Fundamentals of Game Design Paperback – Sep 13 2006
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About the Author
Ernest Adams (Normandy, U.K.) is an independent game designer, writer, and teacher. He has worked in the game industry for 20 years. Ernest was most recently employed as a lead designer at Bullfrog Productions on the Dungeon Keeper series, and for several years before that he was the audio/video producer on the Madden NFL Football product line for Electronic Arts. For the last ten years he has written a regular column on game design for the Gamasutra developers' webzine. He was the founder of the International Game Developers' Association, and is a frequent lecturer at conferences and arts festivals around the world. His professional web site is at http://www.designersnotebook.com. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
- 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? How does this affect the way the game is played?"
...are supposedly both questions that would help someone who has never seen a game design document before, and lead him to create one (per the publisher's claims).
To give some credit to the book: It has taught me that design decisions must be very detailed, and for this reason I consider "practice" questions such as "How much detail can I afford in my game?" to be very general, and to not help in the actual -detailed- description and specifications that a design document for the game world necessitates.
The funny thing is that the book's accompanying design documents are indeed available for download to instructors only! I really cannot see why they don't give them to everyone who purchased the book! If their target audience is college students they should make it clear in their description, and avoid misleading others with claims that the book provides a practical approach, because it just doesn't.
So, all in all, the book is great for teaching theory, but the lack of accompanying design documents reduce its value greatly for the audience who wants a practical approach to game design. A great book for college students and those who want to read theory, but don't expect to build a game reading this book, if you don't have an instructor, or without reading other books that take a real practical approach!
Last but not least, the book is geared towards PC and Console games, with only a very small reference to Mobile games.
Also, if you are looking for assistance in actually MAKING a game this won't help you at all. This is basically 100% conceptual, with no guidance on actually implementing a game in any way, shape, or form. It's clearly written for people who are planning on making computer games, however, as many of the concepts and examples aren't the best fits if you trying to do table top gaming.
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