Pattern Library

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Machinations diagrams are a good vehicle to capture and reason about recurrent patterns in the internal economy of games. Below you can find an overview of 13 patterns that have been documented thus far:


Static Engine

Produce a steady flow of resources over time for players to consume or to collect while playing the game.

  • Use a static engine when you want to limit players' actions without complicating the design. A static engine forces players to think how they are going to spend their resources without much need for long-term planning.

Dynamic Engine

A source produces an adjustable flow of resources. Players can invest resources to improve the flow.

  • Use a dynamic engine when you want to introduce a trade-off between long term investment and short-term gains.

Converter Engine

Two converters set up in a loop create a surplus of resources that can be used elsewhere in the game.

  • Use the converter engine when you want to create a delicate mechanism to provide the player with resources. It increases the difficulty of the game as the strength and the required investment of the feedback loop are more difficult to asses.
  • Use the converter engine when you need multiple options and mechanics to tune the signature of the feedback loop that drives the engine, and the thereby the stream of resources that flow into the game.

Engine Building


Other Patterns (no categories yet)