Mechanics in Games
The mechanics are essentially the rules and procedures of a game, in which they guide the player and how the game responds to the player’s moves or actions. These mechanics may often be taught to the player through gameplay, or explicitly stated through dialogue or text otherwise.
“Through the mechanics you create, you define how the game is going to work for the people who play it.”
Sharon Boller, 2013
You generally want these mechanics to be clear, and to enhance the experience of your game. It is with utmost importance that you think of the mechanics of your game before development via prototyping as they are a critical component of good game design, although they may not be perfect at first so you’ll have to test and tweak it as time goes.
Before starting development on a game, it is important to create a short prototype of your mechanic to make sure it works. You can also plan this out beforehand with flowcharts to understand how your code will work alongside it better.
As shown in Figure 1, this is a simple flowchart representation of the game flow in ‘Rock, Paper and Scissors’. This shows how the mechanics of the game will work and how they’re connected, as well as what causes a win and lose condition.
Our prototypes in class will be tested by each other as well, we’ll be making use out of these test results to determine how our prototype performed and what necessary changes are needed to improve the usability and interaction of our mechanic.
What I’m set out to achieve is that I am interested in developing a simple arcade game alongside the likes of ‘Space Invaders’. Typically many of these arcade games from years ago had focused primarily on a single mechanic, which should be a reasonable goal to aim for.
“The basic mechanics of play for the Space Invaders genre are fairly simple: move your laser base left or right along the bottom of the screen and shoot the endless waves of aliens descending towards you.”
As shown in Figure 2, the main goal of my prototype is to make a game that has simple controls and mechanics that the player will be able to pick up on the fly. I plan on doing this by just using the mouse to control the player.
The mechanics in my prototype will be quite simple, the player will be able to move a spaceship up and down using the mouse, this will simply follow only the Y coordinates of the mouse, whilst being at the same X coordinates – The player will also be able to shoot by using left click, this can be used against the enemies.
Enemies will only appear from the right of the screen at a random position and head towards the player, you will be able to avoid and both shoot these enemies with the movement and mechanics provided.
Depending on player feedback towards how the prototype performs, I intend for it to be relatively easy to understand but will add changes to the controls and difficulty if necessary.
Boller, S., 2013. Learning Game Design: Game Mechanics | Knowledge Guru. [online] Knowledge Guru. Available at: <http://www.theknowledgeguru.com/learning-game-design-mechanics/> [Accessed 28 October 2020].
O’Reilly Online Learning. 2020. Practical Game Design. [online] Available at: <https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/practical-game-design/9781787121799/b3322c72-3fbc-4407-be07-0abc2ca5070b.xhtml> [Accessed 28 October 2020].
Arcade Club. 2020. Space Invaders. [online] Available at: <https://www.arcadeclub.co.uk/games/space-invaders/> [Accessed 28 October 2020].