Locations   Program   Online Learning   Who We Are   Blog   Careers   Contact

E-Line Media, April 15 2020

The April 2020 Game Making Challenge: Core Mechanic

Hey, game makers! We're two weeks into April, which means you should be well on your way to developing a core mechanic for the game you're building for the game making challenge we're hosting throughout the month. Read this post to check whether you're on the right track

What is a Mechanic?

First, make sure you know what a mechanic is.

In game making, when we say mechanic, we're not talking about someone who fixes cars! What we mean is the thing you do when you play the game.

Mechanics are things like running, jumping, attacking, building, or crafting. They are always verbs. And they always give the player something to do. Without mechanics, a game is more like a movie.

Mechanics are things like running, jumping, attacking, building, or crafting. They are always verbs. And they always give the player something to do. Without mechanics, a game is more like a movie.

Core Mechanic(s)

When we talk about "core mechanic" we are asking, What is the main thing a player can do in your game?

Check out the video below. In this video, Make Room! Instructor Natalie discusses a creating and pitching game concept for the April 2020 challenge.

In the game Natalie describes there are two core mechanics: clicking on flowers and moving. These are the things the player can do while playing this game.

Note that Natalie decided what these core mechanics were before starting to create a prototype! That's because they're very important.

Implementation

Once you know what the player can do in your game, and have your basic prototype set up, it's time to implement your core mechanic. In some cases, your player controller may already come with what you need.

If you were creating a game like Dante's Infernya, for example, the cat player controller we built for you already comes with your core mechanics. The cat can walk, jump, and attack objects in the room.

If your game is more unique, we suggest making a list of tasks so as to implement your mechanic(s).

Check out the implementation depicted in the image at left. In this prototype by studio member Emmi, the core mechanics are running, and throwing exploding toilet paper. 😂

Emmi has used a pre-built player controller that can already run, so that's done. Now here's an example list of development tasks to implement toilet paper throwing.

Once this system is working, it's possible to add more fun, such as explosions, sounds, and having toilet paper damage enemies when they are hit.

What's Next

By April 30, your goal is to submit a working video game that responds to the "Alone Together" challenge. So it might be helpful to know exactly what a game is. Read our post on what makes a game...a game for more details! 

As you will see, in addition to a core mechanic, a game also requires challenges to be considered a game. It's time to start thinking about the challenges you want your player to face!

Written by

E-Line Media

Previous The Spring 2020 Video Game Design @ EdAlliance Digital Showcase
Next What Makes a Game...a Game?