Core Mechanics & Gameplay Core Mechanics manage the gameplay: Implement all actions Implement challenges
Challenges & Core Mechanics A game's core mechanics (CM) implement the mechanisms by which most challenges operate Also checks if that challenge has been overcome Level design specifies particular challenge core mechanics provides the pieces to implement it
Crouching mechanism in most FPS games symbolic posture changes (upright to crouching) camera change may also change other mechanics aim sway movement speed accuracy character size Actions & the Core Mechanics Player's actions that trigger mechanics:
Binary data Pressing the X button Boolean – true/false Analog data Tilting the joystick (or mouse) Direction Value Actions & the Core Mechanics Player's actions that come with data:
Core Mechanics Design “Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.” (Do not create more entities than necessary) – Attributed to William of Occam “It is simple to make something complex, and complex to make it simple.” - Matt Nelson of McMaster
What is the point of a game? Goals of Design TO ENTERTAIN!
What is the point of a game? Goals of Design TO ENTERTAIN! Strive for simplicity and elegance Look for patterns, then generalize Don't try to get everything perfect on paper Find the right level of detail
Strive for simplicity and elegance: Goals of Design Simple games are easier for players to learn. That gives the game a broader appeal. Soccer: 1 ball 2 teams Put the ball in the other net No hands
Look for patterns, then generalize: Goals of Design Pokemon's damage multiplier system: DamageMultiplier =weaknessTable(moveType, pokeType) Make the common case fast.
Don't try to get everything perfect on paper: Goals of Design Requires iterative refinement Build prototype that implements the Core Mechanics Test + adjust
Find the right level of detail: Goals of Design Familiar cases / ordinary scenarios can use less detail. The first car to complete 500 laps wins. Unambiguous, but simple. Less familiar cases need more detail. Anything fantasy
Goals of Design Pseudo-code works well when designing Video-game INDUSTRY, not just an art studio.
Core Mechanics Design Revisit earlier design work Look for (and list): Nouns: Likely an entity (class) Verbs: Likely a mechanic Keywords: If/When/Then/Until/As long as All translate into programming terms. May be needed in creating mechanics
Core Mechanics Design What is the player going to do? Your flowboard of the game's structure Your list of gameplay modes and your plans for them General outline of the story you want to tell Characters General plan for each level Victory and loss conditions Non Gameplay actions
Core Mechanics Design What is the player going to do?
Core Mechanics Design What is the player going to do? Build a civilization!
Core Mechanics Design What is the player going to do? Build a civilization! “A game is a series of interesting choices.” -Sir Meier
Core Mechanics Design Economic/Growth choices Spread out with lots of low level cities? Large land mass: more resources more to defend More ability for tech advancements Have fewer but larger cities Smaller land mass less to defend less ability to defend More ability for Culture advancements
Core Mechanics Design Military choices Types of units-Modified Triangle: Strong at 1 particular thing (counter) Weak at other roles. Political choices Ally with someone? Sacrifice military strength for economic advantage? Ravage enemies with less economy/tech, but military strength?
Core Mechanics Design Development choices Where to place new cities: Near the mountains? Little food- slow growth More ability to produce stuff – higher potential, but takes much longer to get there. Near the coast? Less potential to make stuff. Plenty food - quick growth Your Civ might not be able to deal with a city too large too early.
Core Mechanics Design Entities: Each Civilization/Player is its own entity. Within each: Tech Tree Political standing with other players. Each city Each unit Mechanics: Combat system City growth rate Production Rate Researching new techs. Then adding to Tech Tree after completed.)
Core Mechanics Design Your flowboard of the game's structure: Mechanic for keeping track of what state the game is in. Only certain mechanics are available in certain modes. Ex. Loading a saved game only allowed when you're in the menu state
Core Mechanics Design General outline of the story you want to tell: If someone died earlier in the game, and the story reflects that - there's a mechanic that decides which ending the player sees Characters: will likely will be entities.
Core Mechanics Design General plan for each level: You might know what you want to have happen in each level (challenge wise) Challenges might be either an entity: Boss a mechanic: Puzzle
Core Mechanics Design Victory and loss condition: Need to implement a mechanic to check these conditions Non Gameplay actions: Mechanic to: Save the game. Move the camera /dance WoW had dances. THAT needs a mechanic
Core Mechanics Design LIST YOUR ENTITIES AND RESOURCES What does the noun represent? Resource? Independent Entity? Element of another entity? Something Else? If it's an entity, is it simple or compound? If it's compound, what are its components (attributes/other entities)?
Core Mechanics Design ADD THE MECHANICS Reread the designs: Look for somehow s These must be tuned to be precise instructions Mechanics consist of: Relationships Events Processes Conditions
Core Mechanics Design ADD THE MECHANICS Think about resources Must consider: Sources Drains Converters Each of these are mechanics that need to be included
Core Mechanics Design The player somehow gets money The player somehow builds new units The player somehow repairs units using money
Core Mechanics Design The player somehow gets money The player gets some money from captured cities $1000 per city per turn The player somehow builds new units Particular cities (factory/airport/seaport) can build new units The player somehow repairs units using money. At the start of the turn if a unit is sitting on an appropriate type of city it gets some health back 20% per turn at the cost of 20% of its value to buy a new one.
Random Numbers Computed between 0 and 1 then scaled to cover the range needed. To see if an event occurs, a random number is generated and if it's less than the event's probability, the event happens.
Pseudo Random Numbers The random number function takes a value called a “seed” determines the sequence of random numbers the algorithm produces. Identical seeds mean identical numbers. If a seed is used twice, the same “random” value will appear Seed is usually a function of the system clock Usually sufficient enough to keep things random.
Monte Carlo Simulation “Sim game” option in sports games. A weak team may beat a strong team While testing the sim function is run many times Overtime the win/loss record will converge on the appropriate %.