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Designing New Mechanics

Designing New Mechanics

Where do you start when making a new mechanic for your game? Lately, I’ve been looking at games I enjoy and want to emulate in tone, design, or mechanically. This helps as a starting point for me instead of trying to come up with some brand new idea that has never been done before, and chances are it has. In my last post, I talked about Outer Wilds and looked at the movement system in that game as reference for the movement system in the game I am working on at Radlyn Games. This post, I’ll be taking a look at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, specifically the Gwent mini-game, and how it has inspired a new mechanic in my game.

Gwent is one of the best mini-games ever made. Everyone I've seen play The Witcher 3 says they are addicted to playing Gwent. It is a masterful mini-game. It is completely optional, but it can take over your entire playthrough if you want. It permeates the entire game, so you constantly feel like you are either making progress (generally in the form of collecting cards) or are actually playing it. The new mechanic I am designing is much more than a mini-game. It will end up being one of the activities the player does the most throughout the game. I want it to be an activity the player enjoys engaging with and wants to get better at, just like Gwent.

The preliminary name for the mechanic I am designing is “The Nexus”. The player will discover “programs” along their journey that they can deploy against a malicious virus while in the Nexus. These programs are analogous to cards, they will each have their own effects and strategy. The player has to breach the virus’ firewalls and then duel it using the programs. The biggest design challenge comes from these programs. How many are there? What can they do? How does the player acquire them? These are all things I am still working on. Gwent inspired me enough to get to where I am and set me down a path that I otherwise may not have found.

Until next time!