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Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Third Edition Paperback – Mar 5 2014
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"Game Design Workshop is a truly great book and has become, in my opinion, the de facto standard text for beginner- to intermediate-level game design education. This updated new edition is extremely relevant, useful, and inspiring to all kinds of game designers."
―Richard Lemarchand, Interactive Media & Games Division, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
"This is the perfect time for a new edition. The updates refresh elements of the book that are important as examples, but don’t radically alter the thing about the book that is great: a playcentric approach to game design."
―Colleen Macklin, Associate Professor, Parsons The New School for Design
"Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop covers pretty much everything a working or wannabe game designer needs to know. She covers game theory, concepting, prototyping, testing, and tuning, with stops along the way to discuss what it means to a professional game designer and how to land a job. When I started thinking about my game studies course at the University of Texas at Austin, this was one book I knew I had to use."
―Warren Spector, Creative Director, Junction Point Studios
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I think the best way to approach this volume is to read it and tackle the examples and actively workshop an idea rather than attempting to learn all of the steps needed to take an idea all the way through to production.
I am not a game designer, nor do I have aspirations of becoming one (or any of the other roles involved in producing a game). My son is into this stuff and often bounces ideas off of me. I thought Game Design Workshop would provide the guidance and resources so I can tutor him and guide him through fleshing out his ideas. This book is thorough and interesting and very detailed and an excellent resource and guide.
My first impression of this book was that it reminds me of another book that I read years ago; "Game Design: Secrets of the Sages" by Marc Saltzman. Except that book didn't have the workshop component that this book does. Like that that earlier book, this 'Game Design Workshop' includes a ton of content from people throughout the video game industry - from instructors, to designers, and publishers. And not just video games - other games are examined. For instance, there is a piece on the game 'Magic: The Gathering' by Richard Garfield. The interviews and profiles make for some interesting reading. I suggest if you can - download the Kindle sample and read the Acknowledgments page (XVII), its over two pages (double columns) of game designers, industry people, and educators who provided information for this book. I found when hunting that other book, that I also have a copy of the second edition of this Game Design Workshop.
This book is meant to be a textbook - either for someone learning on their own or for use in a classroom setting. There are exercises scattered throughout the chapters - the exercises range in complexity from simple reflections to actually conceptualizing a game and building it. I went an looked online, but was surprised to not find any sort of curriculum for this book or the exercises on the publisher's website. Not really a big deal, it wouldn't take much for a teacher to create some useable course work for this book.
The Game Design Workshop is divided into three parts, Game Design Basics, Designing a Game, and Working as a Game Designer. Each of these could be the basis for an individual course of study. Something that I liked is there are further reading suggestions at the end of every chapter. I found that I have a number of the suggested books.
One of the first things I like to do with a book like this one, is to peruse the index. I tend to be a bit nonlinear when reading a book like this and a good index is important for doing that. The index in this book weighs in at eleven pages. Course, I went and looked up all the pages for my favorite video games and designers. Found a lot of them represented, but not surprising most from the early days of DOS wasn't included. But other than for a historic perspective, those probably aren't needed in a book like this.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in game design, and if I was still teaching I would have pushed to include it into my classes' curriculum.
This book is a frank guide to the real world of making and publishing games, using a systematic process where you learn techniques, test a few concepts, reengineer the game to make it fresh, effective, and fun, both for style and substance, and onward from there.
I found the highly readable book fascinating, cover to cover, and it was not unlike taking a class from an expert indie developer. It is quite a challenge to produce every stage in the production of a really good indie game, but it's something some people seem to be able to do over and over, and I think it's because they have a process similar to the one in this book.
If you have the knack and the interest, you are doing yourself a favor to read this book.