Machinations is a theoretical framework and an interactive, dynamic, graphical representation that describes games as dynamic systems and focuses on closed feedback loops within them. The intention is to find a way to express and investigate (recurrent) game structures methodologically. Machinations offers a new lens on the intuitive and delicate practice of game design and balancing.
At the heart of the frame work is a graphical notation designed to capture the dynamics of games. This notation is used in an online application that allows you to create interactive, dynamic diagrams of games. Below you can find links pages explaining the concepts behind the notation and application.
The development of a pattern library that uses the machinations notation to capture recurrent structures in games is currently the most important research effort using the framework. This is work in progress, and open to outside contributions. After all, there is a reason why this material is published on a wiki… (Although you will have to mail me to open an account for you, otherwise the spammers will not leave this site alone, unfortunately)
As far as I know. This wiki is the only place where you can play Will Wright's theoretical game of SimWar (in an appropriately abstract and theoretical fashion of course)...
- Machinations Framework (essentially this is Chapter 4 of my dissertation). If you are new to Machinations I advice you to start reading here.
- Machinations Reference. Assumes you have some understanding of the framework.
- Pattern Library (A collection of patterns that emerge from games)
- Game Diagrams (A collection of diagrammed games)
- (2013) Micro-Machinations (A paper on the further technical developments of Machinations framework as a Domain Specific Language by Riemer van Rozen. Includes details of future features like user-defined modules and model-checking, unfortunately it is on a Springer site, so you need access)
- (2012) The Designer's Notebook: Machinations, A New Way to Design Game Mechanics (Ernest Adams' adaptation of one chapter of our book for Gamasutra
- (2012) Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design (the book Ernest Adams and I wrote using the framework)
- (2012) Engineering Emergence: Applied Theory for Game Design (my PhD dissertation)
- (2011) Integrating Emergence and Progression (presented at DiGRA 2011)
- (2011) Simulating Game Mechanics (presented at AIIDE 2011)
- (2009) Machinations (the first Machinations article, presented at GAME-ON North America)
- (2008) Visualizing Game Mechanics (the precursor to Machinations, presented at Meaningful Play 2008)
- Machinations Tool (tool to create diagrams)
- Talks & Workshops
- UvA Game Studies
- GDC 2013, San Francisco, USA
- Game Developers Session 2012, Prague, Czech Republic
- GDC Europe 2012, Cologne, Germany
- DiGRA 2011, Hilversum, The Netherlands
- Game in the City 2010, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
- INTETAIN 2009, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Digra Dutch Chapter Meeting 2008, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- Other sites and resources discussing Machinations
- GDC: Weltraumspiel in 20 Minuten on www.heise.de (German)
- Game Design fur kreative Tuftler pdf by Kelvin Autenrieth (German)
- Machinations Tutorial I. on gamedesign.cz (Czech)
- Machinations Tutorial II. on gamedesign.cz (Czech)
- Machinations Tutorial III. on gamedesign.cz (Czech)
- Machinations Tutorial IV. on gamedesign.cz (Czech)
- Machinations Lets Get Started on www.kisslat.com (English)
- Creando Mecanicas de Jeugo con Machinations on mikelcalvo.com (Spanish)
- Machinations in Japan facebook group (Japanese)
There are many people who in someway have contributed to the development of this tool and framework. Of these I would like to mention Stéphane Bura (for inspiring me to create the tool in the first place and contributing many of the concepts that are in the framework now), Remco van Swieten (for helping me run the workshops), Dennis Reidsma (for pointing out some early flaws and still inviting me to do the INTETAIN workshop) and Ernest Adams (who believed in the framework so strongly he suggested we write a book about it). This work was part of my PhD research, as such the help and advice of my supervisors Remko Scha and Jacob Brunekreef also proved invaluable. Finally, I would also like to thank all the people who have participated in the workshops: your labor, insights and comments have advanced this framework and research a lot.
IE won't display premade diagrams
I just found out that Internet Explorer (versions 6 & 7) does not display the interactive diagrams inside the wiki correctly. There is no problem with Firefox, or Google Chrome on Windows Vista. I'll need to check other browsers...
Okay, the problem seems to be IE itself (go figure!). Apparently the IE flash player has some problems when loading xml files (which it does to read the diagram data). The issue is quite technical I do not claim to understand all of it. So for now my best suggestion is not to use IE (sorry about that). If anybody has a solution for this problem. Please let me know. Right now my best stab is to load the data as text files and than let ActionScript parse the data. Not sure if that will work.
Some info on the bug in question can be found at this site
Original Wiki Stuff
Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.