This is an amazing essay (at least I thought so) from Gamasutra on how to map out your game so as to see how the mechanics interact with each other, the hope being that it will allow game designers to begin to refine the game design process into more of a science. It's written by Daniel Cook, who writes a superb game design blog at www.lostgarden.com
This is a great (and long) article. (I would object to his Red Herring section on broad terms, but in context of the article it is fair.)
I just mentioned modelling in another thread, so if anyone is wondering what I was talking about, this is a good primer!
Excellent article, thanks for sharing and linking!
I see that is was written in 2007 and that near the end the writer mentions:
Skill chains are a deep topic and we’ve described only the most basics aspects of how they function. Further topics of inquire include:
Use of instrumented skill chains as a tool in iterative development
How skill chains related to traditional interaction design
The role of timing and other reward distribution technique in skill chains
Critiques of common games using skill chains
Limitations of skill chains
Any idea if he ever wrote more about the "Future Topics"?
Dan Cook's blog: http://www.lostgarden.com/
Prepare to lose a day or two reading. =)
His most recent article iterating on the skill atom system, "Loops and Arcs":