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What is the Source of “Fun” in Game Mechanics?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by S_Darkwell, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Gigiwoo


    Mar 16, 2011
    "Danger, Danger Will Robbins" ... Is that reference too old? The ability to concentrate is the fourth ingredient of flow (aka engagement). And distractions can destroy that process. So, as the robot said, 'Danger.'

    PS - Distraction & Flow discussed here - With pictures.

    AndrewGrayGames likes this.
  2. RockoDyne


    Apr 10, 2014
    Your mileage may vary significantly. A lot of this depends on what the player's primary focus is. If the player's focus is on exploration at the moment, then it's not a distraction to have curiosities off the beaten path. If anything, it's rewarding this type of player behavior, but this requires understanding what conditions bring about this player state. You need to understand that it comes out on downbeats, during tension-less moments, otherwise you need to counterbalance risk/reward.
    Gigiwoo, AndrewGrayGames and Martin_H like this.
  3. ShokeR0


    Feb 24, 2016
    Firing the flare gun in alan wake is not fun.
    I think you misunderstand the concept of fun.
    Fun is not necessary a specific game mechanic. It is a collection of game mechanics that makes a game fun.
  4. ryschawy


    Jul 28, 2012
    Sounds like you're saying: Music is more than the sum of its parts.
    I like you're statement.
    It surely is a philosophical question what fun is. We know when we have fun, but it's almost impossible to define it. And we don't want to, since that would destroy a big part of it.
    Game genres seem to group people together who need specific mechanics to be present to have fun playing the game. That fact makes it even harder for us to create new games for large groups of people as discussed in 'The Abstraction Of Skill In Game Design':
    Still we love to discuss the specific mechanics used in specific situations. I think this will help us to get creative when we ask ourselves next time what parts we want to put together.
    Gigiwoo likes this.
  5. BingoBob


    Feb 26, 2016
    I've seen it mentioned a lot here but will definitely reiterate. being successful will release endorphins.
    I remember reading an article ages ago about how games that have breakable crates are the most addicting.
    I think there are a couple ways I've seen this implemented.
    1) A ton of tiny little success all in a row like Clicker games
    2) make something more challenging then when they succeed it feels like a bigger victory. this is why some leveling games will throw you up against a boss in the story line that is too hard at first and requires you to go grind before you can beet it. it's a clever illusion.

    Define your success. What milestones do you want your player to achieve? and make sure they happen often enough.

    and slightly unrelated advice. Don't sacrifice immersion for realism. ie.. i've played some FPS games that threw in gun kick back to make it more realistic, but that wasn't the correct kind of challenge for that game. (not saying all gun kickback is bad. it just wasn't right for that game)
  6. Kiwasi


    Dec 5, 2013
    Finally found my monocle. I'm not too late to join in?

    I think the engagement in games drops back to the core experience. And that core experience can vary dramatically from game to game. Even if the mechanics are almost identical. Often specific mechanics don't matter as much as the core experience.

    Take portal and halo. The mechanics are very similar. In both games you play a first person shooter. You attempt to find the best place to shoot each level to accomplish the goals. Yet both games have a totally different core experience.

    Good games are ones where the mechanics support the core experience.

    Depending on what experience I'm after, I play a wide variety of games.

    Being awesome and in control: I'll play shooters like Halo. There is nothing that the enemies can do that knocks me back more then 30 seconds. And I get to kill them by the thousands.

    Accomplishment: I'll play something like KSP or Civ or Supreme commander. Learning the game systems and beating them is fun.

    Exploration: Games like Skyrim scratch this itch.

    I haven't really got into the experience type games like papers please or the horror genre. For this sort of thing I prefer the distance of a book.