10 Best Video Game Design Books to Read in 2022

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10 Best Video Game Design Books to Read in 2022

Aashiya Mittal
Last updated on June 24, 2022

    Video game design is a process that is a part of the pre-production phase of video game development. It refers to creating content and rules of video games and designing gameplay, characters, storyline, and environment. Therefore, a video game designer is very much like a director of a film since he controls the technical and artistic elements of a video game. Here, we will detail the best 10 video game design books to read in 2022. Developing a video game requires various skills, such as cinematic storytelling, level design, game engine design, interaction, etc. The most fundamental way to develop these skills is to read top video game design books. If you want to build a promising career in video game designing and look for top-rated video game design books, you are right. This article will introduce you to the best video game design books that can help you develop and enhance your video game design expertise.

    Best Video Game Design Books

    Here’s a list of the top ten video game design books for beginners, intermediate-level, and advanced-level video game developers. We will start the list with Games, Design, and Play.

    1. Games, Design, and Play: A Detailed Approach to Iterative Game Design

    Games, Design and Play: A detailed approach to iterative game design 1st Edition

    Author: Colleen Macklin and John Sharp

    Through the video game design book, the authors have talked about a play-focused and process-oriented approach to creating great and appealing game designs. Also, they have revealed how game designers think and work through great full-color examples. Games, Design, and Play cover all the essential aspects of game design, including coming up with a design idea, building a prototype, and fully realizing a game design. Moreover, it walks you through creating a video game’s inner workings, such as its play experience, core actions, and themes. With this book’s step-by-step approach, it becomes easier for you to assemble every component of your video game. This book helps you in:

    • Understanding core elements of game design, such as objects, rules, actions, goals, players, and playspace.
    • Creating design documents, schematics, and tracking spreadsheets.
    • Utilizing prototypes to realize and playtest game designs.
    • Improving designs by making the most of playtesting feedback.
    • Knowing when the design is ready for production.

    About the Author: Colleen Macklin is a Game Designer and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design. She has been teaching interaction and design for more than 20 years. She is also a founder of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab). PETLab is a lab that develops games for social engagement and experimental learning. John Sharp is a designer, curator, educator, and art historian with over 25 years of experience in creating and studying art and design. He is also an Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design. With Colleen Macklin, John co-directs PETLab.

    Publisher? Addison-Wesley
    Paperback Print Length: 288 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    2. Game Feel: A Game Designer’s Guide to Virtual Sensation (Morgan Kaufmann Game Design Books)

    Game Feel- A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation (Morgan Kaufmann Game Design Books)

    Author: Steve Swink

    As the name of the book suggests, ‘Game Feel’ reveals ‘feel’ as a hidden language of game design. Also, it emphasizes that the feel and sensation are the building blocks of game design. In this book, the author has covered topics like the role of sound, the importance of metaphor, ancillary indicators, how people perceive things, and a succinct history of feel in games. This book covers:

    • The game feel model of interactivity.
    • Mechanism of game feel.
    • Metrics for game feel, including input metrics, response metrics, polish metrics, rules metrics, context metrics, and metaphor metrics.
    • Principles of the game feel.
    • Future of game feel.

    About the Author: Steve Swink is an author, independent game developer, and lecturer in Tempe, Arizona. He is also the partner at Flashbang Studios and has contributed to games like Splume, Minotaur China Shop, Off-Road Velociraptor Safari, and Jetpack Brontosaurus .

    Publisher: CRC Press
    Paperback Print Length: 376 pages

    You can buy this book from her e .

    3. Fundamentals of Game Design (3rd Edition)

    Fundamentals of Game Design

    Author: Ernest Adams

    Fundamentals of Game Design book is a classic book that teaches game design in an easy way. The author has completely revised the third edition of this book to include the state-of-the-art developments in the game industry. This book will walk you through various game design concepts, including core mechanics, gameplay design, balancing, storytelling, user interfaces, and game concept development. Moreover, you can learn to design gameplay for mobile devices, touch screens, and Kinect motion-capture. Each chapter has an exercise at the end to help you test your knowledge. Also, this book covers design worksheets and case studies. Fundamentals of Game Design explains the complete process of designing a game right from the initial stage to final tuning.

