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Designing Games

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  26 reviews
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
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 21st 2013 by O'Reilly Media (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Ondrej Sykora
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you want to be a game designer, this is a book you should read. It is not targeted specifically on a certain type of games and most of the advice can be generalized to any genre. That said, it is clearly visible that the author has most experience with computer games and most of all narrative-driven 3D FPS games.

The book discusses both the toolbox of a game designer (narrative tools, balance tools, ...) and the usual processes used by the development teams (iteration, playtesting, communicati
Janpaul Bergeson
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have a feeling this book is going to be my game design bible. It puts into words and solidifies a lot of concepts I’ve been thinking about but couldn’t quite put my finger on.

For example, the fact that people play games not only because they’re “fun,” but because they trigger all sorts of emotions. I wouldn’t describe the creepily realistic fear of sharks and drowning that Subnautica gives me as fun, yet I keep wanting to play it.

There’s also a great discussion about elegance of design, which
Michal Domanski
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm speechless. What an excellent book. Every page is filled with invaluable wisdom. While the books title might indicate that this is a primer to game design, I would say this is actually a quite advanced game design book. And that's good, since there is a lack of literature which covers design related topics in more detail, giving generally applicable device.

There is one caveat to this however: I find one of the last chapters, the one about Authority, to be a bit disrespectful. The author spea
Catharine Lewis
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book 6 stars, I would. It is incredibly well thought-out and well written, illuminating incredibly complicated and nuanced subjects in a straightforward manner. The final two pages are a roaring crescendo of inspiration. They are a masterpiece even when viewed with no context.
Ahmed Gamal
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's brilliant!!
a great book for game design that cover many topics from the very basics to managing a team.

the only thing that can be better is the organization of the sections in each chapter. sometimes I don't know when the context changes.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Designing Games covers a lot of what goes into designing games, from the initial point of "Engineering Experiences" to how to Market and why we should even care about the craft.

Here are a few lessons I took from it:
Eric Zeltmann
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book, this takes you through not only the high level concepts, but the details that matter in creating a game. I think it's even worthwhile if you're not a game developer, but a developer in general. ...more
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend reading this one, easily one of the best, it approaches complex topics in a simple way, so much material here.
Hesam m
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt so upset when I reached the end pages, reading this book was a rich journey full of moments of fun, sadness and excitement.
Tynan has a lot to say in this book, from how emotions create experience to stack dependency (which was a quite helpful concept for me).
I highly recommend it to all game designers.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
It was a good read, but I keep not going back to this, so I'm giving up. ...more
Anton Borodko
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, well worth the time invested.
Pavel Kolev
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
It is okay-ish. There are some extraordinary chapters but then there are some that I gladly skipped. There are also topics I expected to get some info about that were missing
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jean-marie Prevost
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gamedev
A very detailed, insightful and content-heavy book which I found to be full of very valuable information as an indie game developer. Would definitely recommend to anyone interested in the subject.
Craig Dube
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As the title suggest, this is a book about game design and with a focus on computer games. While I enjoy playing computer games, I have no interest in developing a computer game. However what drew me into this title was the subtitle of "A Guide To Engineering Experiences". I myself work for a software company that makes business critical software that monitors and manages critical infrastructure. For some time now, I've thought that there is room for enterprise software to learn from games. Not ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
I found this book extremely disappointing. Not only does the author seem to suggest that he has more experience than he has, but he speaks with an authority on subjects that he really has no idea about. There were several passages that I found patronizing, but the one in particular that really spoke to me was the final sentence in his chapter 'Dependencies': "But in the end, it's the only way to do a task as hard as game design with small human minds."

Considering that he spent the entire chapter
Andrew Magee
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a spectacularly brilliant book. The advice was deep, wide and masterfully communicated. The made-up examples were surprisingly and pleasingly indepth and many of the real-life stories from the industry were fascinating. The book is almost completely non-technical and many of the ideas presented are relevant beyond game design; a wide range of ideas on psychology, management, and storytelling are presented. I actually somehow found the book exciting to read.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, this book seemed like a good introduction to the scope of game design, and I feel like I know more now about the skills and knowledge required to design games. I think it was a little heavy on vocabulary and terms coined or regurgitated by the author, but I appreciated the effort for clarity.
Tudor Ștefănescu
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computing
I'm not a game designer or even a game developer - I work in software and I play games - still, I found this book extremely interesting and even useful for getting a fresh look in how complex systems get to be made. Highly recommended if you have any interest in games: developer or (serious) player. ...more
Claire Botman
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it
For me, this book was a great insight into the psychology of gaming, what are the elements of games that make players want to keep coming back and progress further. These simple devices could be effective in non-game programs and software that might otherwise be dry & boring.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2015
Well-written, entertaining and highly informative, especially for this reader who knew very little on the topic. I learnt a lot about video games specifically but also much about the mechanics of games in general, fantasy and storytelling.
Chen Qiangpan
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gamedesign
Best game design book ever. As a video game designer for 12 years, I've learned so much from this book. Thank you Tynan. ...more
Sashko Valyus
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Хороша і незамінна книга для тих, хто хоче почати робити ігри.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gaming, nonfiction
Loved this book. Great introduction to thinking about game design in a structured way. A significant portion of the book is applicable to software development in general, as well.
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: games, nonfiction
Excellent take on the thinking processes involved in designing games. Feels like Robert McKee's Story book but for games. ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots of thought provoking ideas.

Many of the examples are from video games, but also from games like poker, chess, Go, etc.

Well worth reading, more than once.
rated it liked it
May 07, 2013
Marcin Jackowiak
rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2019
rated it liked it
Dec 10, 2017
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“Some imagine game development as a path that we follow toward our
destination. I disagree with this image. I think it’s more like a dark forest
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Each time you bump into one, it stings you and the poison makes you
feel warm and content. But under the surface, the stings are stealing your
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feeling you’ve enjoyed all this time wasn’t progress. It was death.”
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