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Designing Games That People Want to Play

Video Description

A lot of courses will teach you how to make a video game. This course is different: instead of teaching you how to use a game development engine or do cool programming tricks, we'll talk about video games and the nature of fun. What this course is about is the nature of fun and the analytical thought processes successful game designers employ to make games that people really want to play.

You'll learn how to use the MDA (Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics) framework to analyze different components of games; how to shape the stories that players tell themselves; and how gameplay design creates specific feelings in your players. By the end of the course, you'll come away with an appreciation for both high-level and low-level gameplay design decisions, plus an understanding of details like: why the blue shell in Mario Kart is more likely to appear when you're in last place, and how horror games are scary because of more than just the graphics.

  • Understand why games are fun and exactly what we mean by fun
  • Discover why certain games work and how to design for specific types of fun
  • Explore games through the lens of the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics framework
  • Understand how gameplay design shapes each player's internal narrative
Jon Manning is a writer, teacher, and game developer. Co-founder of the Secret Lab, an independent game development studio based in Hobart, Tasmania, Jon has created instant messaging apps, top-down puzzlers for iOS, and mobile games for ABC Australia and Qantas Airways. Jon also contributed to "Night in the Woods" (2017), where he created the dialogue system used in the game. He is the author of many O'Reilly titles, including his highly popular series on video game development using the Unity game engine.