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Game Feel: A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation (Morgan Kaufmann Game Design Books) Paperback – October 13, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0123743282 ISBN-10: 0123743281 Edition: 1st

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Game Feel: A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation (Morgan Kaufmann Game Design Books) + The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition + Challenges for Game Designers
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Product Details

  • Series: Morgan Kaufmann Game Design Books
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press; 1 edition (October 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0123743281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123743282
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The following game design luminaries have promised quotes: Jonathan Blow, Company: Number-None, Game: Braid Matthew Wegner, Development Director, Flashbang Studios, LLC, Games: Sealab 2021 Sweet Mayhem Aubrey Hesselgren, Game Designer, Amorphous, Games: Hoop World, Unannounced XBLA game Derek Yu, Artist, Game Designer, Bit Blot, Games: Aquaria, I'm O.K. Alec Holowka, Programmer, Game Designer, Bit Blot, Games: Aquaria Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor, Rensselaer Polytech (RPI), Morgan Kaufmann game author.

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Customer Reviews

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The writing style is conversational and easy to understand.
The Amazon Shopper
It's all very interesting, and as more of a game player than a game designer, it really made me appreciate the work that goes into making a video game.
Amazon Customer
I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to make a video game whether a hobbyist like me or a professional game designer.
Patrick Regan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By oldtaku on August 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First of all, this is not about haptics (literal 'feel', as in force feedback or other simulated touch) though haptics are touched on (har). It's about tuning the feel of a specific kind of game - the sort where your avatar, seen or unseen, becomes a virtual extension of your real self. This requires a certain tight feedback loop of repeated player input and game response that's fast enough that it becomes to some degree chunked and unconscious. Games like Super Mario 64, Half-Life, Burnout, and Geometry Wars all qualify. Civ IV and Starcraft, even though they're great games, don't qualify - the input is too far removed.

It comes with a companion website, [...], and you are expected to follow along by downloading various example apps from the site at given points in the text and play with them. And they do add a huge amount to the book.

I'm slightly conflicted by this book - Swink does a good job of laying out exactly what makes a good game feel right, but it's a bit too chatty and repetitive, and there is a lot it 'it should do x' without as much indication of how to do x as I would have expected. If you tinker with the provided example apps much of it will come into focus, though from a tuning side if not implementation side.

I also didn't feel I learned a lot new till the end of the book, though it certainly helps to have it all laid out semi-rigorously as a checklist. On the other hand I've also played too many video games since Super Mario Bros where the designers obviously did NOT know this stuff, so I would highly recommend that anyone working in the game industry read this if you're not already Mark Cerny.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grant Beaudette VINE VOICE on July 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When playing a video game, it's common to talk about how it feels. Stiff, floaty, slippery, etc... The feel of a game has got to be the most crucial, yet hard to define aspect of a game. Game Feel explores this elusive yet essential quality.

The book looks at the feel of a game both in abstract and mathematically definable ways. It surveys areas like controller input, rules, game world context and experience enhancing polish effects (sound design, particles, etc...)

Later chapters focus on examples of popular games that exhibit good game feel (Asteroids, Super Mario Bros., Bionic Commando & Mario 64) and break down the components that make these games feel so good to play.

This book is kind of a dense read, which is pretty much unavoidable given the topic, but the author does a pretty good job keeping things entertaining with a rather humorous writing style. The topics are also well divided, laying out each concept separately.

The book also has a companion website that contains playable examples of the concepts being covered. Unfortunately at the time of this review, only a few of the examples are actually there. Plus they have to be downloaded onto your computer rather than simply loading directly in the browser. It would also be nice if the site linked to all the articles the author mentions in the foot notes so I could avoid typing in a bunch of 40 character URLs.

This book is an enlightening read even if you only desire to play video games rather than design them. I personally liked the parts on virtual perception and how some of these principles of appealing game feel are similar to principles of appeal animation. (Overlap, Squash & Stretch, etc...) It's also nice that the author wraps up with a look at some of the possible future developments of game sensation.

All in all, Game Feel is an eye-opening look at the most important part of video games; the part going on in our heads.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hunt on June 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
No doubt about it - there is information in this book that is very difficult to find anywhere else or pin down on one's own. It is a good read, and one that's taken me a couple of weeks to get through and digest, and I feel more knowledgeable and confident as a designer of game mechanics as a result. That alone is worth the price of the book.

Where the book falls short is a couple of conspicuously missing elements that did not seem to catch the attention of the book's copy editors:
1) On the back cover, there is mention of featured interviews with "leading game designers". These are nowhere to be found in the book.
2) The book makes references to a web site containing demos that illustrate many of the concepts discussed in each chapter. Some of these demos are not on the site, and seem to have not been for well over a year.

Other than that, I'm generally very satisfied with the book. Hopefully the author can fill in these blanks in the near future, or in a second edition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Burnham VINE VOICE on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Steve Swink writes at length in this book about an aspect of game design that's rarely considered in a formal way: How to make a game feel responsive and consistent with a player's expectations. He's particularly concerned with games that play in real-time and give instant feedback, and makes his point with a rich set of examples. For instance, why was Street Fighter II so much more successful than the plethora of other, superficially similar fighting games that came out around the same time? Swink's answer: Because when you press a button in Street Fighter II, you get a response very fast--usually within 100ms, even if your character is in the middle of another move. Any lag beyond 240ms, Swink argues (with scientific data), leads to player frustration.

Swink also talks about "polish," the subtle visual or aural cues that alter a player's expectations. A slight change in the texture filter used on a sphere changes it from solid to squishy in the player's mind, and affects how they'll try to interact with it. The importance of polish to a game can hardly be overstated. It's what separates "Gears of War" from the hordes of other zombie shooters on the market.

Think of this as a more in-depth sequel to the superior Game Design Workshop. It should be on every video game designer's shelf.
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