- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,437,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design 1st Edition
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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 players 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 (email@example.com)
From the Author
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.
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 didnt 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 wed 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 dont tell you exactly what to do. Instead we tell you what to think about, identifying the major questions that every designer must face. We dont 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 were proud of our work. We hope youll find it valuable.
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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
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.
If you're used to reading programming books, like I am, you're probably aware that they follow a standard format: Propose a problem, choose a method of solution, work through several to many versions of the solution, solve the problem. With only a proposal, it is rather unhelpful to not see why one solution is better than another when it comes to game design. For that matter, as you might have guessed, the level of abstraction to design presented in this book leaves no space for any code examples.
While the advice given in certain situations might be helpful to someone who knows nothing about game design, it is highly likely that whoever reads this book will have little need of it since the advice is so much common sense that a gamer of several years would already be aware of much of this. It's like a senior in college having to take freshman seminar.
But, aside from this little discussion of fault, there is much to be savored in this book. Don't let this review scare you off! Get a copy of the book. Read it. Keep it as a reference for when you might need a more formalized way of presenting a problem you face in game design.
And as I'm sure you know, once you've found a way to state a problem, you're almost ready to find a way to solve it.
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. Some are truly exceptional however, in particular that on Sports Games and the sub-section on Games for Girls contain information very hard to gain from another source. Chapters on Action, Strategy, Vehicle simulations and Construction/Management sims provide a solid discussion of the key features of these genres, although Action has been defined in such a way as to seem biased towards shooters and against platform games. It may have been worth considering these two largely divergent genres as separate forms - but to do so would have been to risk fragmenting the focused nature of the material.
Chapters on Adventure Games, A-life and other minority pursuits are quite possibly the best summary of the forms available anywhere, and the chapter on online games (written with the assistance of Raph Koster) is a superb précis of a notoriously difficult to summarise area.
There are some drawbacks, but mostly due to the generalised nature of the work. Because the book must cover everything, it necessarily covers everything briefly. Many of the chapters end when you are just beginning to get a taste for the details. As the authors note, an attempt to cover everything in detail would be the work of several volumes.
Similarly, although much is said of the process of game mechanic design and game world abstraction, little is said of the process of design where it relates to the involvement of the team as a whole. Game design is often a process of `game design co-ordination' - managing the design of the game through the changing world of the development cycle. The book provides no help for this challenging task - which again would need a book of its own to cover thoroughly.
That aside, this book is an essential reference for any game designer with less than ten years of experience, and especially for anyone new to the practice of game design. People with an interest in games will learn a tremendous amount about the underlying mechanisms of game design, and need not worry about complex mathematics or other technical detail, as most of the book is written in very easy-to-follow prose.
For anyone who has started on the path of a game designer, or who is interested in game design, Rollings and Adams on Game Design offers a superb breadth of information and should be considered an essential purchase.