thread: 2005-05-10 : How Do You Design a Mechanic?

On 2005-05-12, Neel wrote:

Shoot, I’m commenting on a total side-issue. Anyway, this bit:

Meanwhile, the point is: if you want to design a mechanic out of a keyword, think about the keyword in player terms, not in character or setting terms. totally vital. The question a game designer should be asking is: what are the decisions the player is making—what tradeoffs need they consider? This is what distinguishes a meaningful subsystem from tedious bookkeeping.

Concretely, writing a computer program involves lots of choice, but rolling on a Computer Programming skill doesn’t require any. If you want hacking to be central to the game, you can’t just require lots and lots of Computer Programming rolls; you need the player to be able to make decisions (which need not correspond to character decisions) that can affect the way things turn out.


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