Dissecting Angry Birds

This post covers the inside mechanics of game development, as I understood from a lecture of Roberto Dillon at Techfest 2013 in IIT, Mumbai last Saturday.


Game designers explain their approach in a subjective manner. Hence, there is a need for pragmatic view of the same to break down a game at different level of complexities. The post starts by describing the classic M.D.A. framework and goes on to describe new frameworks, namely A.G.E. and the 6-11 framework. A few games including Rovio’s Angry Birds will be used as examples to make us understand the concepts.

Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics Framework

Hunicke R., LeBanc M. and Zubek R. proposed this methodology in 2004 at National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

  • Mechanics: the game rules i.e. basic, atomic actions that players can do to play the game
  • Dynamics: Runtime
  • Aesthetics: Emotional, Visual

Eight kinds of Fun  based on:

  1. Sensation (e.g. pleasures)
  2. Fantasy (e.g. role playing)
  3. Narrative (e.g. Storytelling, game as drama)
  4. Challenge (e.g. problem solving, obstacle course)
  5. Fellowship (e.g. social framework)
  6. Discovery (e.g. uncharted territory)
  7. Expression (e.g. self discovery)
  8. Submission (e.g. Game as pastime)

6-11 Framework

6 basic emotions and 11 instincts

Emotions: Fear, Anger, Pride, Sadness, Excitement, joy

Anger in Angry Birds

Anger in Angry Birds









Pride in Stars, Levels for angry Birds

Pride in Stars, Levels for angry Birds









Instincts: Survival, Revenge, curiosity, Self identification, Aggressiveness, Competition, Protection, Greed, Collecting, Communication, Color Appreciation

Angry Birds using 6-11 framework

Angry Birds Explained using 6-11 framework

Analyzing the game

  1. Play the game
  2. Determine the main aesthetics and how they develop into the player’s experience by using the „6-11 Framework“
  3. Draw the „On the way to Fun“ diagram
  4. Relate instincts to game dynamics
  5. Explore how dynamics are obtained (i.e. analyze mechanics)
  6. Not sure? Go back to Step 1! 😉

About prasoonk

Prasoon Kumar grew up in the Bokaro Steel City of south Bihar, now Jharkhand. He studied Computer Science and Engineering in IIT Kanpur. For job he moved to the land of opportunity, United States. He was there in the bay area through the internet revolution of mid to late nineties. He spent time admiring the beautiful coastline of California among other things. He moved east coast to the New York after the turn of the millennium working in a brokerage startup. Afterwards, he is back to India for good. He has been working in the enterprises and internet startup, enjoying the city life. He has a beautiful wife, a young 5 years old daughter and 11 years old son.

Posted on January 28, 2013, in eCommerce, IIT, IIT Mumbai, Technology, Web, web 2.0 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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