Designing Games: A Guide to Engineering Experiences
Ready to give your design skills a real boost? This eye-opening book helps you explore the design structure behind most of today’s hit video games. You’ll learn principles and practices for crafting games that generate emotionally charged experiences—a combination of elegant game mechanics, compelling fiction, and pace that fully immerses players.
In clear and approachable prose, design pro Tynan Sylvester also looks at the day-to-day process necessary to keep your project on track, including how to work with a team, and how to avoid creative dead ends. Packed with examples, this book will change your perception of game design.
- Create game mechanics to trigger a range of emotions and provide a variety of play
- Explore several options for combining narrative with interactivity
- Build interactions that let multiplayer gamers get into each other’s heads
- Motivate players through rewards that align with the rest of the game
- Establish a metaphor vocabulary to help players learn which design aspects are game mechanics
- Plan, test, and analyze your design through iteration rather than deciding everything up front
- Learn how your game’s market positioning will affect your design
intended to quickly produce large numbers of diverse ideas. Different people and organizations each have quirks to their process. Some are nearly unstructured, while others use designated leaders to control the flow of conversation and record ideas. Brainstorming’s pretty well-known, so I won’t go into it further here. Brainstorming is good for generating ideas in volume. It is very bad for refining ideas, and the ideas it produces will vary widely in quality. Written Analysis Written
have no real core gameplay. Pointing and clicking aren’t a working game by themselves. These games are exceptions; they work because their experience is driven by content, not mechanics. Some games have multiple possible cores. Consider the open-world RPG Fallout 3. One core of Fallout 3 could be player character, guns, monsters. Another could be player character, dialogue, quests. A third might be player character, open world, world art. The three cores make the game a simplistic pure shooter,
organization, with a certain culture, arranged in a certain hierarchy, they became cogs in a machine of death. The political theorist Hannah Arendt called this the “banality of evil.” She understood that bureaucratic horrors are committed not by cackling madmen, but by legions of paper-pushers dutifully following their local incentives. Obviously nobody dies in game development. I use these examples to show that there is no limit to how much a poorly structured organization can taint its own
emergent story. We can look at emergent story in two ways: as a narrative tool, and as a technology for generating story content. Emergent story is a narrative tool because designers indirectly author a game’s emergent stories when they design game mechanics. For example, players of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood have experienced millions of unique emergent stories about medieval battles, daring assassinations, and harrowing rooftop escapes. But none of these players has ever experienced the
But we don’t have to solve every case. Griefing strategies lie along a spectrum of severity according to their entertainment value for the griefer, and their destructive effect on other players. The most severe strategies are very entertaining for the griefer and game-destroying for other players. Nonproblem strategies are those that either are not entertaining at all for the griefer, or don’t harm other players. For a game to work online, designers must identify the most severe griefing