Sketchnote: Game Architecture

One game I’ve enjoyed a lot recently is Hades. It’s an example of the “Rogue-like” genre, which is usually characterized by intense difficulty and permanent character death, though modern titles often include ilttle bits of meta-progression that make you stronger over time. I think it’s an excellent case study of loops and arcs!

At the smallest level, there are the gameplay loops of moving around and swinging your weapon. This is wrapped in an arc of clearing a room full of enemies (or a boss monster). There’s a higher-level loop of working your way through multiple rooms without dying, which is wrapped in a larger arc of trying to escape from the underworld. Of course, most of the time you fail to do this and are sent back to your home in Hades where you can talk to the other characters and spend resources collected in your run upgrading your abilities and weapons before heading out to try and escape once more. This defines the highest-level game loop of collecting resources and improving your strength, as well as the highest-level arc of progressing your relationships with each of the characters.

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