Assignment 2 - Diagramming Core Gameplay

PolyLearn Assignment Page

This assignment is due on Wednesday 4/18.

From Game Design Workshop pg. 189.

The exercise from the book is below.

Exercise 7.7: Diagramming Core Gameplay 1

Choose two games that you know, write a short description of their core gameplay, and then sketch a visualization of it.

If you’re wondering what I’m looking for in terms of diagrams, look at Figures 7.10 and 7.11 in the book, around the same page as the exercise. These are perfect examples of a good gameplay diagram.

core gameplay 1

core gameplay 2

There are also a few student examples as the end of my Iterative Prototyping lecture.

Also consider what the author has to say about core gameplay:

The core gameplay mechanism, or “core mechanic,” can be defined as the actions that a player repeats most often while striving to achieve the game’s overall goal. Games are repetitive by nature. While the meaning and consequences of what a player does can change over the course of game, the core actions tend to remain the same from beginning to end. Figure 7.10 is a visualized analysis comparing the core actions of Spider-Man 2 with True Crime that was done by Jeff Chen, Game Analyst, and Carl Schnurr, Senior Director of Game Design, both at Activision. As you can see, player actions in these diagrams are interrelated with meters and rewards. In the case of Spider-Man 2, challenges, exploration, and rewards all translate into points that can be spent in the Spidey Store to buy upgrades, combos, health, etc. This is a very simple reward system that will motivate players to look out for opportunities to gain points. If you look at the diagram for True Crime, you can see it is a much more complex design. The player activities pay off in multiple forms of rewards, and these rewards and meters in turn have an aff ect on the overall world system. It should be noted that more complex designs do not always make for a better player experience.

Keep your short descriptions of the core gameplay short. I want a one sentence description. Look at how the author describes WarCraft, Monopoly, etc. on pg. 189.

WarCraft: Players build and move units on a map in real time with the intent of opposing units in combat and destroying them.

Monopoly: Players buy and improve properties with the goal of charging rent to other players who land on them in the course of play.

Diablo: Players battle monsters, seek treasure, and explore dungeons in an attempt to amass wealth and become more powerful.

Super Mario Bros.: A player controls Mario (or Luigi), making him walk, run, and jump, while avoiding traps, overcoming obstacles, and gathering treasure.

This is the level of detail that I want.


Since I am asking for a sketch, I’ll let you submit it a number of ways.

Similarly, you can choose to submit your short descriptions either as raw text on polylearn, an attachment, or on paper.

Submit your responses to the assignment on PolyLearn, link at the top of this page.

Can’t Think of a Game?

If you can’t think of a game or two to write about, don’t buy one. Just play some of these free online games:

You don’t need to beat the games or play them a lot - you just need to be able to diagram the core mechanics of the game.