Rules of Play
Author: Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman
Publisher: MIT Press
An impassioned look at games and game design that offers the most ambitious framework for understanding them to date.
The Game Design Reader
Author: Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman
Publisher: MIT Press
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.
Characteristics of Games
Author: George Skaff Elias, Richard Garfield, K. Robert Gutschera
Publisher: MIT Press
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 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
Author: Steve Swink
Publisher: CRC Press
"Game Feel" exposes "feel" as a hidden language in game design that no one has fully articulated yet. The language could be compared to the building blocks of music (time signatures, chord progressions, verse) - no matter the instruments, style or time period - these building blocks come into play. Feel and sensation are similar building blocks where game design is concerned. They create the meta-sensation of involvement with a game. The understanding of how game designers create feel, and affect feel are only partially understood by most in the field and tends to be overlooked as a method or course of study, yet a game's feel is central to a game's success. This book brings the subject of feel to light by consolidating existing theories into a cohesive book. The book covers topics like the role of sound, ancillary indicators, the importance of metaphor, how people perceive things, and a brief history of feel in games. The associated web site contains a playset with ready-made tools to design feel in games, six key components to creating virtual sensation. There's a play palette too, so the desiger can first experience the importance of that component by altering variables and feeling the results. The playset allows the reader to experience each of the sensations described in the book, and then allows them to apply them to their own projects. Creating game feel without having to program, essentially. The final version of the playset will have enough flexibility that the reader will be able to use it as a companion to the exercises in the book, working through each one to create the feel described.
Paid to Play
Author: Keith A. Meyers
Do you have game ideas collecting dust in the back of a closet or the back of your head? Dust them off, pick up this book, and discover the simple steps to turning your concept to cash in today s game market. Long-time industry veteran gives a concise and complete insider s view of this fascinating world and shares the process of licensing or publishing your board game, card game, or party game for profit. Find out how the industry works and what companies are looking for in a game. Examine what makes a good game good while understanding the basics of prototyping and play testing. Gain the knowledge on how to best approach companies to maximize your chances of success. Learn how to protect your idea and how to strike a deal when the call comes. It is all covered step-by-step in this easy-to-follow guide to game design.
Games, Design and Play
Author: Colleen Macklin, John Sharp
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
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!
Author: Mary Flanagan
Publisher: MIT Press
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.
Author: Ernest Adams, Joris Dormans
Publisher: New Riders
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.
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.
Game Design Theory
Author: Keith Burgun
Publisher: CRC Press
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.
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.
The Ecology of Games
Author: Katie Salen
Publisher: MIT Press
In the many studies of games and young people's use of them, little has been written about an overall "ecology" of gaming, game design and play--mapping the ways that all the various elements, from coding to social practices to aesthetics, coexist in the game world. This volume looks at games as systems in which young users participate, as gamers, producers, and learners. The Ecology of Games (edited by Rules of Play author Katie Salen) aims to expand upon and add nuance to the debate over the value of games--which so far has been vociferous but overly polemical and surprisingly shallow. Game play is credited with fostering new forms of social organization and new ways of thinking and interacting; the contributors work to situate this within a dynamic media ecology that has the participatory nature of gaming at its core. They look at the ways in which youth are empowered through their participation in the creation, uptake, and revision of games; emergent gaming literacies, including modding, world-building, and learning how to navigate a complex system; and how games act as points of departure for other forms of knowledge, literacy, and social organization.ContributorsIan Bogost, Anna Everett, James Paul Gee, Mizuko Ito, Barry Joseph, Laurie McCarthy, Jane McGonigal, Cory Ondrejka, Amit Pitaru, Tom Satwicz, Kurt Squire, Reed Stevens, S. Craig Watkins Katie Salen is a game designer and interactive designer as well as Director of Graduate Studies in Design and Technology, Parsons School of Design. With Eric Zimmerman, she is the coauthor of Rules of Play (MIT Press, 2003) and coeditor of The Game Design Reader (MIT Press, 2005).
The Aesthetic of Play
Author: Brian Upton
Publisher: MIT Press
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.
The Well-Played Game
Author: Bernard De Koven
Publisher: MIT Press
In The Well-Played Game, games guru Bernard De Koven explores the interaction of play and games, offering players -- as well as game designers, educators, and scholars -- a guide to how games work. De Koven's classic treatise on how human beings play together, first published in 1978, investigates many issues newly resonant in the era of video and computer games, including social gameplay and player modification. The digital game industry, now moving beyond its emphasis on graphic techniques to focus on player interaction, has much to learn from The Well-Played Game.De Koven explains that when players congratulate each other on a "well-played" game, they are expressing a unique and profound synthesis that combines the concepts of play (with its associations of playfulness and fun) and game (with its associations of rule-following). This, he tells us, yields a larger concept: the experience and expression of excellence. De Koven -- affectionately and appreciatively hailed by Eric Zimmerman as "our shaman of play" -- explores the experience of a well-played game, how we share it, and how we can experience it again; issues of cheating, fairness, keeping score, changing old games (why not change the rules in pursuit of new ways to play?), and making up new games; playing for keeps; and winning. His book belongs on the bookshelves of players who want to find a game in which they can play well, who are looking for others with whom they can play well, and who have discovered the relationship between the well-played game and the well-lived life.