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  • Gameplay Deconstruction: Elements and Layers

    - Paolo Tajč
  •  Introduction

    With this article I want to suggest a new way to analyze gameplay and game dynamics, using a visual diagram, easy to create and read.

    In the last years many articles have been written with the aim of carrying out a precise gameplay analysis (e.g. MDA Framework or Game design patterns), but no one managed to present a brief and accessible method to represent and communicate their results.

    My analysis (called in brief GD:EL) rests upon a decomposition of fundamental gameplay elements and a subsequent reconstruction within an ordered structure founded on layers. The ultimate aim of this process is to understand how game tokens, dynamics and player psychology are linked together.

    I will not talk about game mechanics, since this is not a static analysis, but a dynamic one; there are obviously connections between game mechanics (and rules) and dynamics, but this method won't try to explain them, because of their inherently complexity.

    In order to simplify comparisons between different games we have to use a common vocabulary, abstracting from game setting, from level design, from story, from graphics... from everything but gameplay.

    Here's an example diagram:

    What do these abbreviations mean? How can you read the diagram? How can you use it? Read ahead!


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