Sponsored By

Game Design Principles Express

In order for a game to be considered a game it must have the 10 GDP's(Game Design principles). They are Resource, Player Interaction, Choice, Complexity, Goals, Randomness, Balance, Rewards, Fun, and Innovation.

Game Developer, Staff

September 15, 2010

5 Min Read

             When we play games sometimes we may not see the actual mechanics behind them. But if a mechanic was taken away we probably would notice. The 10 GDP's are practical game mechanics that make a game. Having all of these mechanics in your game will make it that much more interesting. I will discuss the 10 basic mechanics a game should have.



               Almost every game has a rescource. Wether it be health, lives, coins, points, armor, weapons, mining plants, etc. Rescources are things the player has to keep track of, manage, and or trade. Rescources are the supply of the game. Making certain rescources scarce can make the players make intersting descisions.



Player Interaction

Player interaction is more prevalent in multiplayer games. Player interaction is communication between players, rules between players, Competition between players, etc. If your game is multiplayer make sure their is great player interaction, and that all players are socializing within the game. The wii is very well known for great player interaction. Just don't throw the wii mote at the t.v people.






This is where it gets messy. All players and i repeat all players want choice in the games they play.  When players are confined to a very strict way of playing a game then they will not be as satisfied as a person who has alot of choices. Each player should be able to make descisions that have a positive and negative outcome. Players should be able to use skill to win. Having a game rely on randomness is not the way to go. We will speak about randomness later on because it has its place aswell. But a player should be able to make choices, use skill, and strategize in his or her own way.






Is your game to easy? Having complexity in your game will keep players busy. No one wants to just win all the itme with little to no effort. make sure the complexity of the game is tailored for your target audience. This is where easy, medium, and hard mode came from. No one wants to get destroyed everytime either so be concious about how your mechanics add to your game and make it easier or harder.





Goals are a great way of engaging the player in our content. Giving them rules to follow and objectives to complete gives them a sense of value. Having clear end game scenarios or completion requirements are what will make your game coherent.






Skill is really what makes a game interesting but randomness tests the players reaction. A player needs to be prepared for what ever random scenario arises at all times. This can come in a form of random enemy respawn's, random player respwn points, random enemy ai etc. A player must be able to form a strategy on what ever happens. Random is always good but add too much and your game will become unfair and chaotic.





Balance is very very crucial. All players want to be treated equal. When a player has an upper hand on another player they say that(blank) is imba.(Imbalanced). The blank can be a weapon, vehicle, class, character, etc. All players should have an equal opportunity to win the game. This can be a hard task. World of warcraft is a good example of this. So is counter strike. Game designers get so caught up in extra perks that they forget about the ones that already exist. Focus on balance peace by peace. Level by level. Class by class. Losing to an equally matched player feels better than getting owned by someone that out gears you. 





Rewards are more than just getting something. A reward can give players positive and negative feedback. For example in mario kart wii the reward for being in first place is that you have a chance to win. But the downfall is you get terrible items like the bannan, and mayabe a green shell. The reward for being in dead last is that you get awesome powerups. The bullet is one of the best. This is reward balance. Players should have a reward atleast for trying and a reward for winning.





A fun game should be the priority of the game designer. Without fun a game is made in vain. We all remember those fun moments in the legend of zelda, crash bandicoot, mario, pac-man etc. Those where the moements that got us in the art and business of making games in the first palce. We need to keep fun ahead of all the rest before we come up with all other sort of ideas. we have to make sure the player is continually involved in the game. Players must be satisfied throuout the whole process of the game. Even when the player loses, there should be a sense of hope and joy in the next play session.






Ive talked about 9 GDP"s and how they make a game great. But the last GDP is the deal breaker. If you have innovation you can come up with your own game mechanics. You can come up with new ai systems, new game strategies, new player interation, etc. Your games should show some sort of innovative idea no one has thought about or dared to dabble into. Your games should provide a unique way to play and should challenge users.


Read more about:

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like