Gameplay vs. Mechanics

Posts: 17
Joined: 2011.10
Post: #1
In past developments, I have seen my team struggling between coming up with mechanics and putting the mechanics together to make the gameplay work. I have also seen people coming up with the gameplay and then work on the mechanics.

In both cases, problems are seen as sometimes they are unable to put gameplay and mechanics together.

In addition, is it a good idea to start of with the story to create the experience of the game and you want the players to have, and then move on to work on the mechanics of the game, or vice versa?

Do you meet these problems as well? Feel free to share your experience!
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Posts: 916
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #2
hmmm, I'm afraid I'm not seeing the difference between gameplay and mechanics. Could you give a concrete example? As far as I'm concerned, they are the same thing.
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Posts: 338
Joined: 2004.07
Post: #3
I've also seen them referred to as mechanics and dynamics. Mechanics are the basic blocks of the gameplay, and dynamics are the more complicated patterns that emerge as a result of all the mechanics working together. So in Centipede, moving and shooting are mechanics, and mushroom farming is a dynamic.

I've found that when I design a game I start with mechanics but also usually have an idea of what dynamics I want to see. Sometimes they come out right the first time, other times mechanics and variables need to be altered until that behavior starts occurring. And sometimes dynamics emerge that you could never have foreseen.

Justin Ficarrotta
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Posts: 17
Joined: 2011.10
Post: #4
Probably it boils down to the definitions that we have here. Over at our studio, mechanics simply means the actions that players do in the game, while gameplay or dynamics as what JustinFic mentions, is the overall vision of what the game should be.

For instance in Super Mario, the mechanics of the game is jumping and running. The gameplay is the character running across obstacles to collect items and reach its destination within a limited amount of time.
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Posts: 15
Joined: 2011.11
Post: #5
without going into semantics, i think gameplay is a superset of mechanic.

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Posts: 6
Joined: 2013.06
Post: #6
Gameplay stems from mechanics IMO
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Posts: 2
Joined: 2015.09
Post: #7
In my opinion, mechanics are individual components that come together to create the gameplay. Having a story concept is wise but don't write the whole thing before you know your mechanics blend well.

My usual flow is to pick one or two mechanics and then blend those together via a prototype. You can then layer more mechanics that feel right. Once you have a strong prototype you'll know how to combine the story you want to write with the mechanics you have.
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