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Game Design techniques
Games Techniques & Logics
Wriiten by Victor Manrique
Compiled by Vijaya Sawant
TECHNIQUES / LOGICS USED IN GAMES
TO ATTRACT AND ENGAGE USERS
CAN BE USED
IN NON-GAME ENVIRONMENT
An epic world is one of the best things to create a great
experience. It takes player to magic circle due to its depth
and richness and beautiful scenery. It supports the
storyline and makes player want to play more and more.
World (The Lord of the Rings Online)
Area enhances social contact and strengthen family
relationships by creating public and private zones. It
fulfills the needs of player’s curiosity and autonomy.
Area (Second Life)
Avatars allow people to express themselves as they want
such as heroes, villains, wise
men, emotions, happy, angry, sad…. People can recognize
pattern and able to motivate themselves based on the
Avatar (World of Warcraft)
Customization enhances avatars. The players feel
that the character is real and they get emotionally
Customization (The Sims 3)
Skills or traits give the player a sense of control and
mastery in the long term while making a game far more
tactical and complex. They create emergence and
enhance the endgame.
Skills / Traits (Final Fantasy)
The players look for the virtual goods, fight for them, team up
to get them, explore the platform, have new goals all the
time, showing their skills and generating great experiences. It is
always a great complement for quests.
Equipment (Dungeons & Dragons)
Similar to equipment but they differ in a very small
and critical detail. The player spends more time just
to collect them for prestige.
Vanity Item (Team Fortress 2)G
Players do things or visit places they are not allowed in
the beginning. Players explore the world, add some
misery and gain knowledge about the game progressively.
Elite Item (MU Online)
Power ups are a great way of adding some power to the system
and most of the times they are used for competitions against
other players. They create the habit of taking some actions in
the players in order to get the boosters.
Power-up (Super Mario Bros)
Currency serve many purpose such as
items, quests, trading systems, punishments etc and fulfill
many human motivators like saving, power, status, social
contact because people love collecting and trading.
Trading systems enhance all the effects that currencies had. People love
trading and acting as if they were stock market’s brokers, predicting the
future, farming items to get better ones later, discussing prices with
others, writing guides about it or discovering the secret mechanics
underlying. Players get two important feelings that there is always people
playing and something new and exciting to do.
Trading systems (Team Fortress 2)
It fulfill people’s need of being the greatest hero, or the biggest
villain on earth as there is always feeling of
control, autonomy, and idealism. It keeps people engaged
through rewards, time events, special challenges and new
things all the time. They tell story where user can be the main
Quest (Grand Theft Auto 3)
Tutorial teach players how to play and give feeling of
tranquility that everyone need to learn. They show people
how feedback loops whether positive or negative form
habits that are great to play in a good way.
Special challenges are events that only take place once in a
while and a great way to deliver an awesome experience from
time to time. They fulfill curiosity for knowing and give
powerful status feeling when others see how cool player look
with that unique item.
Special Challenge (Team Fortress 2)
They are great for short engagement and increase
powerful feeling of loss avoidance. They are quite
effective in getting real life challenges done.
Time Events (The Legend of Zeida: Majora’s Mask)
XP Points are great source of
mastery, progression, status, power, acceptance and fun. Fun
factors like collecting, feeling complete, experiencing
achievement are linked to skills, traits, magic, dexterity, life
points. Many mechanics in game depend on specific points
what they allow players to do.
XP Points (Diablo II)
Economy points can be traded for stuff and directly
connected to the trading and currency system. Players has
to keep on playing to unlock more levels for rewards.
Economy Points (Plants vs Zombies)
They are great source of motivation, status and power. Levels
are shown to give instant feedback, engage players and create
feelings of status and power. They are invisible and letting
players have a great experience while using system.
Levels (Baldur’s Gate)
Progress HUDs (head-up displays) show your progress creating
a feeling of order and tranquility, or showing mastery to other
players. They make player try harder all the time, trying to
achieve completion. They make people do stuff that they won’t
Progress HUD (Pokemon)
Achievements are one of the most powerful ways to fulfill
status and acceptance. Players will only accept players in their
guilds or parties if they have got a certain achievement.
Rewards for achievement can be tangible or intangible.
Achievements (Day of Defeat: Source)
It is fun to be the center of attention and gaining recognition if
you are on top of the list but the best leaderboards add
influence as a key ingredient of leaderboards to be more
powerful. Local and social standing encourage players to do
better all the time.
Total Rankings (Celtic Tribes, Ogame, Candy Crush)
Players get variable rewards with a fixed interval of around 15-
20 minutes play. The system has a weekly limit, so it takes the
best from fixed rewards (order, habit) and combine it with the
best of variable rewards ( which is getting different things all
Fixed / Variable Rewards (Team Fortress
Surprise and misery added into fixed or variable
rewards can create lots of excitement in players.
Random Rewards (Plants vs Zombies)
Easter eggs are one of the best drivers for curiosity and
saving because of they are surrounded by secrecy. People
love secrets and mysterious content that can be unlocked
Easter Eggs (Angry Birds)
Getting something free with the effort of someone
else bothers players. It encourages social contact and
Free Lunch (Guild Wars)
Lifejackets help players in difficult situations or when they are
stuck or lost track of their main goals. Nice fairy tells you what
to do and guides player through the game. Levels require
specific weapons or items, and there are plenty of lifejackets
along the game that supply players to avoid deadlocks.
Lifejacket (The Legend of Zeida: Ocarina of Time)
Players love losing in games so they will learn and
improve, but at the same time they hate losing things
they already had or being punished. Mission is not to win
badges but to avoid losing them.
The players in Guilds keep on playing game because of
social contact, acceptance, honor, family and status of
game. They play just for the people they meet or fun to
play with their small family.
Guilds (Clash of Clans)
Players speak to each other, interact, choose a side and
fight against each other. Competition and the feeling of
being part of a family are powerful human drivers.
Party / Team, Chats (League of Legends)
It is advanced social mechanic. It involves pro or active
players that level up community and help improving and
maintaining it. Players contribute and help developer to
Ambassadors (The Steam Community)
Players enjoy social interactions with surrounding
environment. It connects players with friends and
other players. It requires social network support.
Social Graph (Farmville)
Player vs Player (PvP) is massive multiplayer online game.
They are effective in creating social contact, status, power
and human motivators such as
motivation, recognition, achievement, progress, exciteme
PvP (Heroes of Might and Magic III)