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Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by moonpxi, Aug 30, 2004.
So, any tips on interesting game design books??
There is a section in "The Indie Game Development Survival Guide" on design.. it is only maybe 50 pages long, but it is specifically about "small or no-budget games". At the very least it helps you pick an idea that is within your scope.
I've never read a book specifically on game design but there are certainly a ton of them out there. Gamedev.net has a rather large list.
That's the exact problem!! It's hard to tell what is worth it or not, but I will check out the aformentioned title!
Game Architecture and Design by Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris is the only book about game design which I've read that isn't completely worthless, IMO.
Personally I think Game Architecture and Design is awesome.
I would also recommend Architecture And Design.
The worst book ever is Game Design Secrets of The Sages - what a rip off.
Game design books are probably a good starting point, plus they'll tell you how to write a formal design doc, but design itself is mostly common sense. Also, observing how different people play games is much more useful than a book telling you how people think.
I actually hate Rollings' and Morris' book. Though I thought the game *design* sections were kinda useful. But the sections on managing game development really honked me off. They invoke Steve McConnell, but then make suggestions that are pretty much the opposite of McConnell. I also found the tone insulting. I agree many dev studios are kinda bass-ackwards and behind the times, but sheesh.
I'd HIGHLY recommend anything by Chris Crawford or Earnest Adams. (I want to check out the one Adams co-authored with Andew Rollings (?) - hopefully he wasn't the annoying one of two authors of Game Architecture and Design).
I've read a dozen or so over the years and gleaned at least a little out of each. I recommend "Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design". It is one of the later ones I've read, but I got the most out of it.
Game Design is an "Art", and IMHO can best only be learned by doing. Great painters became great by "painting". They may have started by studying and listening to others, but at some point they just had to "do their own thing".
Amen Greg! Don't follow the line of lemmings !
I truly second what you said!! It's not by coping that one will become a great designer, and personal experience is a goldmine. However, I somehow feel that I am at the start of it, needing a few pointers. That, or I really have no self-confidence!!
Altough, as with any other pratice, sharing ideas with fellow designers can be helpful in any level of experience, I think. Also, you never know when you might learn something usefull, even if it's in 5 pages of a 500 pages book.
It doesn't harm to have one good book about game design in your indie bookshelf. Basic knowledge about game design is good to have.
Also I'd like to point out that you can play other video games to learn game design but... I'd also recommend buying some good rated board games. I have recently bought The Lord of the Rings board game and I find it the design most intelligent. The game is not totally simple, but the rules are not totally complex either when you get hang of it. There are many aspects which will affect on the outcome and there is a continuous feeling of "we are hanging on the edge".. "should I draw 2 cards or play some... should I go back on the corruption line... on the other hand..." and the game difficulty is excellent - you can adjust the difficulty very easily from beginner to pro. I have learned few very important issues about this board game on those aspects will be seen in our next games. Good board game design can help you design good video games.
I think 'Chris Crawford on Game Design' digs deeper into the question of what game design and creativity is, than 'Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design' does. And most of the valuable information in the Rollings/Adams book can be gleaned from Ernest Adams' online 'The Designer's Notebook' http://www.designersnotebook.com/Columns/columns.htm
So I think should start by reading The Designers Notebook, and if you still are puzzled - buy the Chris Crawford book.
Edit: oh and you can read both books online at: http://safari.oreilly.com
I agree with Coyote about Rollings and Morris. If I buy a book about game design I want to learn about game design, not listen to an author's rant about managing stereotypical game developers.
In my opinion, the best book on game design is Rules of Play by Salen and Zimmerman. Some people don't like it because it's more academic than it is practical (although it's both), but in my opinion it's a heck of a lot better than books that dwell on implementation and dare to call it "design".
Rules of Play is a great book on game design.
Of all the Game Design books I've read, none seem to have helped me more than "Chris Crawford on Game Design". He really knows how to help you think like a game designer, not just know the technical how tos or give you a bunch of ideas for making better games (which is nice also, but less important).