A requirements analysis for videogame design support tools

Mark J. Nelson, Michael Mateas (2009). A requirements analysis for videogame design support tools. In Proceedings of the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, pp. 137–144.


Designing videogames involves weaving together systems of rules, called game mechanics, which support and structure compelling player experiences. Thus a significant portion of game design involves reasoning about the effects of different potential game mechanics on player experience. Unlike some design fields, such as architecture and mechanical design, that have CAD tools to support designers in reasoning about and visualizing designs, game designers have no tools for reasoning about and visualizing systems of game mechanics. In this paper we perform a requirements analysis for design-support tool for game design. We develop a proposal in two phases. First, we review the design-support-system and game-design literatures to arrive at a plausible system that helps designers reason about game mechanics and gameplay. We then refine these requirements in a study of three teams of game designers investigating their current design problems and gauging interest in our tool proposals and reactions to prototype tools. Our study finds that a game design assistant that is able to formally reason about abstract game mechanics would provide significant leverage to designers during multiple stages of the design process.

Back to publications.