Meaningful play - Design - Systems - Interactivity - Defining games - The magic circle - Defining rules - Rules on three levels - The rules of digital games - Games as systems of uncertainty - Games as systems of information - Games as cybernetic systems - Games as systems of conflict - Games as the play of experience - Games as the play of meaning - Games as the play of simulation - Games as cultural rhetoric - Games as cultural resistance - Games as cultural environment.
This book fills a genuine need in the emerging field of game design for a collection of key texts on game analysis and criticism. Written and designed to accompany Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman's earlier textbook Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, The Game Design Reader can be used in the classroom or as a resource for game design practitioners. Thirty-two classic and cutting-edge essays by game designers, game journalists, game fans, sociologists, media theorists, and other writers from diverse fields consider foundational questions: What are games and how do they function? How do they interact with the culture at large? What critical approaches can game designers take to create meaningful experiences for players? Salen and Zimmerman have collected writings that span nearly 50 years of game analysis and offer a wide range of perspectives. Game journalists describe the rhythms of gameplay, game designers explicate their designs, sociologists consider such topics as role-playing in virtual worlds, and players offer their hands-on opinions and rants. Each text is "teachable": it can act as a springboard for discussion, a class assignment, or a design project. Each text offers insights to the professional game designers or scholar as well. The book is organized around a series of "Topics" -- ideas fundamental to the study of games, or emerging areas of research -- each of which is introduced with a short essay by Salen and Zimmerman that points to relevant texts in the Reader. "Interstitials" -- visual essays, documents, game ephemera -- act as counterpoint to the texts themselves.
Good game design happens when you view your game from as many perspectives as possible. Written by one of the world's top game designers, The Art of Game Design presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, visual design, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, puzzle design, and anthropology. This Second Edition of a Game Developer Front Line Award winner: Describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design Demonstrates how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in top-quality video games Contains valuable insight from Jesse Schell, the former chair of the International Game Developers Association and award-winning designer of Disney online games The Art of Game Design, Second Edition gives readers useful perspectives on how to make better game designs faster. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again.
Now in full color, the 10th anniversary edition of this classic book takes you deep into the influences that underlie modern video games, and examines the elements they share with traditional games such as checkers. At the heart of his exploration, veteran game designer Raph Koster takes a close look at the concept of fun and why it’s the most vital element in any game. Why do some games become boring quickly, while others remain fun for years? How do games serve as fundamental and powerful learning tools? Whether you’re a game developer, dedicated gamer, or curious observer, this illustrated, fully updated edition helps you understand what drives this major cultural force, and inspires you to take it further. You’ll discover that: Games play into our innate ability to seek patterns and solve puzzles Most successful games are built upon the same elements Slightly more females than males now play games Many games still teach primitive survival skills Fictional dressing for modern games is more developed than the conceptual elements Truly creative designers seldom use other games for inspiration Games are beginning to evolve beyond their prehistoric origins
Are you looking for practical, ready-to-use ideas to help you design more innovative and unique video games? "David Perry on Game Design: A Brainstorming Toolbox" is a brainstorming and strategy guide for game designers, filled with inspiration-generating
This in-depth resource teaches you to craft mechanics that generate challenging, enjoyable, and well-balanced gameplay. You’ll discover at what stages to prototype, test, and implement mechanics in games and learn how to visualize and simulate game mechanics in order to design better games. Along the way, you’ll practice what you’ve learned with hands-on lessons. A free downloadable simulation tool developed by Joris Dormans is also available in order to follow along with exercises in the book in an easy-to-use graphical environment. In Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design, you’ll learn how to: * Design and balance game mechanics to create emergent gameplay before you write a single line of code. * Visualize the internal economy so that you can immediately see what goes on in a complex game. * Use novel prototyping techniques that let you simulate games and collect vast quantities of gameplay data on the first day of development. * Apply design patterns for game mechanics—from a library in this book—to improve your game designs. * Explore the delicate balance between game mechanics and level design to create compelling, long-lasting game experiences. * Replace fixed, scripted events in your game with dynamic progression systems to give your players a new experience every time they play. "I've been waiting for a book like this for ten years: packed with game design goodness that tackles the science without undermining the art." --Richard Bartle, University of Essex, co-author of the first MMORPG “Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design by Joris Dormans & Ernest Adams formalizes game grammar quite well. Not sure I need to write a next book now!” -- Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design.
