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Popular Books on Game Design

 

The gaming industry has become quite big in recent years, and many people like to associate themselves with it. Game designing is a process that is the key to this industry, and a person desirous of joining the industry must be sufficiently aware of it. Many different areas like the storyline, animation, VFX/graphics, characters, and gameplay are there in it. One must understand them in a better way so that it can help a person in getting a foothold in this interesting industry. There is a list of best books on game design that can be very helpful in this endeavor.

These books can help in understanding all the fundamentals that may be needed for the industry. They can also help in preparing a person to identify the requirements that may be met for developing a highly satisfying game. Other aspects of gaming include sales, promotion, distribution and proper marketing. All these aspects can also be understood by going through these books so that apart from the technicalities of game production, a person can be better equipped with all the nuances of the industry. We try listing out these books here, not as per their preference.

Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design

For all types of people who want to learn game designing and other associated topics related to the gaming industry, this book by Scott Rogers is a boon for the readers. A professional as well as any individual can learn the tricks of the trade by going through this book. It also helps in understanding the model on which a game is developed and built.

Read it For:
People who would like to understand the concepts behind a well-built game should go through this book. There are good insights regarding console based and mobile based games and their significance.
Don't Read it For:
The book does not delve into marketing and logistic issues that can be an issue after development. Understanding these areas is very important for the success of any game.
What makes this book stand out?:
The lucid way in which the book has been written is a stand-out. Moreover, most important areas related to game development has been covered in it and it is a must-read for any gaming enthusiast. People who would like to break into AAA studios can also benefit from it.

The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

This book by Jesse Schell is a superb take on building a working and popular game. It will help a reader in understanding the different aspects of gaming and features many hard hitting questions that can be helpful in developing an interesting game. People who have developed any game earlier can particularly benefit from this book.

Read it For:
The best working principles are mentioned in this book along with certain queries that should be answered during the process of game designing. It can help a designer think about psychology, usability, gameplay, storyline and everything that can be helpful in making an immersive game.
Don't Read it For:
This book may not be very suitable for the beginners as there is not much info for them. A person who does not have understanding of gaming concepts may not understand much.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book lists out many ideas and helps a reader to be acquainted with many different gaming aspects. It is a thought-provoking book as far as developing any game is concerned. Many different viewpoints can also be accessed through it.

The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design

This book by Flint Dille and John ZuurPlatten delves into the emotion that goes into the creation of a successful game. It highlights the importance of proper screenplays in a game and how it can be created to make a lasting impression on a game. A reader can benefit from its concepts and understand how to capture the interest of players.

Read it For:
This book can be very interesting because it lists out the different ways other than programming, gameplay mechanics and graphics through which it can be attractive for players. The main focus is on fluidity and maintaining the pace of the game and how to get it done. A person can learn how to create a binding flow to a game by going through this book.
Don't Read it For:
The book does not go into the basics of game mechanics and a person who is looking for it may not be able to learn them from this book. Through this book, a prospective game developer may not be able to learn much regarding the rules and methods that govern a game.
What makes this book stand out?:
The story and script of a video game has to be written in a way that people identify with it and relate to it. At the same time, it should be highly interesting and entertaining. These are the fundamentals on which this book focuses its writings.

Fundamentals of Game Design

This book by Ernest Adams can give a sneak peek into all the aspects that may be needed for a successful game creation. Right from generating an idea for a game to initial development and all further operations, this book can be a treasure trove for a game developer. It is a 576 page book that contains many tips and tricks for making a successful game.

Read it For:
An individual game developer can get lots of insights from this book and also expect to receive industry help from it. There are ample exercises and free worksheets that can help in generating one's own idea for a game. Established gaming professionals can also get some good information on what can make a good video game.
Don't Read it For:
Though this book touches almost all aspects related to game development yet there is not much clarity in many areas. A new game developer may have to further read on many topics before a game can be finally developed.
What makes this book stand out?:
Apart from the different areas of gaming, this book also gives sufficient information on many tricks that can be used to one's advantage while making a game. Different aspects of gaming like interface design, usability, storytelling and technical aspects can be perfectly understood by going through the book.
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How Games Move Us: Emotion

This book by games designer and researcher, Katherine Isbister, is more related to the emotional side of games and how some of the most popular games in history has been able to bring about a positive change among its players. Rather than focusing on game development, this book talks about the pros of games and the role that it plays in shaping up individuals. It tries to make gaming as another powerful medium like movies and literature.

Read it For:
Prospective game developers can learn a thing or two by going through this book because it helps in understanding the emotions that can be created by a game. It looks into many insights and studies that have been conducted on some of the most famous games and what makes them so great.
Don't Read it For:
There is nothing related to game development, in the literal sense of the word. No practical solution is offered by the book and a serious game developer may not gain much from it if technical solutions are being searched at the moment.
What makes this book stand out?:
People who have read it can benefit from this book as it relates to the different emotions that a game can offer. There are design techniques that can help evoke certain emotions and these have been touched in great lengths in the book. Social connections can also be influenced by gaming and this aspect is also looked into detail in this book.

