Video game designers iteratively improve player experience by play testing game software and adjusting its design. Deciding how to improve gameplay is difficult and time-consuming because designers lack an effective means for exploring decision alternatives and modifying a game’s mechanics. We aim to improve designer productivity and game quality by providing tools that speed-up the game design process. In particular, we wish to learn how patterns encoding common game design knowledge can help to improve design tools. Micro-Machinations (MM) is a language and software library that enables game designers to modify a game’s mechanics at run-time. We propose a pattern-based approach for leveraging high-level design knowledge and facilitating the game design process with a game design assistant. We present the Mechanics Pattern Language (MPL) for encoding common MM structures and design intent, and a Mechanics Design Assistant (MeDeA) for analyzing, explaining and understanding existing mechanics, and generating, filtering, exploring and applying design alternatives for modifying mechanics. We implement MPL and MeDeA using the meta-programming language Rascal, and evaluate them by modifying the mechanics of a prototype of Johnny Jetstream, a 2D shooter developed at IC3D Media.
game mechanics, game design, micro-machinations, pattern-based, design assistant
Software (theme 1)
Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games
Foundations of Digital Games
at Asilomar Conference Grounds
Software Analysis and Transformation

van Rozen, R.A. (2015). A Pattern-Based Game Mechanics Design Assistant. In Proceedings of Foundations of Digital Games 2015 (FDG 2015). Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games.