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A Game Design Vocabulary: Exploring the Foundational Principles Behind Good Game Design

Book Description

Master the Principles and Vocabulary of Game Design

Why aren’t videogames getting better? Why does it feel like we’re playing the same games, over and over again? Why aren’t games helping us transform our lives, like great music, books, and movies do?

The problem is language. We still don’t know how to talk about game design. We can’t share our visions. We forget what works (and doesn’t). We don’t learn from history. It’s too hard to improve.

The breakthrough starts here. A Game Design Vocabulary gives us the complete game design framework we desperately need—whether we create games, study them, review them, or build businesses on them.

Craft amazing experiences. Anna Anthropy and Naomi Clark share foundational principles, examples, and exercises that help you create great player experiences…complement intuition with design discipline…and craft games that succeed brilliantly on every level.

  • Liberate yourself from stale clichés and genres

  • Tell great stories: go way beyond cutscenes and text dumps

  • Control the crucial relationships between game “verbs” and “objects”

  • Wield the full power of development, conflict, climax, and resolution

  • Shape scenes, pacing, and player choices

  • Deepen context via art, animation, music, and sound

  • Help players discover, understand, engage, and “talk back” to you

  • Effectively use resistance and difficulty: the “push and pull” of games

  • Design holistically: integrate visuals, audio, and controls

  • Communicate a design vision everyone can understand

Table of Contents

  1. About This eBook
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Praise for A Game Design Vocabulary
  5. Dedication Page
  6. Contents at a Glance
  7. Contents
  8. Foreword
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. About the Authors
  11. Part I: Elements of Vocabulary
    1. Chapter 1. Language
      1. Signs Versus Design
      2. Failures of Language
      3. A Voice Needs Words
      4. A Beginning
    2. Chapter 2. Verbs and Objects
      1. Rules
      2. Creating Choices
      3. Explaining with Context
      4. Objects
      5. The Physical Layer
      6. Character Development
      7. Elegance
      8. Real Talk
      9. Review
      10. Discussion Activities
      11. Group Activity
    3. Chapter 3. Scenes
      1. Rules in Scenes
      2. Shaping and Pacing
      3. Layering Objects
      4. Moments of Inversion
      5. Chance
      6. Real Talk
      7. Review
      8. Discussion Activities
      9. Group Activity
    4. Chapter 4. Context
      1. First Impressions
      2. Recurring Motifs
      3. Character Design
      4. Animation
      5. Scene Composition
      6. Camera
      7. Sound
      8. Real Talk
      9. Review
      10. Discussion Activities
      11. Group Activity
  12. Part II: Conversations
    1. Chapter 5. Creating Dialogue
      1. Players
      2. Creating Conversation
      3. Iterating to Fun and Beyond
      4. Your Conversation
    2. Chapter 6. Resistance
      1. Push and Pull
      2. Flow
      3. Alternatives to Flow
      4. Opening Up Space
      5. Opening Up Purpose
      6. The Pull of Rewards
      7. Time and Punishment
      8. Scoring and Reflection
      9. Review
      10. Discussion Activities
      11. Group Activity
    3. Chapter 7. Storytelling
      1. Pattern Recognition
      2. Authored Stories
      3. Interpreted Stories
      4. Open Stories
      5. Review
      6. Discussion Activities
      7. Group Activity
  13. Appendix A. Further Playing
    1. Achievement Unlocked (John Cooney, 2008)
    2. American Dream (Stephen Lavelle, Terry Cavanagh, Tom Morgan-Jones, and Jasper Byrne, 2011)
    3. Analogue: A Hate Story (Christine Love, 2012)
    4. The Banner Saga (Stoic, 2014)
    5. Candy Box (aniwey, 2013)
    6. Consensual Torture Simulator (Merritt Kopas, 2013)
    7. Corrypt (Michael Brough, 2012)
    8. Crypt of the Necrodancer (Ryan Clark, 2013)
    9. Dwarf Fortress (Tarn Adams, 2006)
    10. English Country Tune (Stephen Lavelle, 2011)
    11. Even Cowgirls Bleed (Christine Love, 2013)
    12. Gone Home (The Fullbright Company, 2013)
    13. Mighty Jill Off (Anna Anthropy, 2008)
    14. NetHack (NetHack Dev Team, 1987)
    15. Papers, Please (Lucas Pope, 2013)
    16. Persist (AdventureIslands, 2013)
    17. QWOP (Bennett Foddy, 2008) and GIRP (Bennett Foddy, 2011)
    18. Spelunky (Derek Yu, 2008)
    19. Triple Town (Spry Fox, 2011)
  14. Index