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That’s a million dollar question, literally. If there were a formula for defining fun, all games (video, board, tabletop) would be fun.
Some games like Minecraft and DnD5e hit just the right marks to make the authors filthily rich, but no one has ever managed to make more than a few hundred rules of thumb to get there.
If you want to dive deeper into this question, there are hundreds of books about game design available. I haven’t followed the field for quite some time now, but my personal favorite is The Art of Game Design. The author made his name by creating rides at Disney Land.
A lot of great tools have been mentioned here, but as for teaching the concepts of design in general, I'd highly recommend trying to acquire a copy of The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell. With its layout, it would probably not be too difficult to turn into a lesson plan!
I've been an indie dev for a while, and have secretly longed for the extra time to volunteer to teach a game design class at the local charter school using this book.
It sounds like you're on the right track.
I don't have many references off-hand. There was a great video series on GameDev.tv about Board Game Development, but it looks like it's been removed.
There are a lot of great books on game design, I personally recommend The Art of Game Design: a Book of Lenses. It presents a bunch of "lenses" through which to view your design critically.
I don't have a great answer, because I think what you need most is a plan and the time spent acting on it.
Maybe there's an online course in Unity that would help you? (Unity being a useful platform and the C# language being not far from C++.) Classes aren't always necessary, but it can provide structure and goals as you get over that hump from "want to start" to "actively creating".
I don't think there's any software worth buying, although maybe someone else will think of something I haven't. At the cheaper end I could recommend a good book, like The Art of Game Design. But it doesn't sound like your holdup is "game design" per se, so much as active involvement in some kind of development.
A good workspace is helpful, so if a monitor or component helps you be in that chair doing what you need to do, that's worthwhile. (And if you want to publish to iOS I think you still need Apple hardware to submit to the App Store? But that info might be out of date.)
Mostly you need a plan. Start making something. Something small and fun. You'll learn as you go, get experience, and have insights into what subsequent steps you need and how to get there.
It's not a very practical book in my opinion but it's a beautiful "philosophy of gameplay" book and I think really helped me turn into something resembling a game designer: Art of Game Design
You are correct that for specific situations like Gloomhaven JotL, a scenario book can provide a better all around experience. And you are correct to point out that more game developers should consider doing something like this whenever it would improve the player experience. But lots of games have maps that won't work in a book format, for various reasons.
To learn more about the trade-offs that game designers make when making decisions like this, check out The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell. /r/gamedesign/ is also a great resource.
Modular maps, like every tool in the game designer's toolbox, are useful in some situations and not useful in others. All the games mentioned so far have good reasons to have the maps they have. I'll add Arkham Horror 3rd Edition as another game that wouldn't benefit from a map book.
You are correct that for specific situations like Gloomhaven JotL, a scenario book can provide a better experience. Game designers should take note regarding this underused option.
For more info on the trade-offs that game designers make when making decisions like this, check out The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell.
If you want something broader than just writing plot then looking into game design in general might be a good idea - and that of being a creative director. On this subject I recommend the book The Art of Game Design. You can also try find design documents for games you enjoy, maybe get in touch with and interview game designers working on games you like. I don't have any examples to give.
Sounds like you have your own ideas which is great, honestly the best way forward is to just invent your own structure that works for the game you want to create. You're looking for a format that is easy for you to organize and communicate to others. Focus on what you need right now, and the techniques and structure will follow.
Also I highly recommend The Art of Game Design: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Design-book-lenses/dp/0123694965
Jesse Schell is an awesome developer !
And cool to see him working on VR gameplay. His talks a few years ago on "gamification" were really insightful and considered. Otherwise he wrote the book "The Art of Game Design : A Book of Lenses" a while back. Thanks for the heads up, really need to check this out now.
Stop everything until you've had a chance to read The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. Quoting riscvul for insightfulness here:
> Scares are NOT gameplay, Darkness is NOT gameplay, Waiting to get chased by monsters is NOT gameplay.
> Yet too often this is all horror game makers put into their game believing this is what their players want.
If you ever feel like getting into game development in any way, I highly recommend you read The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell.
Its one of the best resources on the subject you can get.
Of course if you just want to write a story this one time, thats cool too :P
This book is the most valuable resource I've ever read about game design (and I've read many of them).
If you want be game designer, it's your job to come up with such systems and it's fun doing so... Tutorials and books can help you, but sometimes you must do thinking... And general design rules apply.... For instance http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Game-Design-lenses/dp/0123694965
Page 453 of The Art Of Game Design, by Jesse Schell. This book. I highly recommend it, it is a GREAT source of info when it comes to understanding game design, and in the later chapters, game development in general.
