Thesis Project – how to introduce game mechanics to players

My final project looked at how games introduces mechanics and described a toolkit which used learning theory as a base. The idea was to base the ways to introduce mechanics on theory and thereby be able to highten the chances for it to work.

I analysed how seven games introduced mechanics and used it to figure out 4 general ways for introducing mechanics. The two learning theories I used to create the toolkit was Ausubel’s Advance Organizers and Bruner’s Discovery Learning.



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Punish Panda – Dadiu final production

Punish Panda is a tablet game. The game revolves around killing pandas (who are evil). The pandas start by standing still, but will move continuously when set in motion. The player can make the pandas change direction, stop. The pandas can push buttons or switches when they touch these. The game has 12 puzzles where the player has to kill the pandas before they escape. The game has a simple art style with only white, black and red for colours.

Android version
IOS version
Short ingame video: short_ingame

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Gameglobe levels – DADIU

During the competence project  I made several level using Game Globe (Gameglobe has been closed since these levels were made). Below I will present each level and link to a video of the level. My considerations for each level will be explained. Most of the levels are made according to a genre or theme.

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Chew Me – DADIU Mini production

Chew Me is a small game made for an android tablet. (The link is to a browser version). The game is about a small bubble gum who has to get through a dirty alley. The gum can stick to surfaces and blow itself up into a bouncy ball. The game has one level where you can travel different ways through the alley.

The game can be played here.

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My third semester on my master was when I participated in DADIU (The National Academy of Digital, Interactive Entertainment). Dadiu is a specialisation, where students from different universities and art schools are taught a joint curriculum.

The semester starts with a 2-3 day trip where there is a chance to get to know everyone, and meet the team which I worked with for the semester. The teams are of 15-17 people. With 5 leads: the game director, project manager, art director, lead programmer and game designer. The rest of the team consisted of 6 programmers, 3 3D artists, an animator, an audio designer and me the level designer. Then the semester starts properly.

Joint Curriculum

The first four weeks are a joint curriculum, where there are lectures about different parts of game development. There is a 2 day workshop to help everybody learn to use Unity. And a week is spent on a mini game production. In a week the team goes through the entire process of creating a small game. We created ChewMe, a game about a chewing gum.

Competence Project

The next four week where spent doing different things dependent on the role you had on the team. The first week the level designers and game designers from all the six teams had a workshop on Board games, and got to work together to create one.

The following two weeks was a level design workshop. Where all the level designers used GameGlobe to create levels. Most levels had specific things to focus upon. See this post for more details.

The last week I joined my team leads in the final week of preproduction, to start sketching levels, for the game they had come up with.

Final Game Production

The last 6 weeks of Dadiu was the final game production, where we developed the game the leads had come up with during pre-production. We created Punish Panda, which is a game about killing Pandas. During the six weeks there were feedback sessions. Here teachers from Dadiu and guests from the industri came by the hear the pitch of the game and give feedback and advise. Usually there was one session a week.


Willmore Hotel

Willmore Hotel is a puzzle horror game. The prototype has about 20 minutes of gameplay, where you go around the hotel you are now trapped in. The viewpoint of the game in through the camera which the character holds, this leads to our special mechanic which makes it possible to put the camera down in certain places, thereby switching from first person view to a fixed third person view.

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Just Another Day – Interactive story-game

Just Another Day is a small 5 minute game, which was made at Nordic Game Jam 2013 in a group of 5 people.

You play as an older woman going about your daily life, however the game is played out of sequence and you will need to uncover how the pieces fit together and tell the story of your character… – Tagline/description we had of the game during NGJ2013 Continue reading