Objective Driven Gameplay

Games are driven by decisions, and decisions are based upon goals. Players know what their goals are, and make decisions that they think will most effectively accomplish those goals.

This seems like a self-evident fundamental of gameplay, but it can easily get lost in the mechanics of the game if the designer loses focus. To prevent their games from losing pace, designers must focus on how players think and how they can utilize this knowledge to improve their game designs. Most of this article will focus on strategic games with a high degree of player control (such as wargames, eurogames, and adventure games), but many kinds of games can benefit from this analysis.

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What is Fun?

Many times when I talk about mechanics or game design or game theory, the knee-jerk response is “but how does this make a game fun?” And isn’t that the whole point? If we can’t make a game more fun, then all the other tools are useless.

So in this article, I’ll sum up my thoughts on fun–what it is, where it comes from, and how we can use the tools we have as game designers to create more of it in the world.

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