Visualizing Game Mechanics and Emergent Gameplay

Joris Dormans


This paper aims to explore a method of visual notation based on UML (Unified Modelling Language) to help the game designer understand the dynamics of his or her game. This method is intended to extend and refine the iterative process of designing games. Board games are used as a case study because emergence in board games is often easier to study than in computer games. In order to understand emergence in games, some concepts from the science of complexity are discussed and applied to games. From this discussion a number of structures that contribute to emergence are used to inform the design of the UML for game design.