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Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1592730018
ISBN-10: 1592730019
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Andrew and Ernest have compiled a wonderful book for both potential and experienced gamers alike. The best part about this book is the worksheets that appear in almost all the chapters. They enable you to stop and consider various game design questions even before starting your own design – questions such as "What process is the player going to manage?" "What actions will the player take in managing that process?" and "Who is the central character in the game, the player’s avatar?"

Here's what Will Wright (creator of The Sims and SimCity) says about the book: "A very useful book for anyone working in (or hoping to work in) interactive media. Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams approach the topic with very practical advice for both new and experienced designers."

We hope you like it, too. Please send me your thoughts.

Lisa Thibault, New Riders (lisa.thibault@newriders.com)

From the Author

Andrew Rollings:

This book contains our combined thoughts on the important issues that relate to designing games. We have chosen to address areas that we believe are important and under-served.

We offer a game design methodology intended to get your creative juices flowing. We discuss the central issues that every game designer must face, and pose a series of questions for you to ask yourself about the game that's in your head. The answers to those questions will move you along the path from idea to design. You are at the beginning of a voyage of discovery. The journey begins here.

Ernest Adams:

One day I received a letter from Andrew Rollings asking if I would like to co-author a book on game design. Andrew had already written the highly successful Game Architecture and Design with Dave Morris, so I knew he would be a good collaborator. It didn’t take me long to say yes. We first met in a restaurant, and blocked out the chapter plan over dinner. Andrew would write the chapters on storytelling and core mechanics, I would write the ones on concepts and worlds, and we’d split the genre chapters between us according to interest and experience.

Philosophically, we were very much on the same wavelength. We wanted to be definitive without being dictatorial, and comprehensive but still concise. We wanted to write a book that designers and students could turn to for specific advice. We don’t tell you exactly what to do. Instead we tell you what to think about, identifying the major questions that every designer must face. We don’t design your game for you; we give you the tools to help you design it yourself, including numerous examples from current and earlier games.

It has been a long, hard road. But we got there in the end and we’re proud of our work. We hope you’ll find it valuable.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (May 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592730019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592730018
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,367,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read "Game Architecture and Design", which I consider the best game design book written, I was anxious for the follow-up from Andrew Rollings. I was not disappointed. Overall, this book covers unique material, but is aimed more toward the less experienced game designer. It's a great companion to his first book.
I highly recommend both books, and I suggest reading this latest book, co-authored by Ernest Adams, first, and then follow-up with the larger, more advanced book co-authored by Dave Morris. Together, they provide a comprehensive guide to making fun, successful games.
Scott Miller, CEO
3D Realms
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Format: Paperback
As the global computer games industry becomes bigger business, and games are increasingly recognised as an art form, it seems surprising that the process of game design is so misunderstood. Books like Rollings and Adams on Game Design help clarify the process of game design, and as such are a vital step in clarifying game design, and providing guidance as to what that process entails.
Rollings and Adams on Game Design (hereafter, `the book') covers in broad strokes the elements of game design, both in general terms, and in connection with specific genres. The book begins by identifying the common elements of games of all kinds, and then moves on to discussing the many different classes of game, and what they have in common.
The first section, The Elements of Game Design, is an excellent treatment of the broad-strokes components of game design - a novice designer will find much to educate in this section, and even an experienced pro will find wisdom and opinion well worth the time and money. Topics such as narrative design and game balancing - often ignored - are dealt with in a generalised but comprehensive fashion, and as such this section also serves as an excellent introduction to the role of a game designer.
The main body of the book is in the second section, which consists of individual chapters covering various game genres. Because no single standard for game genre exists, the choice of genres may raise some eyebrows with some people, but within the context of the book the genre choices are very sensible and provide a good framework.
The quality of the genre chapters is variable, but generally of an excellent standard.
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Format: Paperback
The first half of this book is great, and the chapter on *What Gameplay Is* alone makes this book more than worth it. Rollings and Adams propose a new definition of game - to replace Sid Meier's off-the-cuff definition "A series of meaningful choices" - that is more general, more liberating, and more true. So anyone who is annoyed by the fact that their favorite linear platformer supposedly isn't a game by the Meier definition can turn to this. It sounds like a small thing, but so many designers quote the Meier definition so often I expect that this small pebble will create ripples that will effect the kinds of games we see in the future. By focusing on challenges rather than choices, Rollings and Adams have changed the way I think about game design.
Also, while Rollings' other book is most suited for people making strategy games, this book really is general enough to be a worthy read for anybody working on any kind of game.
I only gave it four stars because, for me, the last half of the book--summary chapters of different game genres--was mostly throwaway, rarely going into very much depth or telling me information I didn't know already.
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Format: Paperback
In writing a book review, it's important to realize the importance of "cover previews." In essance, the cover previews provide a contract for either what a book is about or what information the book will provide.
For instance, the back cover of the book On Game Design posits: "How do you turn a great idea into a game design? What makes one design better than another? Why does a good design document matter, and how do you write one? This book answers these questions and stimulates your creativity?"
It is important to note that the book does not limit itself to console video games or computer games. The essence of the rules discussed in this book are those of creating any type of game. Right away that should tell you whether or not you're going to find the book useful. Are you looking for a book that tells you, in general and abstract terms, what concepts are involved with creating a game, or are you looking for a book that actually works examples of concepts?
While this book does a good job of providing many checklists for consideration, advice for certain conditions, and a dictionary of possible ways to view game design, the writers do not follow through. There are few solid examples of checklist scenarios or of worked-through versions of a game scenario which a game designer would find helpful. Without a practical means to an end, there is little purpose in reading these examples except for reassurance that you're facing the same problem that other people have faced. There are many psychology texts available for that situation already.
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