Designing Game Mechanics for Mobile.


In this article, I would like to categorised mobile gamer into few groups (in which I have interpreted) and further dividing the group using “divide and conquer” technique; thus letting designers to understand players better, and assisting designers in designing suitable mechanics. At first, when a game designer designs a mobile game either on Android or IOS platform,  it is most common he/she has to identify the target group. It help designers to understand the level of complexity in term of game mechanics that are appropriate for the different types of player/s. Basically you can divide the players into Casual, Hardcore and no-so-hardcore(somewhere in between). However the “divide technique” might just be too generic an it’s hard for designers to design mechanics that are suitable for only Casual players, Hardcore players and not-so-hardcore players.

Question: What are the most common mobile game mechanics for Hardcore/Not-So-Hardcore/Casual players? Hmmm.

Therefore I would like to “divide and conquer” the category further into FOUR(4) groups {I might add more in the future, more divide and conquer}. This would help the designer to better understand the players and design a suitable game mechanics for a specific group.

1) The “Lazy” one or Players that like simple mechanics,

This group of players love only one simple game mechanics in playing the entire game. In certain cases there might be a combination of few mechanics. For e.g. TAP on the screen to kill enemies; puzzle game moving blocks, TAB to jump or to dodge :)

2) The “Action Simulator” type,

This group love the idea of combining few mechanics to simulate real-life action with least amout of effort. For e.g. in a typical fishing game using the  accelerometer to mimic the “casting of line” action; touching the screen and doing the winding action in creating the reeling experience as well.

3) Conventional type,

Anything from console/PC game that can be ported to mobile would do the trick. Conventional mechanics (wasd, button A,B) that uses virtual controller should be sufficient :)

4) Explorers or Experimental Type.

This group perhaps are the designers or players that are in-search of new/weird mechanics that contributes a fun game-play. Usually it’s very few in numbers as they are not the mainstream type.

If you are interested in designing your mobile game mechanics, you might want to used this as a guide to understand your target group better and design a fun game for the group.

Have fun.


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