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Fundamentals of Game Design (New Riders Games) Paperback – 14 Sep 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 700 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 2 edition (14 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321643372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321643377
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 3.7 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,218,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Author

Our book has been adopted as at textbook at MIT, Georgia Tech, Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic, and numerous other institutions around the world.

Fundamentals of Game Design is an updated edition of our earlier work, Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. This version contains so much new material that Prentice Hall gave it a new title. The earlier book caught on as a textbook, so in this one we have added more features to help instructors and students. It now has multiple choice questions and exercises at the end of every chapter. We've also kept the worksheets of questions to ask yourself about your design, which were a popular feature of the older work. In fact, we put in so much new stuff that we had to move two of the chapters from the old book (Online Games and The Future of Gaming) onto the new Companion Website at Prentice Hall.

Fundamentals is more rigorous than Rollings and Adams was, and more comprehensive. It now includes more formal definitions of such important concepts as gameplay, core mechanics, interaction models, and the storytelling engine. We have also increased our emphasis on design process, with more how-to information than the earlier book had. We've written four new chapters, a glossary, and an appendix, and expanded our discussion in a number of places.

Here are the names of the new chapters:

- Design Components and Processes. We break the game into key components, and propose a process for doing game design based on current industry practice.

- Creative and Expressive Play. The previous book only touched upon these important aspects of video gaming in the context of other things. We now give them a chapter to themselves.

- Core Mechanics. In Rollings and Adams we had one chapter on mechanics, called The Internal Economy of Games and Game Balancing. We've split it into two: one called Core Mechanics and one called Game Balancing. This time we go into much more detail about what mechanics are and how to design them. The balancing chapter is also longer.

- General Principles of Level Design. This was an area that we just didn't have time to address in the previous book. Level design is a critically important part of the job, and though we can't cover everything, we now provide a solid grounding in the basics.

- Appendix: Designing to Appeal to Particular Groups. We added this to cover a number of issues that designers ought to know about choosing a target audience: men and women, adults and children, girls and boys, and how to make your game more accessible to people with impairments of various kinds. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

To create a great video game, you must start with a solid game design: A well-designed game is easier to build, more entertaining, and has a better chance of succeeding in the marketplace. Here to teach you the essential skills of player-centric game design is one of the industry’s leading authorities, who offers a first-hand look into the process, from initial concept to final tuning.

Now in its second edition, this updated classic reference by Ernest Adams offers a complete and practical approach to game design, and includes material on concept development, gameplay design, core mechanics, user interfaces, storytelling, and balancing. In an easy-to-follow approach, Adams analyzes the specific design challenges of all the major game genres and shows you how to apply the principles of game design to each one. You’ll learn how to:

  • Define the challenges and actions at the heart of the gameplay.
  • Write a high-concept document, a treatment, and a full design script.
  • Understand the essentials of user interface design and how to define a game’s look and feel.
  • Design for a variety of input mechanisms, including the Wii controller and multi-touch iPhone.
  • Construct a game’s core mechanics and flow of resources (money, points, ammunition, and more).
  • Develop appealing stories, game characters, and worlds that players will want to visit, including persistent worlds.
  • Work on design problems with engaging end-of-chapter exercises, design worksheets, and case studies.
  • Make your game accessible to broader audiences such as children, adult women, people with disabilities, and casual players.

“Ernest Adams provides encyclopedic coverage of process and design issues for every aspect of game design, expressed as practical lessons that can be immediately applied to a design in-progress. He offers the best framework I’ve seen for thinking about the relationships between core mechanics, gameplay, and player―one that I’ve found useful for both teaching and research.” ― Michael Mateas, University of California at Santa Cruz, co-creator of Façade

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is full of theory, which is good, but while it promises:
- a complete and practical approach to game design
- to teach you how to write a treatment, and a full design script
- that it includes design worksheets

... it doesn't deliver!

The lack of design documents is its very weak point! They're supposed to be available for download from the publisher's website but they are not! In other words, if you register to the publisher's website you'll end up receiving promotional e-mails but no design documents.

It is extremely difficult to apply the theory learned in the book to practice without having sample design documents to work with. Although, sample design documents can be found for free online, it is very difficult -and sometimes impossible- to match the layout of these samples to the theory learned in the book. So, there's no practical approach in the book, just theory...

