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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperDesignHigh Level Gameplay Mechanics
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marcAKAmarc
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« on: August 23, 2021, 08:42:41 AM »

I have a design for the lower-level / core gameplay mechanics of a game, and a prototype for them.  They feel pretty good.  However, I am struggling to see "the bigger picture" and want to avoid making a game that is just a collection of levels.  Can anyone point me to a knowledge base of high-level gameplay mechanics?  Does anything like that exist?  Does anyone have any tips for designing at this level?

Any advice greatly appreciated!
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2021, 05:17:46 PM »

There are a lot of examples of games that introduce "meta games" about unlocking some sort of narrative choices based on your progress in the game's levels. It would help to get more info on your project if you want me to pitch ideas to you.
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Koffi Duck
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2021, 06:23:51 AM »

Any kind of knowledge needed to be able to achieve this is fundamentals about design and about your game.

To get to the point of your problem - you can't figure out how to dig deeper into your games, or basically it doesn't have the amount of "depth" and "complexity" you would like it to be. To be able to solve this, first, you must know fundamentally what [depth] and [complexity] is.
To define this [depth] and [complexity] that you desire, we can describe it as this: "How many options/tools you have and how much you can do with those options/tools" or the number of decisions the player has [complexity], and the weight those decisions have on the rest of the game [depth].

 --- An example of this would be Worms "Ninja Rope/Grappling Hook" mechanic.
Worms has as its main focus the movement and management of troops. The "Ninja Rope/Grappling Hook" is quite a powerful weapon because at low and high levels of play, the positioning of troops can be used offensively and defensively, how effective that offense and defense is depends on the skill level of the player controlling it, because the system of this mechanic is more complex than it seems at first glance, it depends a lot on the mometum of the rope and timing of the player.

The game focuses on [Movement and Positioning].
One of its high-level gameplay mechanics is the "Ninja Rope/Grappling Hook". This mechanic has a system that makes it have a level of [Complexity] that has a very [depth] of use in the game, because how it affects the focus of the game. ---

In order to achieve [depth] and [complexity] to create high-level gameplay mechanics you must have a [FOCUS] in your game. with a [FOCUS] everything is contextualized (gains meaning) in how those mechanics tie into the rest of the game systems (what the game can and cannot do).
Now you need to put a limit, a comparison so that the player can differentiate between something very powerful (can influence the game on a large scale) and something very weak (the opposite). This creates your [LEVEL]. Based on this level you have created you can now create mechanics with a certain type of level. YOU don't want a mechanic with a high [LEVEL] that anyone can use, in short it makes it OP and breaks the game. What you want is that the player manages to reach that [LEVEL] with his cognitive, motor and sensory abilities. You create the rules of that mechanic taking into account its [LEVEL] and the [FOCUS] of your game and look at that, you have your own High-Level GameplayⒸ Mechanic™

Another example that is very complex with a lot of depth would be charge partitioning in 3rd strike, I would recommend doing some research on it, it teaches you a lot about how creating this type of High-Level GameplayⒸ Mechanics™ has 2 types of uses, to create problems and to solve problems in your game.

And this is very important!!! because even if you want to add High-Level GameplayⒸ Mechanics™ for the sake of creating more [complexity] and [depth] (WHICH IS OK DON'T GET ME WRONG) they can also be used as another solution to your game problems.
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J-Snake
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2021, 11:44:33 AM »

I have a design for the lower-level / core gameplay mechanics of a game, and a prototype for them.  They feel pretty good.
Good. Stop right there before going any further. Are you able to produce a noteworthy collection of puzzles out of that? Yes, I am asking you to first do the thing you try to avoid, a collection of levels. This is important for two reasons.

1. To verify/explore the potential of the gameplay-mechanics.

2. To shape a profound understanding about puzzle design. This can already be obtained by concentrating on a collection of levels, as the principles remain the same, regardles to which level you apply them.

People who struggle with high-level puzzle design are those who don't understand low-level either. So I strongly advise to get experienced with point 2 first, as suggested. I actually consider to provide a formal introduction to puzzle-theory which I developed along the way, when I get to it. That will reveal the possible structure and properties of puzzles. And that will empower your creativity indefinitely, as it will profoundly help you to recognize the structure behind the most crazy things.

I previously only released games to the public which are essentially just a collection of puzzles. And I now leverage my knowledge to create a grand organic adventure about AI-revolution. From an abstract high-level perspective, it's still a (giant) puzzle with various interlocked subsystems.
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