The play-focused, step-by-step guide to creating great game designs This book offers a play-focused, process-oriented approach for designing games people will love to play. Drawing on a combined 35 years of design and teaching experience, Colleen Macklin and John Sharp link the concepts and elements of play to the practical tasks of game design. Using full-color examples, they reveal how real game designers think and work, and illuminate the amazing expressive potential of great game design. Focusing on practical details, this book guides you from idea to prototype to playtest and fully realized design. You’ll walk through conceiving and creating a game’s inner workings, including its core actions, themes, and especially its play experience. Step by step, you’ll assemble every component of your “videogame,” creating practically every kind of play: from cooperative to competitive, from chance-based to role-playing, and everything in between. Macklin and Sharp believe that games are for everyone, and game design is an exciting art form with a nearly unlimited array of styles, forms, and messages. Cutting across traditional platform and genre boundaries, they help you find inspiration wherever it exists. Games, Design and Play is for all game design students, and for beginning-to-intermediate-level game professionals, especially independent game designers. Bridging the gaps between imagination and production, it will help you craft outstanding designs for incredible play experiences! Coverage includes: Understanding core elements of play design: actions, goals, rules, objects, playspace, and players Mastering “tools” such as constraint, interaction, goals, challenges, strategy, chance, decision, storytelling, and context Comparing types of play and player experiences Considering the demands videogames make on players Establishing a game’s design values Creating design documents, schematics, and tracking spreadsheets Collaborating in teams on a shared design vision Brainstorming and conceptualizing designs Using prototypes to realize and playtest designs Improving designs by making the most of playtesting feedback Knowing when a design is ready for production Learning the rules so you can break them!
George Skaff Elias,Richard Garfield,K. Robert Gutschera
Author: George Skaff Elias,Richard Garfield,K. Robert Gutschera
Publisher: MIT Press
Category: Games & Activities
Characteristics of Games offers a new way to understand games: by focusing on certain traits -- including number of players, rules, degrees of luck and skill needed, and reward/effort ratio -- and using these characteristics as basic points of comparison and analysis. These issues are often discussed by game players and designers but seldom written about in any formal way. This book fills that gap. By emphasizing these player-centric basic concepts, the book provides a framework for game analysis from the viewpoint of a game designer. The book shows what all genres of games -- board games, card games, computer games, and sports -- have to teach each other. Today's game designers may find solutions to design problems when they look at classic games that have evolved over years of playing. Characteristics of Games -- written by three of the most prominent game designers working today -- will serve as an essential reference for game designers and game players curious about the inner workings of games. It includes exercises (which can also serve as the basis for discussions) and examples chosen from a wide variety of games. There are occasional mathematical digressions, but these can be skipped with no loss of continuity. Appendixes offer supplementary material, including a brief survey of the two main branches of mathematical game theory and a descriptive listing of each game referred to in the text.
Now in its third edition, the classic book on game design has been completely revised to include the latest developments in the game industry. Readers will learn all the fundamentals of concept development, gameplay design, core mechanics, user interfaces, storytelling, and balancing. They'll be introduced to designing for mobile devices and touch screens, as well as for the Kinect and motion-capture gameplay. They'll learn how indie developers are pushing the envelope and how new business models such as free-to-play are influencing design. In an easy-to-follow approach, Adams offers a first-hand look into the process of designing a game, from initial concept to final tuning. This in-depth resource also comes with engaging end-of-chapter exercises, design worksheets, and case studies.
Despite the proliferation of video games in the twenty-first century, the theory of game design is largely underdeveloped, leaving designers on their own to understand what games really are. Helping you produce better games, Game Design Theory: A New Philosophy for Understanding Games presents a bold new path for analyzing and designing games. The author offers a radical yet reasoned way of thinking about games and provides a holistic solution to understanding the difference between games and other types of interactive systems. He clearly details the definitions, concepts, and methods that form the fundamentals of this philosophy. He also uses the philosophy to analyze the history of games and modern trends as well as to design games. Providing a robust, useful philosophy for game design, this book gives you real answers about what games are and how they work. Through this paradigm, you will be better equipped to create fun games.
Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding Your Players
Author: Zack Hiwiller
Publisher: New Riders
Game designers today are expected to have an arsenal of multi-disciplinary skills at their disposal in the fields of art and design, computer programming, psychology, economics, composition, education, mythology—and the list goes on. How do you distill a vast universe down to a few salient points? Players Making Decisions brings together the wide range of topics that are most often taught in modern game design courses and focuses on the core concepts that will be useful for students for years to come. A common theme to many of these concepts is the art and craft of creating games in which players are engaged by making meaningful decisions. It is the decision to move right or left, to pass versus shoot, or to develop one’s own strategy that makes the game enjoyable to the player. As a game designer, you are never entirely certain of who your audience will be, but you can enter their world and offer a state of focus and concentration on a task that is intrinsically rewarding. This detailed and easy-to-follow guide to game design is for both digital and analog game designers alike and some of its features include: A clear introduction to the discipline of game design, how game development teams work, and the game development process Full details on prototyping and playtesting, from paper prototypes to intellectual property protection issues A detailed discussion of cognitive biases and human decision making as it pertains to games Thorough coverage of key game elements, with practical discussions of game mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics Practical coverage of using simulation tools to decode the magic of game balance A full section on the game design business, and how to create a sustainable lifestyle within it
Presenting a holistic and thoroughly practical investigation of the true nature of computer games that arms readers with a small yet powerful set of theories for developing unique approaches to understanding games. Game Invaders fully integrates genre theory, new media aesthetics, perceptual opportunities, and semiotics into a practical DIY toolkit for games analysis—offering detailed guidance for how to conduct in-depth critiques of game content and gameplay. Featuring an informal and witty writing style, the book devotes a number of chapters to specific games from all eras, clearly demonstrating the practical application of the theories to modern, large-scale computer games. Readers will find: • Suggestions on how to apply the DIY package to major issues central to understanding computer games and their design • Coverage of the semiotics of video games, laying the foundation for such topics as the role of agency and virtual storytelling • Tasks and solutions for readers wishing to practice techniques introduced in the book • A companion website featuring access to an app that enables the reader to conduct their own activity profiling of games An important resource for those wishing to dig deeper into the games they design, Game Invaders gives game designers the skills they need to stand out from the crowd. It is also a valuable guide for anyone wishing to learn more about computer games, virtual reality, and new media.
Game designers spend their lives solving extraordinary problems and facing mind-bending paradoxes. It’s their job to make a meticulous plan for “spontaneous fun” players will want to experience over and over again. Pressure is heaped on with demands for innovation and blockbuster status. So designers find themselves facing an abyss of problems, pressure, and possibilities, armed only with their brains and an assortment of design principles they picked up over years of experience. For the first time, 100 Principles of Game Design gathers some of the best of these big ideas into one toolkit. Seasoned designers will be glad they don’t have to hold it all in their heads anymore, and beginning design students can use the book to learn the tools of the trade. When the going gets tough, everyone can turn to this book for guidance, inspiration, or just to remind them of what works. Collected from every popular school of thought in game design, these core principles are organized by theme: innovation, creation, balancing, and troubleshooting. • Includes advances from the world’s leading authorities on game design, some explained by the creators themselves • A reference book of finite, individual principles for easy access, providing a jumping off point for further research • Principles originating in fields as diverse as architecture, psychiatry, and economics, but shown here as they apply to game design • Richly designed with illustrations and photos, making each principle easy to understand and memorable • Timeless approach includes feedback loops, game mechanics, prototyping, economies of scale, user-centered design, and much more Professional designers and instructors at one of the world’s leading game design institutions lay out the building blocks of diverse knowledge required to design even the simplest of games.
The impulse toward play is very ancient, not only pre-cultural but pre-human; zoologists have identified play behaviors in turtles and in chimpanzees. Games have existed since antiquity; 5,000-year-old board games have been recovered from Egyptian tombs. And yet we still lack a critical language for thinking about play. Game designers are better at answering small questions ("Why is this battle boring?") than big ones ("What does this game mean?"). In this book, the game designer Brian Upton analyzes the experience of play -- how playful activities unfold from moment to moment and how the rules we adopt constrain that unfolding. Drawing on games that range from Monopoly to Dungeons & Dragons to Guitar Hero, Upton develops a framework for understanding play, introducing a set of critical tools that can help us analyze games and game designs and identify ways in which they succeed or fail.Upton also examines the broader epistemological implications of such a framework, exploring the role of play in the construction of meaning and what the existence of play says about the relationship between our thoughts and external reality. He considers the making of meaning in play and in every aspect of human culture, and he draws on findings in pragmatic epistemology, neuroscience, and semiotics to describe how meaning emerges from playful engagement. Upton argues that play can also explain particular aspects of narrative; a play-based interpretive stance, he proposes, can help us understand the structure of books, of music, of theater, of art, and even of the process of critical engagement itself.
