- So, I contacted Daniel Cook of the excellent Lost Garden blog a few weeks back and asked him if he'd start writing for Gamasutra, and the second fruit of his labor, called 'The Chemistry Of Game Design' is up now.

Cook, who has previously worked with Epic Games, Anark and Microsoft, also contributed 'The Circle of Life: An Analysis of the Game Product Lifecycle' to us a few weeks back, and this new article has a fascinating hook:

"Every time I sit down with a finely crafted title such as Tetris or Super Mario Brothers, I catch hints of a concise and clearly defined structure behind the gameplay. It is my belief that a highly mechanical and predictable heart, built on the foundation of basic human psychology, beats at the core of every single successful game. What would happen if we codified those systems and turned them into a practical technique for designing games?"

Cook goes on to suggest a concept of 'skill chains', strung together to understand better how a player interacts with a game, concluding: "As a tool, I’ve found that skill chain diagrams dramatically improve my understanding of how a game works, where it fails and where there are clear opportunities for improvement." So... how scientific should game design get?