Bummer. I tried some google searches, still looking around, there should be some decent work being done in the area considering the amount of money being poured into game development in the private sector.
Someone will or has written a book that talks about this and if they haven't someone should, would be a way to make a good chunk of money.
this looks worth a read.
I'm honestly a little surprised you can't come up with anything of your own.
Some things that really stand out to me are...
There's a variety of ways you can address these issues, but depending on what you want to do with this game would inform what solution would work best.
Honestly the game looks like a programming exercise in recreating a primitive flappy bird (which is already pretty primitive), or maybe you're asking the internet to help you with a homework assignment. I would ask yourself some basic questions about what you are trying to achieve with this game? Define a goal or mission statement for your game. Once you have that, you should be able to better steer the direction of your game and provide you with the direction you seem to be seeking here. Also doing some research on what similar games in this genre have done may also prove illuminating for you. By looking at other games in the genre, you may find features in those games that you liked and want to emulate in yours.
You may also find the following links useful
This book can help.
Schell Games. Jesse Schell wrote: Art of Game Design Book (great book)
Knew I recognised Toontown. Don't worry you're not on a wanted poster in the book haha.
The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses
Game Design Workshop
Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals
One of my favourite books on game design, and one I see recommended often is 'The Art of Game Design- A Book of Lenses' (https://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Design-Book-Lenses/dp/0123694965) by Jesse Schell (now of Schell games).
Jesse describes several fascinating experiences and applies lessons from each, including some installation-based games built for Disney parks.
>The Art of Game Design
+1 to The Art of Game Design
It forces you to ask yourself "what is my design," and really makes you think about why you're designing.
Coming from someone who knows the struggle and is now getting ready to release our first game on steam, you just have to start. I've found there's a few approaches. You can start small and make a bunch of mini games like people mentioned, or create something that actually means something to you, which I've personally found most helpful. For me, the former got boring and I was always left with a "Okay now what" or just stopped working on games for a month or two.
The latter is what really stuck with me because I truly feel in order to ensure you do something everyday and not get bored of it is to build something that actually appeals to you. I recommend taking a course online to learn the basics of the game engine of your choice. Once you do that, you need to learn how to actually design a game. Just because you love games and grew up playing them, doesn't mean you know what actually makes up a good game and why it's good. Designing a game properly is a foundational piece I think a lot of devs miss, instead they make a game with a lot of "Wouldn't it be cool if" pieces and throw them together. I recommend picking up Art of Game design to begin to understand how to design a game and what makes a game good.
Once you understand game deisgn, come up with a full fledged game you want to make, though don't make it too large, design it and then start building it. Designing and developing a game is completely different than just "making a game" or making a mini game. When you make something larger, it requires many facets you likely won't learn while making a mini game. Medium sized projects tend to hold the more complex problems you're going to want to work through before committing to something massive. For example, saving player data to a file instead of PlayerPrefs, loading up that saved data, learning WHAT actually should be saved, learning how to properly re-use code and to what degree, working on complex state machines etc.
Check this book out if you’re serious about game development. Best design / inspiration book. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0123694965/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_imm_t1_8Vj6FbJYS328V
Nice! My recommendation starting off would be to:
- Focus first on gameplay and "is it fun?". Ask friends and strangers to play and give candid feedback. Don't get distracted too early on visuals, music, or story.
- Play lots of games and keep a critical eye on what they did well and what they could have done better. There's no perfect game and learning from others is important.
- Read about game design and watch youtube videos. I read The Art of Game Design and watched Mark Brown's Game Maker's Toolkit and took a lot of good stuff away from it.
- JUST MAKE SOME STUFF. We learned a lot from trying things out ourselves. We made a dozen prototypes before we made something that felt and looked like Evergate.
Specific courses in school isn't critical for success but brushing up on math and geometry is pretty important.
Hey man, its not focused on unity but this is a game design standard:
My top three books are:
(more like an index of game design terms, ideal for brainstorming)
(more related to programming, but can give you a great insight how games should be structured, which can inform some design decisions)
Get a book or two (& free app from book of lenses itunes store or play store
Hit up your local book store and library to get a good look at what's available, explore all sections frequently.
Learn some art
Here's some sexy stuff.
Get a Git to keep your goods on.
Hands on, in person, training is way behind the times as far as education is concerned.
Get Unity Certifiied.
Get Live Training
Check with your library they may off Lynda.com for free.
Get a big android tablet to build games for and show off at the office.
Join Meetup.com and look for local game developer groups.
Check the closest community college for game design class, if not see how much basic drawing, life drawing and basic design principles cost, if it's more than $500, try meetup.com and youtube/lynda or udemy or coursera to cover those experiences.