After contacting the publisher regarding the lack of availability of the design documents, the response came late and was unacceptable: "We decided not to provide design documents but include end-of-chapter design practice questions". Nevertheless, the book's description promises both "engaging end-of-chapter exercises", and "design worksheets" but the latter are just not delivered.

What's more, the end-of-chapter design practice questions, which are supposed to lead someone to create the design documents(per communication with the publisher), are mostly theoretical and directed towards a college student,
e.g. "Does my game require a physical dimension? What is it used for? Is it essential part of gameplay or merely cosmetic?",
and "How much detail can I afford in my game? Will it be rich and varied or sparse and uncluttered?
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's great, but...

I've been a developer and armchair game designer for years, and although this book provides great structure and perspective, and introduced me to some new terminology, not much of what it presented was exactly new to me.

If you have no idea about game design, it's probably fantastic. If you have a vague idea, you might not learn too much, but at least you'll get a great summary of everything.
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This was recommended as part of the course I am taking in University, and was the first book I bought in two semesters. I did not regret this buy and it sits in my small but growing collection right now.

It is an easy read, by which I mean it doesn't bog you down with definition after definition or the likes. It engages your thinking as a game designer and provides plenty of interesting well sourced topics.

It helped me on my course and I can see it helping me in the future as well. A truly well structured documentation about the world of game design. I say go for it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a possible introductory text book for students who are new to games. It was very good for this task. Very thorough descriptions and very well chosen examples.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 24 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Your Core Design Principles Here 20 July 2016
By Devbyskc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are a solo indie designer/developer I strongly recommend reading this book. The author, in my opinion, has done the best job in explaining the foundational principles of game design. I have read several game design books over the past 3 years to learn how to design games, and then to development. Granted it has been a part-time effort as I work full-time, but I wish I had read this book first. The others I have read seem to be geared to serious game design students in a formal course of study; or new game designers working in a AAA studio. I learned some,but had to filter a lot of the material as it didn't seem to fit the solo, indie designer/developer. Ernest Adams shoves that approach aside and gets down to the very basics all game designers need to understand, regardless of genre or style of work. He presents the material in a clear and understandable prose with examples from all genres to demonstrate their universality. After reading this book I would also highly recommend reading Ernest Adams other book Game Mechanics (see my review).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning and the end of game design books 25 Dec. 2012
By Shea T. Harvey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written by the man who founded the IGDA, this is the best starting point to understanding video game design. Written like a true textbook I found the information to be very relevant, concise and well organized. The assignments and questions at the end of each chapter are designed with real world situations in mind. It is rare that we game designers ever get to build for ourselves. More often we are working for development companies and the exercises have this in mind. I hope they update this sooner rather than later as the information does not have much about motion capture or the new motion interfaces but hopefully they will include more in the next edition. Awesome resource that I recommend for beginners to intermediate.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest resource for game design I've found. 2 Nov. 2012
By Rustan M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Adams is a terrific author - he provides simple, clear guidelines for Game Design. I had a question about the book and emailed him and he got right back to me very quickly! Awesome.

I just can't say enough about this book. Buy it and read it is all I can say - if you're serious about game design you will find what you need in this book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Commercial game design at it's best 19 Jan. 2010
By Nicholas DiMucci - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ernest Adams brings to us a bible in commercial game design. Commercial is the keyword, as you'll be taught how to make a commercial game that will appeal to publishers and the masses alike. Some of the material may be a bit obvious to gamers and already working game designers, but don't over estimate the power of having someone actually spell it out to you, bringing many themes, ideas and rules from the depths of your subconscious to the forefront. This book also brings to light fine details that you wouldn't normally think about when designing a game, but are extremely critical in the overall design work.

If you are ready to design commercially appealing games, then this is your book. If you are more of an independent developer, looking to break the mold that most publishers wouldn't dare to fund, then perhaps you should look elsewhere.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Game Design Tool 23 Oct. 2013
By Lixcy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So I bought this book because I was asked for it at college. I really think it is great for students who are just starting with game design, it explains everything you need to know in simple words anyone can understand. I loved it.
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