5.1. MDA

Prior to reading the rest of this section, go read the paper MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research. The first couple of sections are very academic - feel free to skim until you reach the section entitled MDA.

This is one of the few academic papers that achieved wide exposure within the game industry (it probably helps that the authors are experienced game designers). There are two parts of this paper that made it really influential. The first is the Mechanics/Dynamics/Aesthetics (MDA) conceptualization, which offers a way to think about the relationship of rules to player experience, and also the relationship between player and designer.

Before the MDA Framework was written, the terms “mechanics” and “dynamics” were already in common use among designers. The term “aesthetics” in this sense had not, but has gained more use in recent years.

Materials on this page adapted from:
Game Design Concepts by Ian Schreiber (CC BY-NC 3.0)