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Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Want to design your own video games? Let expert Scott Rogers show you how!

If you want to design and build cutting-edge video games but aren't sure where to start, then the SECOND EDITION of the acclaimed Level Up! is for you! Written by leading video game expert Scott Rogers, who has designed the hits Pac Man World, Maximo and SpongeBob Squarepants, this updated edition provides clear and well-thought out examples that forgo theoretical gobbledygook with charmingly illustrated concepts and solutions based on years of professional experience.

Level Up! 2nd Edition has been NEWLY EXPANDED to teach you how to develop marketable ideas, learn what perils and pitfalls await during a game's pre-production, production and post-production stages, and provide even more creative ideas to serve as fuel for your own projects including:

  • Developing your game design from the spark of inspiration all the way to production

  • Learning how to design the most exciting levels, the most precise controls, and the fiercest foes that will keep your players challenged

  • Creating games for mobile and console systems - including detailed rules for touch and motion controls

  • Monetizing your game from the design up

  • Writing effective and professional design documents with the help of brand new examples

  • Level Up! 2nd Edition is includes all-new content, an introduction by David "God of War" Jaffe and even a brand-new chili recipe -making it an even more indispensable guide for video game designers both "in the field" and the classroom.

    Grab your copy of Level Up! 2nd Edition and let's make a game!

