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Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design, 1st edition

  • Ernest Adams
  • Joris Dormans

Published by New Riders (June 15th 2012) - Copyright © 2012

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Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design

ISBN-13: 9780132946698

Includes: Unassigned

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This in-depth resource teaches you to craft mechanics that generate challenging, enjoyable, and well-balanced gameplay. You’ll discover at what stages to prototype, test, and implement mechanics in games and learn how to visualize and simulate game mechanics in order to design better games. Along the way, you’ll practice what you’ve learned with hands-on lessons. A free downloadable simulation tool developed by Joris Dormans is also available in order to follow along with exercises in the book in an easy-to-use graphical environment.

In Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design, you’ll learn how to:

* Design and balance game mechanics to create emergent gameplay before you write a single line of code.
* Visualize the internal economy so that you can immediately see what goes on in a complex game.
* Use novel prototyping techniques that let you simulate games and collect vast quantities of gameplay data on the first day of development.
* Apply design patterns for game mechanics—from a library in this book—to improve your game designs.
* Explore the delicate balance between game mechanics and level design to create compelling, long-lasting game experiences.
* Replace fixed, scripted events in your game with dynamic progression systems to give your players a new experience every time they play.

"I've been waiting for a book like this for ten years: packed with game design goodness that tackles the science without undermining the art."
--Richard Bartle, University of Essex, co-author of the first MMORPG

  “Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design by Joris Dormans & Ernest Adams formalizes game grammar quite well. Not sure I need to write a next book now!”
 -- Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design.

Table of contents


Who Is This Book For?
How Is This Book Organized?
Companion Website.

Chapter 1

Designing Game Mechanics
Rules Define Games
Discrete Mechanics vs. Continuous Mechanics
Mechanics and the Game Design Process
Prototyping Techniques

Chapter 2

Emergence and Progression
The History of Emergence and Progression
Comparing Emergence and Progression
Games of Emergence
Games of Progression
Structural Differences
Emergence and Progression Integration

Chapter 3

Complex Systems and the Structure
of Emergence
Gameplay as an Emergent Property of Games
Structural Qualities of Complex Systems
Harnessing Emergence in Games

Chapter 4

Internal Economy
Elements of Internal Economies
Economic Structure
Uses for Internal Economies in Games

Chapter 5

The Machinations Framework
Machinations Diagram Basic Elements
Advanced Node Types
Modeling Pac-Man

Chapter 6

Common Mechanisms
More Machinations Concepts
Feedback Structures in Games
Randomness vs. Emergence
Example Mechanics

Chapter 7

Design Patterns
Introducing Design Patterns
Machinations Design Pattern Language
Leveraging Patterns for Design

Chapter 8

Simulating and Balancing Games
Simulated Play Tests
Playing with Monopoly
Balancing SimWar
From Model to Game

Chapter 9

Building Economies
Economy-Building Games
Analyzing Caesar III
Designing Lunar Colony

Chapter 10

Integrating Level Design and Mechanics
From Toys to Playgrounds
Missions and Game Spaces
Learning to Play

Chapter 11

Progression Mechanisms
Lock-and-Key Mechanisms
Emergent Progression

Chapter 12

Meaningful Mechanics
Serious Games
Communication Theory
The Semiotics of Games and Simulations
Multiple Layers of Meaning

Appendix A

Machinations Quick Reference

Appendix B

Design Pattern Library
Static Engine
Dynamic Engine
Converter Engine
Engine Building
Static Friction
Dynamic Friction
Stopping Mechanism
Escalating Challenge
Escalating Complexity
Arms Race
Playing Style Reinforcement
Multiple Feedback
Worker Placement
Slow Cycle

Appendix C

Getting Started with Machinations

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