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A video game can have many elements for rich and exciting gameplay: character options, level design, rewards, mission objectives, online capabilities. While today’s top gaming hits tout a plethora of features, some of the most successful and appealing games go back to the basics.

The software instrument Perlenspiel epitomizes this idea with its minimalist components. While not just a “game engine” by definition, Perlenspiel itself is a game, since it isn’t programmed for a particular type of game or interaction. The limited functionality intrinsic to the game engine’s design asks students to test the creative potential that can be explored while only working with the bare essentials.

In the video below, game developer and WPI Professor Brian Moriarty explains the reasoning behind the “primitiveness” of Perlenspiel’s design.

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Introduction: Elements of Microgame Design

Introduction: Elements of Microgame Design

Worcester Polytechnic Institute