Use the force,
Sounds like to me that you might just need some reference into some gamification. Making tasks fun and managing player "progression" are concepts of game design in general and there are many ways to do this :).
I recommend the following :
Best of luck!
If the internet is down, it's a good day to read this: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Design-Book-Lenses/dp/0123694965
Easily the best guide for this is Jesse Schells book The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. The whole purpose of the book is to provide you with a series of design "lenses" through which you can view your game. It will get you thinking about it in MANY different ways, most of which do not occur to us a designers without a lot of exploration of our craft and experience. Can't recommend it enough!
Read: The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses
This is a great design book by Jesse Schell.
I also recently read the Spelunky book by Derek Yu and was inspired by it, but it's not as much of a coffee table book.
I would recommend to learn the ropes first...
Read a few good books about the game design.
First one I would advice:
My favorite game design book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Game-Design-lenses/dp/0123694965 A lot of what follows can be found in there.
Unity is what I use when making and prototyping games but that's only because that's what I happened to learn to use first and I have a decent programming background. You're probably better off with Game Maker or something else just starting out.
There are several approaches to conceptualizing and making games but my approach involves using a list of game mechanics and combining them to see if something interesting pops into my mind. Here's the nicely formatted Board Game Geek website list: http://boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgamemechanic and my own personal sloppy list with extra mechanics, my thoughts on them, as well as misspellings galore! http://pastebin.com/jQ68Z8cn A lot of the ideas are board game specific but they can all be applied to video games if you consider them in an abstract sense.
Any game idea I come up with I then subject to a validation test to make sure it's actually something that's a game an not just an interesting idea. I ask myself, does this game include:
If the idea has those properties then it can probably be made into a game.
More important than any of that, though, is to start simple in concept and small in content. No one's a game designer, developer, or maker until they actually make a game.
Yes! I haven't played it yet but that's the wordplay at hand. I really should check it out.
I'm not sure if this book coined the term but it's where I first heard it used: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Game-Design-lenses/dp/0123694965
Thank you! I actually got a book about game design for my birthday!
"Step 1: Make sure that your personal life is sorted."
Game Developers come in many breeds. I usually point them in the direction they are most interested in. Most brand new game developers don't even know the tools that are out there to make a game.
If they want to make music I recommenced to them to Studio One and to useful plugins such as Komplete Ultimate or Plogue depending on the kind of music they want to make.
If they want to be an artist I recommend CTRL Paint and Photoshop and Wacom to get an art tablet.
If they want to be a game programmer I usually recommend Unity
or Unreal depending on the kind of game they want to make.
If they want to be a game designer I usually recommend them to read The Art Of Game Design
and of course Youtube for lots of tutorials
I liked http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Game-Design-lenses/dp/0123694965 and I really like the youtube series Extra Credits: https://www.youtube.com/user/ExtraCreditz
There's a hell of a lot to learn about game development that has nothing to do with programming. I'd recommend keeping the programming simple until you know you can make a game that is fun.
Read A Book of Lenses. Make lots of small, well-polished (in terms of game design) games. :)
Read this. Invaluable.
You should read this book: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Design-book-lenses/dp/0123694965
A lot of the suggestions and ways of looking at problems (the 'lenses' in her book) apply to Isaac, and Isaac actually has a lot of good things going for it in those terms.
I've worked in Game Development for several years now, so hopefully I will have something useful to say.
I'd start by asking, whats your end goal here? To be a game designer, or a level designer? To be able to make games on your own? Or to work on large AAA titles as a developer in a big team? Do you want to work on console, PC mobile, social or any of these?
If you want to be a game designer, understanding programming helps, but it's not the be all and end all. If it's console or PC games I'd look at games that come with level editors and try and make some great levels, and develop an understanding of how this works. Level design is a good entry level role to get in to the industry.
I am told this book is also very good for a design perspective - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Game-Design-book-lenses/dp/0123694965/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348088653&sr=8-1
I'd also try and develop a good understanding of how a social game, or a freemium mobile app is different in design to a paid app or game, and how designing around monetisation drives these games.
If you want to make games on your own - or in a small group, you are looking at something like Flash, GameMaker or Unity. Here is a site with a load of stuff that can help you,
Finally, if you want to do programming, I'd recommend learning a basic entry level language, but not from a games perspective. Just learn about syntax, and fuctions. Then, once you have some confidence, try and write a Space Invaders clone. If you can do this, (get some feedback on it and then nail it), you've got a great thing to show people your commitment and passion, and will help get you a JNR coders job.
I'm going to buy this book