Can you create a practical technique for game design? In this exclusive Gamasutra feature
, acclaimed Lost Garden designer Daniel Cook explains how the proper ingredients, when combined with a working psychological model of the player, can make for great games.
In the following excerpt, Cook draws a comparison between the ancient practice of alchemy and its more modern equivalent of chemistry as a model for evolution in game design:
“Historically, the process of understanding games has been limited by numerous factors ranging from messy experimental practices, spiritual reliance on untested theories of play, and confused terminology. We are still alchemists of our trade, mixing two parts impure story with one part polluted game play with three parts market voodoo.
As an industry, we need to beyond the mystical hand waving that defines modern game design. It is now possible to craft, test and refine practical models of game design built from observable patterns of play. We can describe what the player does and how the game reacts. Recently, we’ve begun to crack open why players react to certain stimuli and are able to create models that predict pleasure and frustration.”
You can now read the complete feature
, which includes an extensive, in-depth look at game design principles, alongside several helpful visual aids describing concepts such as “skill atoms,” “skill chains,” and “Burnout” (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).