- Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3d Technology
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: CRC Press (June 16, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558609210
- ISBN-13: 978-1558609211
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,397,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive 3d Technology)
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"If the characters in a game have depth, complexity, consistency, mystery, humanity, and charm, then they are going to feel real to the player, and that helps the whole game world feel real, and allows the player to suspend his or her disbelief and get lost in the world. Everything the player does will be more exciting if they're doing it for someone, or with someone, or in opposition to someone who feels real. Simply put, good character design helps the player to have what we all know can be an amazing, unforgettable experience. This book is not just about making great characters, but also about making great games.
- from the foreword by Tim Schafer, Double Fine Productions
"Katherine Isbister skillfully draws upon various psychological constructs elevating game development to a more comprehensive level. Taking a Psych 100 class? This book transforms the sometimes stuffy theories of Freud, Skinner, Rogers and Maslow into fresh and entertaining relevancy as the author weaves these ideas into game content. The next time you play a favorite video game, read this book-that game will take on a whole new light and who knows you may be able to ace that psychology final.
- Pauline Pedersen, Course Director, Full Sail Real World Education
"The notion of using psychological principles in games continues to be of great interest to the games industry, but few researchers have been able to discuss in depth how psychological research can actually be applied to game design. Katherine Isbister's book not only makes complex psychological concepts accessible to the games community, but also demonstrates its application in current games through the use of concrete examples (on retail products), and possible design tips and recommendations.
- Randy Pagulayan, PhD, User Research Lead, Microsoft Game Studios
"Katherine Isbister has crafted a text that covers a far greater scope of psychological concerns than I would've previously thought possible, and each area of psychology she covers has the potential to bring games to higher level. For any individual studying, teaching, or working in Game Design this is a must-have text.
- Robin Koman, Associate Course Director, Full Sail Real World Education
"A valuable tool for applying effective principles of psychology to create readable, entertaining and high-impact game characters-a must-have for today's game developer.
- Andrew Stern, co-creator of the interactive drama Facade and the virtual pets Dogz and Catz
"Well researched and perceptive, this book offers new insights on creating more emotionally engaging game characters. If you have ever been curious about the psychology behind better character design, this book is a must read!
- Nicole Lazzaro, President, XEODesign, Inc.
"Isbister has delivered an impressive package that will leave you wondering about Sonic the Hedgehog's need for speed and Lara Croft's potential trust issues long after the button-mashing session has ended.
- Animation, September 2006
How to use the principles of psychology to make memorable characters
Top customer reviews
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For any beginners: all you have to know is that game characters are actors(I'm using this word in a very general way) defined by what they do - they do things to reach some desired goal, and that they are representations of some quality or idea. Their popularity depends on the appeal of their actions and the appeal of what they represent.
I think the overall point of the book is to take more into account when designing characters. There are reasons behind every decision you make in anything you do. This book helps to uncover some of the psychology behind characters and their interactions.
With all of this in mind, I would have to say that I don't feel this book's $50 pricetag is completely justified by what I got out of it. The information for me wasn't completely eye-opening; and there's nothing that specifically sticks to mind after having read it that would change my approach to characters a whole lot(other than perhaps their interactions).
The dvd included with the book adds very little to the subject matter; it is nothing but a bunch of low-quality cutscenes from video games. I expected the dvd to have interviews, supplemental reading material, or at least the author commenting on the cutscenes chosen. Unfortunately none of that is included.
The quality of the book physically is very high; it is printed on extremely high quality paper(thermal paper I'm guessing) which seems like it would be very resistant to stains or water damage.
Overall this book is a worthy read. If the price was closer to the $25 mark or the dvd included more worthwhile material I would definitely rate it a lot higher.
My prediction is that this text will greatly add to what game developers need to know to incorporate better social intelligence into the NPCs of the next generation of games. In my view, this knowledge is urgently needed in this industry!