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Master the Principles and Vocabulary of Game Design
Why aren’t videogames getting better? Why does it feel like we’re playing the same games, over and over again? Why aren’t games helping us transform our lives, like great music, books, and movies do?
The problem is language. We still don’t know how to talk about game design. We can’t share our visions. We forget what works (and doesn’t). We don’t learn from history. It’s too hard to improve.
The breakthrough starts here. A Game Design Vocabulary gives us the complete game design framework we desperately need—whether we create games, study them, review them, or build businesses on them.
Craft amazing experiences. Anna Anthropy and Naomi Clark share foundational principles, examples, and exercises that help you create great player experiences…complement intuition with design discipline…and craft games that succeed brilliantly on every level.
Part I Elements of Vocabulary 1
By Anna Anthropy
1 Language 3
Signs Versus Design 4
Failures of Language 7
A Voice Needs Words 9
A Beginning 10
2 Verbs and Objects 13
Creating Choices 16
Explaining with Context 21
The Physical Layer 25
Character Development 30
Real Talk 34
Discussion Activities 37
Group Activity 38
3 Scenes 39
Rules in Scenes 40
Shaping and Pacing 50
Layering Objects 56
Moments of Inversion 60
Real Talk 64
Discussion Activities 71
Group Activity 73
4 Context 77
First Impressions 78
Recurring Motifs 82
Character Design 83
Scene Composition 89
Real Talk 99
Discussion Activities 104
Group Activity 104
Part II Conversations 107
By Naomi Clark
5 Creating Dialogue 109
Creating Conversation 111
Iterating to Fun and Beyond 113
Your Conversation 115
6 Resistance 117
Push and Pull 118
Alternatives to Flow 129
Opening Up Space 132
Opening Up Purpose 134
The Pull of Rewards 137
Time and Punishment 141
Scoring and Reflection 147
Discussion Activities 152
Group Activity 153
7 Storytelling 155
Pattern Recognition 156
Authored Stories 159
Interpreted Stories 172
Open Stories 181
Discussion Activities 188
Group Activity 189
A Further Playing 191
Achievement Unlocked (John Cooney, 2008) 192
American Dream (Stephen Lavelle, Terry Cavanagh, Tom Morgan-Jones, and Jasper Byrne, 2011) 192
Analogue: A Hate Story (Christine Love, 2012) 193
The Banner Saga (Stoic, 2014) 193
Candy Box (aniwey, 2013) 194
Consensual Torture Simulator (Merritt Kopas, 2013) 194
Corrypt (Michael Brough, 2012) 195
Crypt of the Necrodancer (Ryan Clark, 2013) 196
Dwarf Fortress (Tarn Adams, 2006) 196
English Country Tune (Stephen Lavelle, 2011) 197
Even Cowgirls Bleed (Christine Love, 2013) 197
Gone Home (The Fullbright Company, 2013) 198
Mighty Jill Off (Anna Anthropy, 2008) 198
NetHack (NetHack Dev Team, 1987) 199
Papers, Please (Lucas Pope, 2013) 199
Persist (AdventureIslands, 2013) 200
QWOP (Bennett Foddy, 2008) and GIRP (Bennett Foddy, 2011) 201
Spelunky (Derek Yu, 2008) 201
Triple Town (Spry Fox, 2011) 202