Today I discovered Machinations thanks to this excellent Gamasutra article. On Machinations Wiki we can read that: "Machinations is a theoretical framework and an interactive, dynamic, graphical representation that describes games as dynamic systems and focuses on closed feedback loops within them. The intention is to find a way to express and investigate (recurrent) game structures methodologically. Machinations offers a new lens on the intuitive and delicate practice of game design and balancing. (...)". The tool is part of a PhD thesis by Joris Dormans, and it's lovely.
As my first experiment I tried to re-create a simple RPG game, at the macro level. In this abstract game diagram you can : kill enemies, level up, upgrade your stuff, die and revive, and trade gold for health.
Please note that Machinations was not created to play games, but to discuss game design and prototype game mechanics. So you might find yourself a bit lost when trying to play this :)
Anyway, to play this abstract RPG game diagram, just clic on the Run (R) button on the bottom left corner :)
This diagram includes the following concepts :
- Killing monsters generates Experience and Gold
- Killing monsters have a chance to generate damage, which lower the health
- When health reaches 0 (or damage reaches 3), player dies, only option is revive which applies an experience penalty (equal to 20% of required exp to level up)
- Experience can be used to Level Up, Gold can be used to Upgrade Stuff
- Leveling Up and Upgrading the Stuff modify the global difficulty which is the % chance of getting damaged when killing an enemy. Leveling Up adds 1.3%, Upgrading Stuff removes 1.0%.
- It's possible to buy health at the cost of some gold.
- Each time you Level Up, the amount of Experience and Gold that is rewarded per kill increases, global difficulty increase (% chance to take damage), amount of gold needed to buy health increase, amount of experience to level increase, and experience penalty on death increase.
Right now the game mechanics can be abused because it's possible to stack health, but I left this "exploit" as a feature because it lets good players finish the game with no death at all, and I thought it was a fun way to master this little experiment :)
Really enjoyed using the tool, thank you Joris for making such a great software!