In 2016 we looked for a holistic, scientific alternative to gut-feeling based decisions and Sisyphean iterations when doing game balancing. A Google search returned Joris Dormans’ Ph.D. paper and the tool he specifically created for balancing game economies: Machinations. Using the framework and tool game designers could map, simulate, and optimise complex systems.
Mihai started using it in his work and presented it on stage at conferences and workshops throughout Denmark and Sweden. Unsurprisingly, he found a powerful community of professionals around Machinations. Apparently his issues with outdated GDDs and endless-scrolling spreadsheets were ubiquitous: from indie studios to AAA.
Machinations had the potential to become the game design tool, the one to declutter the balancing process. It would equip everyone involved in game development with a standardised language and a powerful instrument to validate their assumptions, with minimal effort.
Mihai and Dana flew over to Amsterdam, met Joris, and decided to take Machinations to the next level: becoming a part of the tech stack of game dev studios around the world, changing the way game systems are designed, prototyped and handed-off within teams. All the while supporting academia in teaching entire generations of game designers & developers to “speak” Machinations.