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Main systems - Devlog #31

I've been blending my day job with game design, finding success. Recently, I applied service and systems design techniques to understand Bug & Claw's systems better. It's an adaptable and effective approach I recommend.


System maps

Who is this for?

  • The game designer (me)
  • Anyone creating content for the game (maybe eventually you?)

Why is this helpful?

This type of technique helps quickly, visually understand how different systems in the game interact with one another. We can describe each system in depth separately, and that's fine, but sometimes a quick break down of the general cause and effect bits can aid in explaining the system to others, creating tools like system reference documents, and building out the gameplay loop further.


  • Plot the systems in containers
  • Arrange the main systems in a path along the center
  • Start to draw arrows from one system to another, as they effect each other
  • Augment your lines
    • A straight line shows a strong dependency
    • A dotted line shows a more variable dependency
  • Add brief notes to help understand individual items or relationships

Remember, this is meant for you as a designer and maybe content creators, not players. Probably not even for publication.

Examining Bug & Claw's System Map

If you check Bug & Claw's system map out you can probably work out a few key things.

There are familiar systems along the middle:

  • You do things to get XP
  • XP leads to leveling up
  • Levelling leads to new attributes and abilities
  • You use your attributes and abilities to take/affect action in the world
  • Your actions lead to consequences, like rewards, change in reputation, or changes in the world
  • Rewards can be money
  • Money can be spent on equipment and consumables
  • Equipment and consumables allow for personalization and augmenting of your attributes and abilities

And then there are more unique things:

  • Levelling up is a physical change, moulting (you are anthropomorphic arthropods, after all)
  • Levelling up passes time
  • You can spend time learning
  • You might have a personal/private goal you're working toward in addition to an overarching quest common to your adventuring party
  • Your reputation affects factions
  • The seasons and weather effect the world
  • The state of the world effects the quests available
  • Factions might have effects on the world
  • Your reputation and factions may effect future quests
  • Crystal resonance and infection effect everything

This likely implies, too, that a lot of the systems and gameplay loop are starting to come together. I'm excited to keep sharing the development of Bug & Claw with you. It's a world that means a lot to me. Stay tuned!