Game Development Reference
After the wildlife reserve was created, the newly trained park rangers
quickly decided to make some changes. There weren't enough elk, they
thought, so they began a program of feeding the elk.
The elk population exploded. The huge elk herds soon began killing
the aspen and willow trees. This caused the beavers to vanish, since they
no longer had enough wood to make their dams. Without beaver dams
to hold the water in place, the park began to dry up every summer. This
denied the fish the bodies of water they needed to breed, so it wasn't long
before the lakes were nearly empty of fish. With the fish gone, the grizzly
bear population fell, since the grizzlies depended on fish pulled from
the rivers to survive. Without grizzlies competing for their food sources,
and with so many elk to prey on, the wolf population exploded. The deer
population soon collapsed because there were so many wolves and
because the elk were overgrazing their grasslands.
And the changes went on, rippling through the ecosystem…
A GAME DESIGN MIGHT have hundreds of mechanics, fictional elements,
and subsystems. Even during the minutes after conceiving of a game idea,
a designer can have 20 different ideas for challenges, systems, and inter-
faces to add to it. With all these ideas, how do we know what to work on
first? Do we start with the most unique piece? The most basic? The easi-
est? The most technologically advanced? The riskiest?
They key to answering this question is in understanding dependencies .
A DEPENDENCY is a relationship between two parts of the design such
that changes in one part would force changes in the other.
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