For this brand new Game Mechanics Study, we’ll focus on Resources and their important role in a game. How do you handle resources in your game ? How can a player fully understand what are the most valuable ones and their links ?
When thinking about Resources in Game Design, one would automatically mentions RTS (Real Time Strategy) Games, because they tend to have large and complex internal economies and handling resources (troops, buildings, materials) is identified as the most important skill to acquire strategical advantages.
But aren’t all games about well handling resources ?
Play the Interactive Study Here : https://loganou974.itch.io/gms-8-challenge
In this study, the only choice of limiting ammunitions had a drastic influence on the challenge. Because the remaining ammo will be your final score, in the eye of the player, they become the most valuable resource in the game.
Therefore, we could say that Ammunitions have a strong endogenous value (Schell, Art of Game Design).
For example, let’s think about Sonic’s rings system :
- Rings represent your current health, so having more rings lead to more chance of surviving the level
- Ring possession is tenuous: If you’re not carefully enough, a single hit can leave you without any rings left
- 100 Rings add one additional life : in an old school game without Load/Save System, more lives means a better chance to finish the game, the biggest reward ever.
Let’s get back to our little prototype.
It’s all about Bullets, baby !
The player will have to count on his precision skill to spare a maximum of bullets. One enemy will drop 3 ammo, then if you « spend » more than that number on killing an enemy, you will quickly run out of bullets.
Moreover, bullets pass through the enemies, which means you can kill multiple ones with just one ammo. If the players combine these informations, he will understand that he will have to move and shoot (the only two actions he have) in a specific time and space to line up enemies and spare bullets.
This strategy can only be used if the players understand every information we’ve just mentionned before. Therefore, the game feedbacks have to be as clear as possible, otherwise players won’t understand how to beat the game.
Finally, to achieve a well-balanced game economy, you will have to clearly identify the resource flow (Sources, Drainers, Converters, Traders).
For a better understanding of these concepts, I would highly recommend reading Advanced Game Mechanics (Joris Dormans), Chapter Internal Economy for that matter.