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Game Design: Theory and Practice (2nd Edition) (Wordware Game Developer's Library) Paperback – August 30, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1556229121 ISBN-10: 1556229127 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Wordware Game Developer's Library
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2 edition (August 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556229127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556229121
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Rouse III is design director at Surreal Software, a Midway Home Entertainment studio. Most recently, he was project lead, lead designer, and writer on the action-horror game The Suffering. His credits also include Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates, Centipede 3D, Damage Incorporated, and Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis. Rouse has written about game design for publications including Game Developer, SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics, Develop, Gamasutra,, and Inside Mac Games, and has spoken on game development numerous times at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Customer Reviews

It is clear, and a joy to read.
Miriam Esther Puente Rodriguez
It also includes great interviews with some of the most progressive designers in the industry's history.
Gabriel Dizon
I recommend this book to anyone interested in learning how to design computer games.
Rennie Sequin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By J. Fristrom on April 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I work on video games professionally as a programmer, but I read a lot of books on design because that is the most challenging aspect of what we do. Technology is a solved problem; project management is getting there; that leaves the black hole of design. Of the books I've read, Richard Rouse's is the best. Where most books on game design treat you as if you have somehow landed in the position of creative director for a thirty man team -- and now you need help -- Rouse's book covers everything from level design in the trenches to the concept work of the lead designer. They say those who can't do, write, but Richard is an exception, with a few above average games in his ludography (and a flop or two, just like me). And when his knowledge isn't enough, he supplants it with interviews with the greats. Although it's true that some of the greats are no longer in the game, their advice is still valuable. (One thing that all of them agree on is the value of other people playtesting, whether it's Ed Logg field testing coin-op machines or Steve Meretzky looking at transcripts of people playing text adventures.) This book is also a survey of current trends in game design, from simulation to emergent strategy to meaningful choices. It provoked me to think deeper than I had before.
So why only four stars?
Yes, it is somewhat dated. Interviews with John Carmack, Warren Spector, and Jason Uyeda would be more relevant than the coin-op/PC game gurus presented here.
Furthermore, I could have used less survey and more depth. Take emergent strategies, for example: he touches on this concept, says that It Is Good, but without really giving it the treatment it deserves: how does one create a game in which emergent strategies develop? What are the costs of such an approach to game design?
Still, if you only read one book on game design, this should be it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin E. Sones on June 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
The people below that are bashing on this book for not being technical or specific enough obviously didn't examine it very closely before they purchased it. The introduction clearly states that the book is about game theory--it's not intended to be a programming primer (as Mr. Rouse points out, there are already plenty of those available). And honestly, more developers should more consideration to the topics presented in this book before they dive into their projects, because while programming a game may not be an art, creating one certainly is.
Most of the topics covered arer fairly timeless (the technology may have marched on, but the a lot of the design issues are pretty much the same today as they were five or ten years ago). The interviews are a good read even if you have absolutely no interest in getting into game design. Overall, I'd recommend it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dave Astle VINE VOICE on May 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Each of the chapters of this book fall into one of three categories: an interview with a prominent game designer, an analysis of a successful game, or a discussion of game design principles. Each is valuable for different reasons, so I'd like to review each of them separately.
The interviews are interesting, and go into much greater depth than most interviews you see. As a result, you're able to get a good idea of how each designer approaches the game design process, which can be useful in analyzing your own methods.
The chapters analyzing games focused on a single game, but also looked at similar games in the genre. If you're an aspiring game designers, you'll benefit from these chapters. Partially because you will see what these games did well, but moreso because they will encourage you to analyze the design aspects of the games you're playing to see what they do right, what they do wrong, and how you can apply that to your own designs.
About half of the chapters of the book cover various aspects of game design, presenting the author's own theories about what's important, what isn't, and the things you should be thinking about. It's hard to review the value of this; some of it you'll agree with, and some of it you may not. Depending on your degree of experience, some of it may be obvious, some of it may be new, and some of it may help you focus on areas you've been neglecting.
Overall, I wouldn't consider this book a must-have, but if you're interested in becoming a well-rounded and successful game designer, there's a lot in here that will be of value to you.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Max Woodward on March 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I don't know of any other book which covers the topic of computer game design as well or in as much detail as this one. It goes over all the steps a game designer must go through in order to see his game to completion, from intial idea to plyatesting. The chapter that analyzes what players are looking for in the games they play is truly great. It also includes some of the best interviews I have ever seen with brilliant designers like Sid Meier and Will Wright. While so many other game development books deal with programming, this is finally a book someone more interested in the design side of development will find fascinating.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "colinl53" on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
What I like most about this book is how it completely avoids technical implementation issues to focus on something altogether more intangible: making fun interactive experiences for players. I've bought many books wanting to learn more about computer game design, but almost always got bogged down in programming information that would be dated within two years. Sure programming's important to game development, but it's not the hardest part of the process: coming up with a game that's fun is. These days projects have large teams and game designers almost always don't do any programming on the games they design. This is exactly the book that a game designer working in the industry today (or who wants to enter the industry) needs to read and study.
Following in the footsteps of Chris Crawford's great but out of print The Art of Computer Game Design (another book that hasn't dated with the passing of the years), Richard Rouse's book cuts away the technical side to explore the artistic side of game development. When so many of today's games are just glorified technology demos, the writing of this design book was a commendable undertaking, and, as it turns out, is a terrifically good read. The author's passion for the subject is obvious on every page, and though his pronouncements of the best way to design a game may seem preachy, when I thought about each topic he covered, I found little to disagree with. Furthermore, the long interviews provide more useful game design lessons than I've found in all the game programming books I've ever read. And the rules I learned in this book I will still be using in ten years, after all my old programming books are collecting dust. If you're looking to learn to code, you should definitely stay away from this book, but if you're looking for something that will stick with you, you need look no farther.
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