Game design is part art and a science, because of that it requires a deep understanding of various disciplines. These include, but are in no way limited to, programming, art, psychology, and storytelling. Whether you’re already a game designer or simply a passionate enthusiast, there are plenty of books out there that can help you learn the craft or hone your skills. In this post, we’ll take a look at the six best books about game design.
“The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses” by Jesse Schell
This is a gaming bible. It is one of the most comprehensive guide to game design, covering everything from game mechanics to player psychology. The author, Jesse Schell, is a renowned game designer and professor of game design at Carnegie Mellon University. In this book, he shares his insights on what makes a great game and offers practical advice on how to design one. Schell organizes the book into a set of “lenses,” which provide a variety of understanding (and making) games. By using these lenses, designers can identify potential problems and come up with creative solutions. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, this book is a must-read.
“Game Programming Patterns” by Robert Nystrom
If you’re looking for something more practical, this might be it. “Game Programming Patterns” is a practical guide to writing efficient and maintainable code for games. Robert Nystrom is a software engineer and game developer with years of experience in the industry, and this book sees him share his insights on how to write code that is easy to read, debug, and modify. Nystrom covers a wide range of topics, including data structures, algorithms, and design patterns. By following the patterns presented in the book, you can write code that is reusable and scalable. Whether you’re a programmer or a designer, this book will help you write better code for your games.
“Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design” by Scott Rogers
If you’re not much of a reader, the idea of reading about game design might sound like a snore. Well, look no further! “Level Up!” is a fun and informative guide to game design that covers everything from concept to launch. Penned by Scott Rogers, a game designer and creative director with over 20 years of experience in the industry, the book shares his extensive knowledge on how to create engaging gameplay, memorable characters, and immersive worlds. The book is brimming with practical advice, examples, and exercises that will help you develop your skills as a designer. Whether you’re a student, a hobbyist, or a professional, this book is a great resource for anyone interested in game design.
“A Theory of Fun for Game Design” by Raph Koster
If you’re more into philosophy and theory, Raph Kosters book might be for you. This title is a thought-provoking interrogation if the nature of games and why we play them. While Ralph is a game designer and writer with years of experience in the industry, in this book he side-lines practice and argues that games are fundamentally about learning and that the key to creating a great game is to make it fun to learn. But don’t worry, the book is filled with colourful illustrations and examples that make the author’s points digestible.
“Game Feel: A Game Designer’s Guide to Virtual Sensation” by Steve Swink
“Game Feel” is a unique book that focuses on the sensory aspects of game design. It unpicks exactly what it is that makes certain games feel so good to play. Written by Steve Swink, a game designer and programmer with a passion for creating games that feel great to play, the book explores the variety of ways in which games can create different sensations, such as weight, friction, and impact. The book is filled with practical advice, examples, and exercises that will help you create games that feel great to play.
This book is a great example of taking one precise part of game design, and running with it. Exploring game feel in great depth.
“Designing Games: A Guide to Engineering Experiences” by Tynan Sylvester
If you want another compendium of everything you need to know, “Designing Games” is just that. It is a comprehensive guide to game design that covers everything from ideation to playtesting—with a particular focus on practical tips. Given author Tynan Sylvester’s long history as a game designer and programme, you know these tips are coming from a good place.
From cover to cover, he shares his insights on how to create games that are fun, engaging, and rewarding, covering everything you need to know, including game mechanics, storytelling, and monetization. By following the principles presented in the book, you can create games that are not only fun to play but also commercially successful.
As we all know by this point, game design is a complex and fascinating field that requires a deep understanding of various disciplines. The six books listed above are some of the best resources available for anyone interested in starting their journey into game design or improving their skills. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, these books hold valuable knowledge, insights and inspiration that will help you create great games that people will love. So pick up a copy of one of these books and start designing your next masterpiece! Who knows, maybe you’ll make the next Minecraft! Speaking of which, if you’re a fan of the game you can get cheap Minecraft Hypixel coins!