Video Game Design is a visual introduction to integrating core design essentials, such as critical analysis, mechanics and aesthetics, prototyping, level design, into game design. Using a raft of examples from a diverse range of leading international creatives and award-winning studios, this is a must-have guide for budding game designers. Industry perspectives from game industry professionals provide fascinating insights into this creative field, and each chapter concludes with a workshop project to help you put what you've learnt into practice to plan and develop your own games. With over 200 images from some of the best-selling, most creative games of the last 30 years, this is an essential introduction to industry practice, helping readers develop practical skills for video game creation. This book is for those seeking a career making video games as part of a studio, small team or as an independent creator. It will guide you from understanding how games engage, entertain and communicate with their audience and take you on a journey as a designer towards creating your own video game experiences. Interviewees include: James Portnow, CEO at Rainmaker Games Brandon Sheffield, Gamasutra.com/Game Developer magazine Steve Gaynor, co-founder The Fullbright Company (Gone Home) Kate Craig, Environment Artist. The Fullbright Company (Gone Home) Adam Saltsman, creator of Canabalt & Gravity Hook Jake Elliott & Tamas Kemenczy, Cardboard Computer (Kentucky Route Zero) Tyson Steele, User Interface Designer, Epic Games Tom Francis, Game Designer, Gunpoint & Floating Point Kareem Ettouney, Art Director, Media Molecule. Little Big Planet 1 & 2, Tearaway. Kenneth Young, Head of Audio, Media Molecule Rex Crowle, Creative Lead, Media Molecule
For many players, games are entertainment, diversion, relaxation, fantasy. But what if certain games were something more than this, providing not only outlets for entertainment but a means for creative expression, instruments for conceptual thinking, or tools for social change? In Critical Play, artist and game designer Mary Flanagan examines alternative games -- games that challenge the accepted norms embedded within the gaming industry -- and argues that games designed by artists and activists are reshaping everyday game culture. Flanagan provides a lively historical context for critical play through twentieth-century art movements, connecting subversive game design to subversive art: her examples of "playing house" include Dadaist puppet shows and The Sims. She looks at artists' alternative computer-based games and explores games for change, considering the way activist concerns -- including worldwide poverty and AIDS -- can be incorporated into game design.Arguing that this kind of conscious practice -- which now constitutes the avant-garde of the computer game medium -- can inspire new working methods for designers, Flanagan offers a model for designing that will encourage the subversion of popular gaming tropes through new styles of game making, and proposes a theory of alternate game design that focuses on the reworking of contemporary popular game practices.
A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Third Edition
Author: Tracy Fullerton
Publisher: CRC Press
Create the Digital Games You Love to Play Discover an exercise-driven, non-technical approach to game design without the need for programming or artistic expertise using Game Design Workshop, Third Edition. Author Tracy Fullerton demystifies the creative process with a clear and accessible analysis of the formal and dramatic systems of game design. Examples of popular games, illustrations of design techniques, and refined exercises strengthen your understanding of how game systems function and give you the skills and tools necessary to create a compelling and engaging game. The book puts you to work prototyping, playtesting, and revising your own games with time-tested methods and tools. It provides you with the foundation to advance your career in any facet of the game industry, including design, producing, programming, and visual design.
You understand the basic concepts of game design: gameplay, user interfaces, core mechanics, character design, and storytelling. Now you want to know how to apply them to the sports game genre. This focused guide gives you exactly what you need. It walks you through the process of designing for the sports game genre and shows you how to use the right techniques to create fun and challenging experiences for your players.
Exploring the Foundational Principles Behind Good Game Design
Author: Anna Anthropy,Naomi Clark
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Master the Principles and Vocabulary of Game Design Why aren’t videogames getting better? Why does it feel like we’re playing the same games, over and over again? Why aren’t games helping us transform our lives, like great music, books, and movies do? The problem is language. We still don’t know how to talk about game design. We can’t share our visions. We forget what works (and doesn’t). We don’t learn from history. It’s too hard to improve. The breakthrough starts here. A Game Design Vocabulary gives us the complete game design framework we desperately need—whether we create games, study them, review them, or build businesses on them. Craft amazing experiences. Anna Anthropy and Naomi Clark share foundational principles, examples, and exercises that help you create great player experiences…complement intuition with design discipline…and craft games that succeed brilliantly on every level. Liberate yourself from stale clichés and genres Tell great stories: go way beyond cutscenes and text dumps Control the crucial relationships between game “verbs” and “objects” Wield the full power of development, conflict, climax, and resolution Shape scenes, pacing, and player choices Deepen context via art, animation, music, and sound Help players discover, understand, engage, and “talk back” to you Effectively use resistance and difficulty: the “push and pull” of games Design holistically: integrate visuals, audio, and controls Communicate a design vision everyone can understand