success but also defining it.
Score Design Considerations
Which actions or goals
How many points are
Are points based on
when they are achieved?
Can players reload saved
Are player scores
Are there tie breakers?
Design Analysis: Score Characteristics
High Score Lists
Give players the chance to rank themselves
against other players who have previously played
High Score List Design
How many scores
How are handles
How are ties
Design Analysis: High Score
Why Designers Use High Score Lists
Competition in Single-Player Games
Part of a game in which all player actions take
place until a certain goal or end condition has
Level Design Considerations
How many levels in the game?
How do they relate to each other?
How are they different?
How are they completed?
Why Designers Use Levels
Game World Boundary
Balances Complexity and Difficulty
The player’s chance of succeeding with an
action, or its calculated effect, is increased.
Improved Abilities Design
What ability is
How is it improved?
Is the chance to
Is the effect
Design Analysis: Improved Ability
Gaining new abilities during gameplay.
New Abilities Design Considerations
What ability is given?
Is the ability
What focus loci is it
Can player choose
Does player have to
give up a current
Design Analysis: New Ability Characteristics
Why Designers Use New and Improved
Smooth Learning Curves
Character and Team Development
Progression for Gain Competence Goal
Gaining the ability to perform a certain action
in a game.
Why Designers Use Gain Competence
Smooth Learning Curve
Gain Competence Considerations
What is the action obtained?
How is the action obtained?
Is the action limited?
A competition between players to be the first to
reach a certain goal, often being the first to a
certain location along an approved route.
Is this the single goal of the game?
Which game elements are racing?
How many players are competing?
Does each player start at the same time?
Are there movement limitations?
Do players’ know each other’s position?
Can players interfere with each other?
Are there chargers or pick-ups?
Are trailing players given advantages?
How is the end determined?
Is there a time limit?
Why Designers Use Race Goals
Conflict and Competition
Supports Delivery, Stealth and Rescue
Prevents Eliminate and other goals
Choose one of the following games to play:
Eno (2-5p, 60m)
Power Grid:First Sparks (2-6p, 60m)
Thunderstone (2-5p, 45m)
Around World 80 Days (3-6p, 50-70m)
Aton (2p, 30m)
Ave Ceasar (3-6p, 30-60m)
Can’t Stop (2-4p, 30-40m)
Citadels (2-7p, 20-60m)
Hey, That’s My Fish! (2-4p, 20m)
Snowtails (2-5p, 45m)
Game elements that exist in the game world and
can be collected by the player, usually by moving
an Avatar or Units in contact with the Pick-Up.
Pick-Up Design Considerations
What does it do?
Where is it located?
How is it produced?
How limited is it?
Design Analysis: Pick-Up Characteristics
Why Designers Use Pick-Ups
Progression for Collecting Goals
Promotes Maneuvering and Races to Get
Resources for Actions
A type of pick-up that grants privileged abilities
for as long as the pick-up is possessed by a
player or focus loci.
Tool Design Considerations
What new, improved
or privileged abilities
does it give?
What avatars or units
can use it?
are required to use
Can it be combined
with other tools?
Design Analysis: Tool Characteristics
Why Designers Use Tools
New, Improved and Privileged Abilities
Progression for Gain Competence Goals
Balances Players, Avatars and Units
Game elements that give limited-time
advantages to the player that picks them up.
Power-Up Design Considerations
What advantage does it give?
How long does its effect last?
Where is it located?
How is it produced?
Can players trade it? Design Analysis: Power-Ups
Why Designers Use Power-Ups
New, Improved and Privileged Abilities
Promotes Strategic Locations
Promotes Races and Competition to Get
Supports Collecting, Maneuvering, Gain
Ownership and Gain Competence Goals
Game elements fixed in particular locations in the
game world that allow player to perform actions
that would not otherwise be possible.
Controller Design Considerations
abilities does it
Who can use it?
are required to use
Is it part of a large
machine or system? Design Analysis: Controller
Why Designers Use Controllers
Locations in the game world that affect the
player’s resources when they are on the location.
Charger Design Considerations
What resources or
eged abilities does
Where is it located?
How long does it
take to charge? Design Analysis: Charger Characteristics
Why Designers Use Chargers
Resource Generator for fueling Actions
Supports Gain Competence, Traverse and