Finance Design – How the internal finances of a video game work

The economics of a video game do not stop at the resources commonly associated with the real economy (money, materials, etc …), but relate to everything that can be achieved, used, and exchanged. This design element is extremely important and crucial to the entire gaming experience, adding levels of complexity that the player must take into account.

Earnings, consumption, storage space and conversion

The design of a resource’s economy must take into account 4 essential elements: how it is earned, how it can be used, where it is stored and whether it can be converted to other resources.

The concept of earning an asset is relatively simple to understand, but it is they how and how much to be very important: in Doom Eternal, the designers wanted to create an adrenaline-fueled gaming experience that makes the player approach battles as aggressively as possible, to encourage this type of behavior every time the player performs a Glory Kill, bringing the body into close combat with an enemy, he is rewarded with health, a resource that can rarely be obtained in any other way; by conditioning the supply of a given resource, the designers gave a very specific direction to the title fight. As for how the amount of a resource can change the aspects of a game, just think of the Mercenaries mode in Resident Evil Village: by giving the player a large amount of ammo, increasing his fighting power, the kingdom of Lady Dimitrescu immediately becomes much less intimidating .


While the way you get an asset can affect gameplay, the same goes for how the assets come in expenses. This aspect includes a wide range of elements, such as the ammunition fired in a fight, but also the hunger bar in a survival game. The use of resources is the first reason that pushes the player to move forward in the gaming experience: if I have broken my favorite weapon, I am pressured to try new ones, to gain more experience points I must fight stronger enemies and then explore the world . Moreover, the ways in which it is possible to use a resource can make it more valuable, for example the military bullets found in the first two Metro: more powerful than the ordinary ones, but also useful as a bargaining chip … by using those in combat literally mean shooting money.

L ‘storage of resources is an element that is considered less than the first two, but if implemented properly, it becomes very influential in the experience. Storage is about where and how many resources the player can store, the best example is clearly the statement of the Resident Evil saga: the fact that everything collected by the player takes up space inside it, means that the player must choose how he wants to use say the next stages of the game, which creates quite frustrating situations where you are forced to forgo a nice box of ammunition because you carry key elements needed to solve puzzles.

Storage is an extremely effective technique used when you want to put even more emphasis on the resources that the player has available.


Finally conversion of resources include the classic merchants, workbenches and all the systems that provide the opportunity to procure resources in exchange for others. A good conversion system makes the player think about how they can use their resources to maximize their earnings compared to their needs. An example of a very valid conversion system is the craft system found in Metro Exodus, based on only two ingredients: materials and chemicals, which causes the player to make very sharp choices on their adventures.



The economy of a game is an aspect that tends to be ignored, it only catches the eye when it is designed incorrectly or when it presents flaws that for better or worse change the gaming experience greatly, for example the ability to buy iron bars to make tons of daggers to sell them to merchants, and end the process with a huge profit (those who have not done so can not say that they have played Skyrim).

An economy designed in an optimal way makes the player think about the management and the possibilities of using the resources he has available.

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