# Mechanical Knowledge

Mechanical Knowledge is the knowledge of HOW to do something.

This is not the same things as "the number of moves" in your fighting game, or the "number of talents" in your talent tree. It is merely the measure of the number of times your player must learn how to do something.

This includes every new system that they must learn, but not necessarily every attack. Let's use Street Fighter as an example.

When you learn how to perform Ryu’s Fireball and Dragon Punch, you also learn how to perform Sagat’s Tiger Shot, Tiger Uppercut, and Tiger Knee. The knowledge of how to perform those moves is the same. What’s more, each move has 3 versions (a light, medium, and heavy). This means you have a total of 15 separate attacks, but the Mechanical Knowledge required is 2 Inputs and 3 Buttons.

# When to use

  • You want to quantify the number of things you must teach the player
  • You want to study the potential AccessibilityThe frequency with which we require the player to acquire knowledge, master that knowledge, or Evaluate their Strategies. of your game.
  • You want to discuss the potential DepthThe amount of Knowledge and Work required by the player to Evaluate their available Strategies. of your game.

# When not to use

  • You think that quantity of mechanical knowledge equates to depth of gameplay.
  • You think that a low quantity of mechanical knowledge equates to accessibility, or that a high quantity equates to a lack of accessibility.

# A Visualization

The following two diagrams are ways to visualize the Mechanical Knowledge of Street Fighter 4 and Blaz Blue.

You will see a lot of clickable buttons with names on them. They list every character, mechanic, and motion the player must learn – the Hows. Clicking on a mechanic is like saying “I know how to do this”, and it will show you the shared progress you have made in mastering the other characters. You can also click on a character to indicate you have mastered that character, and it will then show you how far along you are in mastering the other characters.

Some interesting things to try: clicking on Ryu, clicking on the “All Roll Motions”, or clicking on “All Charge Motions”. Notice that, after clicking on Ryu, you are well on your way to learning many of the other characters. This is a game with a low level of mechanical knowledge required. It is not that the game requires no skill, or has no depth, but that your mechanical knowledge is applicable across the entire cast.

Here is another example from the game Blaz Blue. Try and compare and contrast the two games. What do you think that means for the player's experience?