Characteristics of Games

This book by Richard Garfield, George Skaff Elias and K. Robert Gutschera offers a very different way of understanding games. It concentrates on various aspects like players, degree of luck, rules and skill needed and using them as points of analysis and comparison. The book is more about the psychological aspects of gaming rather than its technical sides.

Read it For:
All 3 authors of the book are insiders of the gaming industry and they understand that any successful game gets somehow related to a person due to its characteristic. Apart from the psychological aspect, the book also lists out a small survey of two key branches of mathematical game theory and a description of each game in the text.
Don't Read it For:
Game developers who are looking for hardcore gaming solutions may not get much help from this book. There are no technical help provided in it and therefore, it may not be of much use for them.
What makes this book stand out?:
All different genres of games like card games, sports, board games, computer games, etc, have something to teach to each other and that exactly has been focused in the book. Player-centric concepts for game analysis have been discussed in the book and therefore it can be worth a reading for anyone who is interested in these topics.

Drawing Basics and Video Game Art

This book by Chris Solarski deals with art techniques that are involved in gaming and the future of the gaming industry as a whole. People can learn to design realistic concepts for many types of games by going through this book. Game designing trends can also be learnt from it as there is immense information regarding it for the last 30 years.

Read it For:
The book is mainly meant for game artists. Game artists who want to improve upon things like 3D modeling or concept art can find this book pretty interesting. Interested readers can also get connections between the most famous series of all times and that can help in establishing newer art forms in a game.
Don't Read it For:
The book is mainly meant for artists and hence may not be of much use for people who want to learn the basics of game designing. Game designers who are more into technical aspects of a game may not like the book.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book is not only about artistic techniques. It has anecdotes and insights from within the gaming industry that can be very useful for any gaming enthusiast. A person can learn environment art, anatomy, character art, etc. and can help in designing realistic ideas for a game after reading it.

Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games

This book written by Robert Denton Bryant and Keith Giglio is a must-have for any wannabe game developer because it can help a person in building up the storyline. The book also focuses upon character development in a game and why it is of so much significance. It can help a developer in understanding the importance of good storytelling in a game.

Read it For:
The book has been written by two creative writers from 'Hollywood' and the gaming industry. They have exclusively focused on the need of quality storytelling for the success of a game. People willing to become good game writer must go through it to understand the intricacies that must be followed for it.
Don't Read it For:
People who are not interested in game writing may find it to be boring. The book does not deal with issues other than the story that has to be in the game. There is no mention of any major technical aspect and that can be a turn-off for people who are not interested in the subject.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book can be a treasure trove of game writers as it deals with the fundamentals of genre selection and character development. It also helps in suggesting ways to keep players interested in the game by providing them with selected information from time to time. A new writer can gain enough understanding on these subjects by going through it.

An Introduction to Game Studies

This book written by Frans Mayra lists all about the gaming history right from the 70s when gaming first started to happen. It lists out the larger perspective with reference to games and how games can impact cultures or a group of people. There is a lot of information in the book to suggest why certain games have been so popular and all its underlying reasons.

Read it For:
By reading this book, an individual can learn the fundamentals of gaming and why games are so much fun to play. A lot of theory and creative writing can be done during the initial stages of development of a game after going through this book. Therefore, the book can be a good source of information for game developers by providing them with in-depth information about the industry since its inception.
Don't Read it For:
Although one can build an idea to start working on a game yet the book is not a step by step guide to create one. It does not provide any concrete plan to develop a game from scratch. Similarly, there is only theoretical analysis of examples without any proof that can justify a result.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is only a 208 page book but the complete history of the gaming industry can be learnt through it. It is also helpful in understanding the dynamics behind popular games and the reasons that made them popular. These concepts can be used in future games with success.

Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish

This book by Lewis Pulsipher is a complete guide for making a game from the scratch. The author is a very reputed game designer and has listed out all the requirements that must be met for making a successful game. Every small intricacy has been dealt in the book very vividly so that a game designer can get benefited.

Read it For:
After reading this book, a game designer can understand all about the different types of games, the process of making a game, testing, technical aspects, all important requirements, prototype creation, level designing and understanding the audience's nature. There is also an industry terms glossary and a list of resources within the book that can be quite informative.
Don't Read it For:
This book may not be very helpful for people who may want to learn about contribution to the society through games. Also, the importance of story building in gaming is also not a part of this book.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book only has 276 pages yet it lists out all the needed parameters that may have to be adhered for making a game that works perfectly for players.

All of the above-mentioned books are the most sought-after list of popular books on Game Design. Such books help a lot to get a gauge on the latest design and other things.

 

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