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Fundamentals of Game Design Paperback – Sep 13 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (Sept. 13 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131687476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131687479
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 3.2 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,450,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Commercial game design at it's best Jan. 19 2010
By Nicholas DiMucci - Published on
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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does not offer a complete and practical approach to game design April 19 2013
By Panos - Published on
Format: Paperback
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? 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.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All Right May 8 2010
By B. Nye - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this as a text for a grad-level game design class. The book is all right, though nothing amazing. For someone who has played a decent amount of games in my life, it mainly seemed to just label things I already knew. There were a few interesting sections, but I probably could have learned much of that just from looking at some online articles on game design. This book might be more valuable for someone who doesn't tend to think much about the underlying mechanics of the games they play, however. On the bright side, it's an easy read and it makes sense. The depth isn't all that great, though.

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.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want help in designing you game buy this book Feb. 10 2009
By 4th year Animation Student - Published on
Format: Paperback
I own about every game design book there is. This one actually helps me in designing my game. At the end of each chapter is a section that provides questions to ask yourself when your designing. This alone is worth the price of the book. Only negative is that its text focuses on digital games, but most of the principles will still apply to paper prototypes.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning and the end of game design books Dec 25 2012
By Shea T. Harvey - Published on
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.