Want to make creations as awesome as this one?


Welcome to Game Design!
  • Check your audio
  • Answer the question
  • Class will begin at 12:42

Without looking: How many people and how long did it take for Mortal Kombat to be developed?

MK was developed in 10 months by a team of 4! It didn't even have a name until 6 months into devleopment!
Classroom Expectations
  • Communicate
  • Participate
  • Be Kind!

Game Design 1A2.1.2. Design Elements in a Game

What is the Plan?


  • closed system
  • context of play
  • cultural system
  • experiential system
  • open system
  • system

Lesson Objectives:

  • describe the concept of a game as a system
  • analyze the role of the key elements of a game system
  • explain the interactions between a game's formal, experiential, and cultural qualities

Have you ever been on a team?What part did you play?

A set of elements that interact with one another to form an integrated game. What is a non-video game system?


As systems, games provide contexts for interaction, which can be spaces, objects, or behaviors that players explore, manipulate, and inhabit.
  • Open systems
  • Closed Systems

Two Categories of Systems:

Systems that can take input from the environment and provide output to the environment. Most real-world systems are open systems.

Open Systems:

Systems that do not interact or have very little interaction with the environment. Closed systems tend to work in isolation.
  • Will find very few in the real world.

Closed Systems:

Which of these is a closed system?

  • Objects
  • Attributes
  • Internal Relationships
  • In-Game Environment

Elements of Game System Focus:

  • physical: game pieces, a game board, dice, or the players themselves
  • abstract: in-game concepts
  • both: player representations that can be both abstract and physical

OBjects can be:

Attributes are the properties or qualities that a system and the objects within it can have.Including:
  • how an object is allowed to move
  • how an object ranks compared with another


The objects in a system are usually in internal relationships with one another. Including:
  • how an object interacts with another object
  • how an object conflicts with another object

Internal Relationships:

Systems are influenced by the context that surrounds them. Including:
  • obstacles in a game
  • spaces on a game board

In-Game ENvironment:

When a system is set in motion, the elements of that system will interact to produce a common goal.

  • formal mathematical system
  • cultural system
  • experiential system

Forms of Game Systems:

Has well-defined rules and concepts within a game. The strategic relationship between the formal elements is what forms a game. Examples: chess, checkers, tic-tac-toe

Formal Mathematical System:

The interaction of different elements in culture.For example, chess makes cultural references in the design of its game pieces, such as the power relationship between the king and queen. The culture also makes references to the people who play it like intellectuals, military types, players, or celebrities.

Cultural System:

The patterned network of relationships constituting a coherent whole that exists between the various objects and attributes of a game. For example, in a game of Tetris, cognitive, psychological, physical, and emotional relationships emerge between a player and the game. There is a loop of interaction. Players interact with the game, and the game responds to the player.

Experiential System:

What game do you think could fall in all 3 forms of Game systems?

Chess could be thought of as a formal mathematical system, an experiential system, or a cultural system. Looking at these systems through the lens of chess can help you understand them better.


Environment: The environment for the interaction of the objects is the play of the game itself. Play provides the context for the formal elements of a game.
Objects: The board and the chess pieces are the objects in the game.

Chess: Formal Mathematical System:

Attributes:Attributes are the characteristics that the rules give to the objects. For example, the starting position of each chess piece and the specific ways each piece can move and capture others are attributes.
Internal Relationships:The actual positions of the pieces on the board determine their internal relationships. These spatial relationships on the grid determine strategic relationships. For example, one piece might encounter an opposing piece in its path or might protect an empty square. Some of the pieces might not even be on the board.

Chess: Formal Mathematical System:

Attributes:The attributes of each player are the pieces the players control, as well as the current state of the game.ture others are attributes.
Objects: When you look at chess from an interaction perspective, the objects of the system are actually the two players themselves.

Chess: Experiential System:

Environment:The total environment includes not just the board and pieces of the game, but also the environment immediately around the two players.
Internal Relationships:The interaction between the players constitutes the internal relationships of the system. These relationships include not just their strategic interaction but their social, psychological, and emotional communication, as well.

Chess: Experiential System:

The total environment—including the game board, the game pieces, and the environment immediately around the two players in an experiential system.

Context of Play:

If you played a digital version of the game of chess, the context of play would also include the software environment in which the players send and receive moves.

Context of Play:

Attributes:The attributes of the game are the designed elements of the game, as well as the historical information about how the game was developed and evolved. For example, the attributes of chess include accounts about its history, which can be traced back nearly 1,500 years, and about how it evolved into the current game.
Objects: The object is the game of chess itself, considered in its broadest cultural sense. For example, Chinese chess uses pieces made of crystal. The stone is associated with concentration and perseverance.

Chess: CUltural System:

Environment:The environment of the system extends beyond any individual game of chess or even the context of play. The total environment for this cultural framing of chess is the culture itself. For example, it includes the subcultures in books, websites, movies, and competitions.
Internal Relationships:The relationships are the links between the game and its surrounding culture. For example, two people are represented by two different colored pieces. These two groups of pieces have a conflict that occurs during gameplay. This conflict can be compared to cultural or racial conflicts in the real world.

Chess: Experiential System:

Think of a game and decide which system it falls under.

A game's formal, experiential, and cultural qualities always exist as integrated phenomena. A game as a formal mathematical system is integrated into an experiential system, and a game as a cultural system comprises both experiential and formal mathematical systems.

Important to note:

Important to note:

See you Friday!