Day 2 of GDC is over. This was the day of my MDA workshop with Robin Hunicke, Ethan Kennerly and Ben Smith. For a presentation that we kind of (ahem) put together at the last minute, it all went surprisingly well. We presented MDA as a way to bridge the gap between the rules and the experience of a game. In designing a game we often have a strong idea for the kind of experience we want to convey but little idea how to turn it into a working set of game mechanics. The MDA framework gives us a vocabulary for talking about play dynamics and their relationship to mechanics and aesthetics, which helps us to be more deliberate it our design.
The exercise we ran was a modified version of one from my class. Participants played several variations of the game of Bartok (a card game similar to Uno or Crazy Eights). Each variation added rules which changed the dynamics and aesthetics of the game. The participants then had to select a dynamic and design their own rules to exagerate that aspect of the game further. Several interesting variations resulted, which I shall have to remember for future play.
I was really pleased that the game went so well. Some people asked me for copies of the slides we used. They are available online, although I warn you that they are not particularly pretty. PDFs of the rule card are also available.