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Game Mechanics


Product Description
Product Details

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

About the Author

Ernest Adams is a game design consultant, teacher, and the author of the classic Fundamentals of Game Design, Second Edition, the companion volume to this title. He has worked in the game industry for 23 years, eight of them at Electronic Arts. He is also the founder and first chairman of the International Game Developers' Association. His professional web site is at

Joris Dormans (PhD) is a game design lecturer and researcher based in Amsterdam with eight years of experience in higher education. For the past four years he has been researching formal tools and methods to design game mechanics. As an independent, freelance game designer he published and worked on several video games and board games, including story-driven adventure games, physical platform games, and a satirical political card game. His professional web site is at

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