    Table of Contents

      1. Foreword
      2. Introduction: Press Start!
        1. If You Are Anything Like Me . . .
        2. No, You Can’t Have My Job
        3. Who Is This Book For?
        4. Why a Second Edition?
      3. Level 1: Welcome, N00bs!
        1. A Brief History of Video Games
        2. The Brave New World of Gaming: Mobiles, Online Distribution, and Touchscreens
        3. Game Genres
        4. Who Makes This Stuff?
          1. Programmer
          2. Artist
          3. Designer
          4. Producer
          5. Tester
          6. Composer
          7. Sound Designer
          8. Writer
        5. Have You Thought about Publishing?
          1. Product Manager
          2. Creative Manager
          3. Art Director
          4. Technical Director
          5. Marketing Team
          6. And the Rest . . .
      4. Level 2: Ideas
        1. Ideas: Where to Get Them and Where to Stick Them
        2. Getting Ahead of the Game
        3. What Do Gamers Want?
        4. Brainstorming
        5. Breaking Writer’s Block
        6. Why I Hate “Fun”
      5. Level 3: Writing the Story
        1. Once Upon a Time . . .
        2. The Triangle of Weirdness
        3. A Likely Story
        4. Time to Wrap It Up
        5. A Game by Any Other Name
        6. Creating Characters Your Players Care About
        7. A Few Pointers on Writing for Kids of All Ages
        8. Writing for Licenses
      6. Level 4: You Can Design a Game, but Can You Do the Paperwork?
        1. Writing the GDD, Step 1: The One-Sheet
          1. ESRB Ratings
          2. Unique Selling Points
          3. Competitive Products
        2. Writing the GDD, Step 2: The Ten-Pager
          1. The Rule of Threes
          2. The Ten-Pager Outline
        3. Writing the GDD, Step 3: Gameplay Progression
        4. Writing the GDD, Step 4: The Beat Chart
        5. Writing the GDD, Step 5: The Game Design Document (and the Awful Truth about Writing It)
        6. Writing the GDD, Step 6: Above All, Don’t Be a Jerk
      7. Level 5: The Three Cs, Part 1: Character
        1. Who Do You Want To Be Today?
          1. Personality: Do We Really Need Another Kratos?
          2. Let’s Get Personal
          3. Using All the Parts
          4. Games Without Characters
          5. We Are Not Alone
          6. When More Is More
          7. Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?
        2. Finally, We Talk About Gameplay
          1. Metrics for Non-Characters
          2. Be Kind to Our Four-Legged Friends
          3. Why Walk When You Can Run?
          4. The Art of Doing Nothing
          5. Might as Well Jump
          6. Hoists and Teeters
          7. What Goes Up Must Fall Down
          8. Me and My Shadow
          9. The Water’s Fine . . . or Is It?
      8. Level 6: The Three Cs, Part 2: Camera
        1. Get It Right: Camera Views
        2. First Person Camera
        3. Third Person Camera
        4. Giving Up Control
          1. So You’ve Decided to Let the Player Control the Camera
          2. So You’ve Decided Not to Let the Player Have Control over the Camera
          3. So You’ve Decided to Let Players Sometimes Have Control over the Camera
        5. Two and a Half D
        6. Isometric Camera
        7. Top-Down Camera
        8. AR Cameras
        9. Special Case Cameras
        10. Tunnel Vision
        11. Camera Shot Guide
        12. Camera Angle Guide
        13. Camera Movement Guide
        14. Other Camera Notes
          1. Always Point the Camera to the Objective
          2. Never Let the Character Get out of the Camera’s Sight
        15. Multiple-Player Cameras
      9. Level 7: The Three Cs, Part 3: Controls
        1. Control Is in Your Hand
        2. You’ve Got the Touch
        3. Dance, Monkey, Dance
        4. Character or Camera Relative?
        5. Shake, Rattle, and Roll
      10. Level 8: Sign Language: HUD and Icon Design
        1. Heads Up!
          1. Health Bar
          2. Targeting Reticule
          3. Ammo Gauge
          4. Inventory
          5. Score/Experience
          6. Positive Messaging
          7. Radar/Map
          8. Context-Sensitive Prompts
          9. The Clean Screen
          10. Icon Has Cheezburger?
          11. Creating Icons for Mobile Games
          12. Don’t Get QTE
          13. HUDs and Where to Stick ‘Em
        2. There Are Other Screens Than the HUD
        3. A Final Word on Fonts
      11. Level 9: Everything I Learned About Level Design, I Learned from Level 9
        1. The Top 10 Cliché Video Game Themes
        2. The Name Game
        3. Everything I Learned About Level Design, I Learned from Disneyland
          1. Mapping the World
          2. Foreshadowing
          3. Goal Setting
        4. Following Procedure
        5. You’ve Got the Beat
        6. Re-using Re-use
        7. The Gary Gygax Memorial Mapping Section
        8. Sandbox Play
        9. Illusional Narrative
        10. The Dave Arneson Memorial Mapping Section
        11. Wrapping Up Mapping
        12. Gray Matters
        13. Leave the Training Level for Last
        14. Levels without Characters
      12. Level 10: The Elements of Combat
        1. 400 Quatloos on the Newcomer!
        2. Put ‘Em Up!
        3. And a One and a Two . . .
        4. The Big Finish
        5. Live by the Sword . . .
        6. Now You Have to Kiss Me
        7. Let’s Get Defensive
        8. Dodging the Bullet
        9. On Guarding
        10. State of the Art Bang Bang
        11. The Best Gun for You
        12. Run and Gun
        13. Not Just Shooting
        14. Dang it, Jones! Where <i xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xmlns:epub="http://www.idpf.org/2007/ops">Doesn&#8217;t</i> It Hurt? It Hurt?
        15. Death: What Is It Good For?
        16. Conflict Without Combat
      13. Level 11: They All Want You Dead
        1. Sizing Up the Enemy
        2. Bad Behavior
        3. How Rapid is Rapid?
        4. Movement Style
        5. Bring on the Bad Guys
        6. I Love Designing Enemies
          1. The Alphabetical Bestiary of Choices
        7. I Hate You to Pieces
        8. Non-Enemy Enemies
        9. How to Create the World’s Greatest Boss Battle
        10. Who’s the Boss?
        11. Size Matters
        12. Location, Location, Location
        13. Why Not to Create the World’s Greatest Boss Battle
      14. Level 12: The Nuts and Bolts of Mechanics
        1. The Mechanics of Mechanics
        2. Holy Death Trap!
        3. What I Learned from Making Kids Cry
        4. Time to Die
        5. The Music of Mechanics
        6. Chip Off the Old Block
        7. A Nice Little Calm Spot
        8. Riddle Me This
        9. Puzzle Me That
        10. Minigames and Microgames
      15. Level 13: Now You’re Playing with Power
        1. Powering Up
        2. “Love Thy Player”
        3. Seriously. “Love Thy Player.”
        4. More Wealth Than You Can Imagine!
          1. High Score
          2. Achievements
          3. Money! Money! Money!
          4. Souvenirs
        5. Bonus Section about Bonus Features
        6. How to Win at Losing
      16. Level 14: Multiplayer—The More the Merrier
        1. How Many Is the Right Number?
        2. MMORPGS, or Hell Is Other People
        3. Designing Multiplayer Levels
          1. Planning Your Level
          2. Mapping Your Level
          3. Building Your Level
          4. The Dirty Half Dozen
      17. Level 15: Everybody Wins: Monetization
        1. Cashing In
        2. Money Is the Root of Something Something
      18. Level 16: Some Notes on Music
        1. I Know It When I Hear It
        2. Music with Style
        3. And the Beat Goes On. . .
        4. Sounds Like a Game to Me
      19. Level 17: Cutscenes, or No One’s Gonna Watch ‘Em Anyway
        1. A Cut Above
        2. How to Write a Screenplay in Eight Easy Steps
        3. Finding Your Voice
      20. Level 18: And Now the Hard Part
        1. No One Cares About Your Stupid Little World
        2. Who’s Paying?
        3. Video Games Is a Haaaard Business
          1. When Reality Gets in the Way
          2. Emergent, Vertical, or Horizontal?
        4. What to Do for an Encore?
      21. Continue?
        1. Time to Level Up!
      22. BONUS LEVEL 1: The One-Sheet Sample
      23. BONUS LEVEL 2: The Ten-Page Design Document.Sample
      24. BONUS LEVEL 3: Game Design Document Template
      25. BONUS LEVEL 4: The Medium-Sized List of.Story.Genres
      26. BONUS LEVEL 5: Game Genres
      27. BONUS LEVEL 6: The Big List of Environments
      28. BONUS LEVEL 7: Mechanics and Hazards
      29. BONUS LEVEL 8: Enemy Design Template
      30. BONUS LEVEL 9: Boss Design Template
      31. BONUS LEVEL 10: High-Concept Pitch Presentation
      32. BONUS LEVEL 11: Achievement Unlocked: Exactly Like Making Chili
      33. About the Author