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1048209 Posts in 42499 Topics- by 34385 Members - Latest Member: woolycaveman

October 02, 2014, 08:30:15 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeDesignGame Design Books... Recommendations?
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baconman
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« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2011, 02:00:25 PM »

The above post summarizes my frustration on the issue, too. There's "programming" books that teach you simple commands, but not how to do much with them. There's "design" books that teach you the more creative side of things, but with no examples of how to code the objects associated with them. Then there's this huge, gaping "middle ground" that really, it seems that no book covers well.

Animated spriting is a perfect example - there's animation books that teach style of doing that, there's computer illustration guides that teach you how to draw stuff with a program, including animations. There's coding books that teach you to embed an image or animation, or to "move" a player piece. But it stops there; with little to no info on context-sensitive embedding.

I keep hoping/wishing for a book that takes the packaged assets of GM, and demonstrates in code (D&D or GML, I don't care) step by step, how to make objects of them that behave and interact properly; and how to do stuff like script things together. Most of it (powerups and the like) are fairly simple (collide with player, destroy self, increase a global), but some things like inventory management, items that grant abilities*, and animated player sprites aren't necessarily so straightforward as one might expect them to be. (IE: There's a lot of expectable ways that look like it should be right, but it's wrong; like tying them to key press/release events.)

* To somebody fresh to coding, they may percieve it as "this item adds this power to the player," instead of "the player already has this power to begin with, this just lifts the restriction on it" instead.

Your best bet with that, is to find some open-source games you like and it's proper compiler, and then study/tinker with it awhile; or add in elements to it, once you're feeling a bit more daring/comfortable. Back it up often, though; and always keep an unedited copy, just in case.
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jotapeh
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« Reply #41 on: February 17, 2011, 11:03:49 AM »

Quick chime in - "A Book of Lenses" is quite good. It can be digested in little bits, none of the chapters really rely on others.

I like to flip it open, read a section or two and then close it up again and get back to making games.
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PaoloMonkey
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« Reply #42 on: February 17, 2011, 02:34:59 PM »

Understanding Comics is a must read, in my opinion Smiley
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Kurai
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« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2011, 04:22:22 AM »

I'll second Understanding Comics and The Design of Everyday Things.

Now, about game design books. I admit I found many of them useful, just to have very clear in my mind what a game is, how it works, of which parts it's made. I have found Rules of Play a very good foundational book on this matter. It's true, it won't teach you how to be a game designer.
But it clears you any doubt about what game design is about. The how part is covered pretty well by Schell's Art of Game Design, which is a book I carry with me most of the times in the form of his deck of lenses.

Though I believe it's right to say that good game design comes from experience in actually making games and from an endless critical play (of every game, not just videogames), to me, books are of great aid to look into different point of views and methodologies.
Unfortunately, most of them tell pretty much the same things, so basically you have to choose wisely, or you'll end up wasting time.

Another great aid in my job is keeping up with articles on game design. Mostly Gamasutra and Game Career Guide. MDA model, the skill model by Daniel Cookman and others are the basis of modern game design and certainly shouldn't be ignored.

Finally, being passionate about games, I read a lot of game studies books. Bogost's Persuasive Games, Juul's The Casual Gaming Revolution and in general the MIT press books are really interesting and they often offer fresh point of views on the matter (for example the demistifying of casual and hardcore cathegories made by Juul is something every game designer should read to better understand her audience). But games are the true research fields. Games are at the core of it, as Ian Schreiber gracefully summarizes here.
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Federico Fasce
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« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2011, 09:20:54 AM »

I just finished reading Game Feel, and it should be required reading.  Especially chapter 7 which deals with "response metrics".  It explains how a game can feel like floaty, loose, organic, tight, crunchy, or twitchy.

People look at me like I'm crazy when I say things like "This game is soggy", now I can explain to them exactly what something like that means and how to fix it Smiley  You should go read the book too so your games will stay crunchy in milk.

Cheers!
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« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2011, 06:46:54 PM »

Wow, great books to add to my list! One I would like to throw out there, while note specifically with game design its interesting nonetheless.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man,_Play_and_Games
Pretty deep stuff into the human and society aspect of games/play in general. Half way through and its pretty cool.
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dmizzle
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« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2011, 01:05:26 AM »

I would like to recommend Game Design - Secrets of the Sages 2nd Edition by Marc Saltzman. I know it's an older book and some of the things in there are going to be a little dated (it contains a chapter on the "Shareware Revolution"!), but it contains interviews with Shigeru Miyamoto, Sid Meier and a bunch of other prolific designers.

It's definitely great to have for the interviews alone but there are some tips in there that I have been able to apply.

You'll probably be able to find it on ebay or alibris dot com (sorry, didn't know if I was allowed to link or not).
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MrMog
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« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2011, 05:31:28 PM »

I'm reading "Challenges for Game Designers" by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber

http://www.amazon.com/Challenges-Game-Designers-Brenda-Brathwaite/dp/158450580X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302052735&sr=8-1

It's a nice compliment to the other books people have suggested thanks to it's more practical tone. That and the challenges are quite fun to do as well.
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mirosurabu
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« Reply #48 on: April 06, 2011, 07:20:48 PM »

Yeah... In my mind - if you've played games your whole life, and you've analysed them during and since.. what are these guys gonna know that you're not? (apart from how to write it in a way that is acceptable for publishing in a book).. You have 20+ years of experience in the area (depending on your age, etc..etc..)

Probably the best thing to do is play some shitty games. It helps. You can learn as much from mistakes as you can successes.

Old post is old, but want to say this anyways:

I think game designers do more than just play and analyze video games. There is great deal of proper science behind game design that most people playing and analyzing games don't do. This is the advantage that experienced game designers have over novice designers. They know that there are two sides to game design: the one which is about knowing what you like, knowing what you hate and using your imagination to come up with experiences that are equally or more powerful than existing ones and there is this other side to game design which is about effectively communicating these experiences. Now, I'm tempted to call the first one "the artistic side" and the second one "the scientific side" but it's hard to draw the line, so I'll back off. What I want to say is that the second one is clearly more scientific since it requires careful testing, which is playtesting. The knowledge professional game designers gain through playtesting and the knowledge they derive from that knowledge is what's almost exclusive to them and that's where the value of design books is.


Novice game designers don't playtest. They say they make games for themselves, so testing is unnecessary. But, that's a common lie - you never make games for yourself, you will rarely enjoy games you make because your game has been spoiled to you in the long process of development. What you really are doing is making games for those who are like you, and that's perfectly fine! It's quite likely that experience you are designing is so awesome that there is minority or maybe even majority of people that will like it, but you still have to communicate it properly. So, um, how do you do that? I mean, how do you learn to do it properly? You learn it through serious science which is playtesting or you read about it in books and then expend it through playtesting.

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Rudolf Kremers
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« Reply #49 on: September 20, 2013, 12:57:07 AM »

Stumbled on this thread and ermm realised that my book on level design is not mentioned.
Ahem. It's called "Level Design: Concept, Theory and Practice"

so... here is review*:

http://www.sci-fi-london.com/news/books/2012/08/level-design-concept-theory-and-practice


*Rather than me trying to act a used car salesman. ;-)
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xraven13
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« Reply #50 on: September 27, 2013, 01:10:13 AM »

I have been reading Art Of Game Design, and first few chapters was super informative, but if you have already lot of experience you will find some of the chapters after kinda useless. I still have to read the whole book. Also, I wouldn't recommend that you read it without developing, try to combine the two, it would be best you actually try to make few small games before reading it for real.
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