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Anything about which is on-topic is by definition . I could not think of a counterexample, so I've proposed a synonym.

Supporting evidence: is already synonymous with and surely game mechanics are a subset of gameplay.

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The example of "How do I implement X mechanic? I love it in Game Y, and would love to expand upon the idea but I can't find anyone who explains how it is implemented programmatically" does not really touch upon game-design. It isn't asking why one would use the mechanic, the effect it has on the player or on other systems, or the meaning, or balance, or any other such idea. It isn't about game design, but is without doubt on the topic of game mechanics and game development.

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There is some grey area between game-mechanics and game design, but they touch on slightly different areas of game dev. Design is more narrative and story driven, while mechanics focus on the type of actions the player may take and how the player uses actions to move the narrative. Design also involves guiding the player's decisions through game quest.(I.e. a red carpet travels to one room, but not an other, or the player hears rumors about a beast in the sewers, so they go there.) Both areas work in tandem to create the player's experience.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would definitely disagree and say that Design encompasses any design of mechanics. But the distinction I would make is that Design deals with the user interaction and system interactions of the mechanic, while game-mechanic can also cover the implementation of the mechanic on a code-level. That is to say that game-mechanic can deal with code questions, but, for the most part, game-design and coding are separate issues. \$\endgroup\$ – Attackfarm May 7 '13 at 23:49

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