Skip to Content

What are the hardest mechanics to design for you?

12 replies [Last post]
wineaholic
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2013

What do you find most difficult mechanics-wise when making a game? The board, the actions, combat, etc.?
Or what were the most difficult mechanics for you to get working in any game you've made so far?

I've been working on battle mechanics, and this always seems the most difficult part of making a game to me (for games with battles anyhow). It's hard to keep everything balanced and fair, yet allow strategy and getting the upper hand at the same time. I always liked the idea of special abilities too, but find it's almost more trouble than it's worth...(but I still try...) My desire for variety in types of units and their abilities tends to get the best of me.

I don't need help (yet!) I guess I'm just curious. :)
Any stories? Something you wanted to make work, but just didn't, or a mechanic you came up with to solve a problem in your game?

X3M
X3M's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/28/2013
Al right then, When I changed

Al right then,

When I changed the board mechanics just a little bit for my war game:

I somehow had the feeling something was not right with some units. I didn't want to use them in the game any more at a certain point. Yet I want every possible unit to be useful. Turns out, in a previous version. Range of the weapon meant protection for the unit, even if it was a weapon of 0 damage. In the new mechanics, it was still calculated as expensive, while this unit could be shot anyway.

I had to change the balancing formula.
Had to add new statistics for the units for better balancing.
Since I don't have much time. It took about 2 months. Now I am back where I left. Some designs have been altered drastically. And I am lucky that I only started on mission 1. Where statistics are going to be very important for the "puzzle" play.

This was very very hard for me to do. Since I used the same formula for over 10 years.

I guess, blinded by "im"perfection.

zmobie
zmobie's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2008
Systems and Sub-systems

For me, I find it very easy to come up with novel and interesting mechanics for subsystems of a game, but hard to figure out where to slot this subsystem into a larger game.

For example, I'm working on a head to head Kung Fu card game. I have the system for playing cards back and forth for the fight pretty much perfected... but the results of these encounters need to input into a larger system of fighting, upgrading your fighting style, etc. The game, as it is, feels like half a game... a very polished and actually pretty fun half of a game... but it's just missing some overarching thing that ties fights together somehow.

Another game I'm working on is a weird set-collection sequence matching mechanic. It's really neat and fun. Each card has a sequence on it, and if you can make the sequence in play, you can play a card to draw the cards in that sequence... then if you can discard a sequence, you can 'activate' a card. I have no idea to what end you would be activating these things though. Like I said before, this subsystem is neat, but I can't figure out how to fit it into a bigger picture.

Kroz1776
Offline
Joined: 10/09/2013
Balancing

For me, balancing is the hardest part of designing. Coming up with ideas, rules, mechanics and such aren't as hard as making sure everything is balanced and making sure that there isn't only one way to win a game.

Traz
Traz's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/06/2009
minimalism

Abstract games are the hardest for me. My 'retirement' game [if I ever get it published I will probably be able to retire on it] is in the classic mode [Chess/Checkers/Backgammon]. That means easy rules, simple board, and simple pieces.

It was the hardest design I ever made - minimalism is HARD! EVERYTHING you do or change affects EVERYTHING and forces you to re-evaluate the entire project.

In larger designs, odd mechanics can be added or removed to enhance the game [make it a bit more/less complex or just shorten or lengthen the game, for example]. But in minimalist designs, you can't get away with stuff like that.

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
For me...

I find what is usually harder to *master* is various forms of combat resolution. So combat mechanics is usually *tough* to get it done right.

I have already *scrapped* a game because the combat mechanic sucked! :P

I could have played around with the concept some more - but the game didn't have the potential I was looking for...

However when I design a game, I like to start with NO constraints and just think about the theme and work from there... I'm not the kind of designer that can compete in Game Design Showdowns - because I work from a different perspective. Usually I have an *idea* of what I want the game to be like (for players) and then I take the theme and work with the *vision* I have in my mind of the game.

larienna
larienna's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
My biggest challenge is to

My biggest challenge is to find the right mechanic for my game. This is why I rather "shop" for a mechanic by combining various elements borrowed from other games rather than designing something new by myself.

McTeddy
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2012
My problem is polishing.

My problem is polishing.

I'm darn good at designing mechanics and creating a fun game. While balancing said game is tricky, I can usually get to a reasonably balanced stage without too much trouble. I have alot of experience and I'm very good at making a gane,

But what kills my own games is that they don't look good. I struggle with creating beautiful well-written rule books, great card designs, and I have zero art talent for art. Without decent polish it's a chore to get other people to even look at a game.

The entire final step of making a game look good frustrates me to no end. Mechanical design is my thing and this artsy final stage kills me.

lewpuls
lewpuls's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/04/2009
What artsy final stage?

What artsy final stage? Publishers don't expect a prototype to look like a published game. They'll do it their way, anyway. Just skip the beauty stage. You only need to make the game look decent enough that people will playtest it. (And enough to show a publisher that you cared. No more hand-drawn stuff, I'm afraid, use a computer.) That doesn't require artistry.

Kroz1776
Offline
Joined: 10/09/2013
Self-Publishing

lewpuls wrote:
What artsy final stage? Publishers don't expect a prototype to look like a published game. They'll do it their way, anyway. Just skip the beauty stage. You only need to make the game look decent enough that people will playtest it. (And enough to show a publisher that you cared. No more hand-drawn stuff, I'm afraid, use a computer.) That doesn't require artistry.

If you're self publishing, then he could have problems with this. If not, then you're 100% right.

McTeddy
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2012
@Lewpuls That's actually

@Lewpuls
That's actually what I've been doing. It's nice to let the publishers handle the boring side of game development while I just focus on making games again. It's given me far better results than my former attempts at indy game development.

One of these days though I would like to move into self-publishing. It's just a matter of slowly improving my skills until I reach that level.

questccg
questccg's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/16/2011
I like designing artwork

McTeddy wrote:
...It's nice to let the publishers handle the boring side of game development while I just focus on making games again.

Personally I find working in tandem with an artist is part of the process for me. I want to have input as to HOW the cards will look. And of course I have constraints such as thinking about what the artwork needs to look like.

For example, in my current game (WIP), I have 5 different classes of starships. The smallest class, utility starship, should be the smallest size and have a crew of 5 to 10 members. If you compare this with the largest, most powerful class, the Destroyer, that class of starship should have around 1,000 members. And so I want my artist to understand those kind of details that are IN THE GAME, just more subtly.

This means that card design (artwork) is part of what I want the game to be (in the end). I hope my Kickstarter for "Tradewars - Homeworld" is successful because I can't wait to get down to designing the complete look of my game.

But that's my preference! :)

knightshade
knightshade's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/08/2013
stats

My biggest issue with war/battle type games are stats for characters.
-how will they be incorporated
-will they be damage? Number of dice? Number of attacks?
-how will buffs work while keeping things "fair" and not overly powerful
-what determines stats: preset+modifiers, semi static, or will other players be able to change the base stats
-will the sum of some stats combine to form a subsystem of stats
-how many is enough or too many

In my game "Knightshade" I have a stat "block" that is semi static because of weapon/equipment modifiers. I also want there to be a bonus for having matching items. So I have stacked buffs that affect the player's stats pretty greatly. But I also want the stat block to determine the defense of certain areas of the player's body for wounds. So my stats affect movement, attack, defense, but also directly correlate to the wounds and overall health of the character.
One number determines so many things that if I can get it right,it will be streamlined and 9 numbers will determine everything. But if i mess it up, it can be broken and taken advantage of.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut