Game Design: Fairness through Familiarity

Game Design: Fairness through Familiarity

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4 Fairness Through Familiarity

Fairness through Familiarity means that the Mechdamon games are designed to be as unfair as possible, which the player can rectify by learning the game.

Though the game is highly unfair, it is always possible to make it fair by just understanding and using the mechanics.

This principle is one of the core tenets of the game. It is the secret recipe of Mechdamon.

4.1 Unfair by Default

When a hero faces something new, it is a design intent that he will fail through some unfair mechanics.

It should inculcate to the player that the game will always cheat to thwart him.

But after seeing the big picture, he will understand that all is fair.

4.2 Maximize Delightful Unfairness

The more blatant the cheating is against the player, the better it is. Because then he knows that it is all a facade, that the true Challenge will come when they fight as equals (5 Equaling Principle).

Surprise and delight the player with the ways the enemies will cheat just to win against him.

The moment the fight becomes fair, that is when the true fight begins.

4.3 Despair First

The goal of all the unfairness is to make the player feel Despair in his first battles with the unknown.

The player should have the impression that “he could not do this, that there is no way that he could win.”

Then the catharsis will become even stronger after he discovers how to overcome the Challenge.

4.4 Death as Learning

The failure of the hero will always lead to Death.

Death is a means for learning in the Mechdamon games, not a form of punishment. This is why we allow the unfairness in the first place, so the player will learn through Death how to make the unfairness fair.

In 2.2 (Consequence and Accountability), we discussed what the player loses whenever he dies. For Death to become a tool for learning and not a form of punishment, the player should not lose anything without his intent.

For a highly unfair game with plenty of Death, what gets lost should be in the player’s control. Hence, we introduced the mechanics of 2.4.2 (Player Manually Saves) and (Regain Saved State).

4.4.1 First Death ASAP

It is a design intent of the Mechdamon games that the hero should die as soon as he begins the game. This should occur at the hands of an enemy, though, and with the goal of teaching the mechanics.

As shared in 4.4 (Death as Learning), there is no better teacher in the game than Death.

4.4.2 Maximize Combat Time

Though the hero dies a lot, ensure that his playtime is spent mostly on combat instead of going to the actual fight.

The mechanic of 2.4.2 (Player Saves Manually) helps with this by enabling save points near crucial combat areas.

4.5 Fair Environment

The unfairness of the game will be limited to the enemies and will not be applied to the environment.

The environments of the Mechdamon games are meant to be desirable, and 9 Beautiful by Default. They have no ill intent toward the hero.