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gamestar mechanic


lead developer, some game/interaction design – apr 2008
Gamestar Mechanic is a game about game design. A game editor, online role playing game, and community site are designed to teach kids about complex systems by providing tools to build them.

Gamestar Mechanic is the brainchild of Katie Salen of the Institute of Play. I was the lead developer and architect for the core experience, including a drag-and-drop game editor, a top-down and platformer game engine, and an embeddable game player widget. I also contributed significantly to the user interface and game design.
  • Factory 7

    Factory 7, home of the 6 schools of Game Mechanics.

  • Top-down game

    Simple and complex games can be built with Gamestar Mechanic.

  • Game editor

    A drag-and-drop game editor allows for quick design and iteration.

  • Creating a new game

    This series of screenshots demonstrates the ease of quickly sketching out a simple action game.

  • Placing a player avatar

    After choosing parameters for the game, place a player avatar.

  • Add some clouds

    Do it Bob Ross-style and add some fluffy clouds.

  • Add a Goal Block

    Place a Goal Block up in the sky for the player to jump towards.

  • Iterate quickly

    Flip the Edit/Play switch at any time to test the design immediately.

  • Add some enemies

    Platformers are even better with enemies. Let's add some.

  • Add some points

    Collectable points add a little variety.

  • Add some counters

    A Health Counter and Points Counter round out the interface.

  • Collect 'em all

    Require the player collect all points for an additional challenge.

  • Finishing touches

    A background image and some music add some polish.

  • The final product

    Only takes a few minutes to design and build a working game. A few more will make it really great!