Game Development Reference
designers could have started their process with any of them and then built
outward into the others.
small-sCale DePenDenCy staCks
So far we've used the dependency stack to analyze an entire game at once.
But the dependency stack can also be used to analyze the design of indi-
vidual systems. If you use it, you'll probably use it this way most of the
time, since always analyzing the entire design at once can be unwieldy.
For example, consider a development of a character named Capp in a
squad battle game. Capp is intended to move quickly, fall easily, and attack
with acrobatic Capoeira fighting moves. As designed, these are Capp's
abilities and systems:
• Speed Capp runs especially fast, with special physics-driven banking.
• Spin-kick Capp does a spinning capoeira kick that hits everyone
• Falls down Capp has a special vulnerability that throws him to the
ground if he is damaged while attacking.
• Wall jump Capp jumps and bounces off walls to get to special areas, or
pass over adversaries.
• Handspring kick Capp does a handspring kick that strikes while tran-
sitioning him into a wall jump .
• Sweep dodge To compensate for his falls down vulnerability, Capp has
a low sweep attack that both avoids enemy attacks and strikes back in
Just as most good games can be reduced to core gameplay while still
working, most good game systems can be reduced while still fulfilling
their role. A feature-specific dependency stack helps us do this. Here's how
I've interpreted Capp's design:
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