    About the Author: Ernest Adams is a freelance game designer, author, and teacher. He has been in the game industry for more than 22 years and has penned five different books. He is the chairman and founder of the International Game Developers' Association.

    Publisher: New Riders
    Paperback Print Length: 576 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    4. Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design

    Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design (Voices That Matter)

    Author: Ernest Adams and Joris Dormans

    Number four on our best video game design books list is Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design. It is an in-depth resource for crafting mechanics that produce well-balanced and enjoyable gameplay. Through this video game design book, you can learn how to prototype, test, and apply mechanics in games. Also, it will make you familiar with methods to visualize and simulate game mechanics to generate better game designs. The authors have included exercises in the book for you to practice what you have learned. You can practice these exercises using a freely downloadable simulation tool developed by Joris Dormans. This book will help you learn how to:

    • Create emergent gameplay by designing and balancing game mechanics.
    • Utilize novel prototyping techniques to simulate games and collect massive amounts of gameplay data on the first day of development.
    • Apply design patterns for game mechanics to enhance your game designs.
    • Create compelling and long-lasting game experiences.

    About the Author: Ernest Adams is a game design consultant and teacher with more than 23 years of experience in the video game industry. He is the first chairman and founder of the International Game Developers’ Association. Joris Dormans is a game design lecturer and researcher in Amsterdam. He has been researching formal tools and methods to improve game design mechanics for the last four years. Moreover, he is an independent and freelance game designer and contributed his game expertise to several video games and board games.

    Publisher: New Riders
    Paperback Print Length: 442 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    5. Foundations of Game Design Development, Volume 1: Mathematics

    Foundations of Game Engine Development, Volume 1: Mathematics

    Author: Eric Lengyel Foundations of Game Design Development provides a detailed introduction to the mathematics used by modern game engine developers. It covers the essentials of game engine development in the areas of mathematics, physics, rendering, and models & materials. This video game design book walks you through various concepts of mathematics, including linear algebra, transforms, and geometry. Also, it introduces you to Grassmann algebra and geometric algebra. The author has categorized all mathematical concepts into four sections, as listed below:

    1. Vectors and Matrices
    2. Transforms
    3. Geometry
    4. Advanced Algebra

    About the Author: Eric Lengyel is a computer scientist specializing in game engine development, geometric algebra, and computer graphics. He is an expert in font rendering technology for 3D applications. In addition, he is the inventor of the Slug front rendering algorithm and the Transvoxel algorithm .

    Publisher: Terathon Software LLC
    Paperback Print Length: 200 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    6. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

    The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Third Edition

    Author: Jesse Schell

    The next name on our list of the best video game design books is The Art of Game Design. Here, the author follows a step-by-step approach to make you aware of the design process and help you to develop new and creative game designs. This video game design book will walk you through the basic game design principles, like fidelity, constraints, objectives, success criteria, rewards, play, and competition. Also, you will learn how various tactics used in classic board, card, and athletic games work. The latest edition of The Art of Game Design includes examples from Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) platforms and modern games, such as transformational games, hybrid games, free-to-play games, Uncharted 4, and The Last of Us.

    About the Author: Jesse Schell is a professor of entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). He teaches game design and leads various research projects. In addition, he is the CEO of Schell Games, LLC, which is an independent game studio in Pittsburgh. Formerly, he was a director of Walt Disney Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio and chairman of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). He also worked as a manager, programmer, and designer on various projects for DisneyQuest and Disney theme park.

    Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press
    Paperback Print Length: 654 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    7. Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design

    Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design

    Author: Scott Rogers Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design is ideal for those who want to design and develop cutting-edge video games. With years of professional experience, Scott Rogers has provided well-thought-out and clear game design examples in this video game design book that can be understood easily. Through this book, you can learn:

    • Developing game designs from an initial stage to production.
    • How to design the most precise controls, exciting levels, and the fiercest foes that keep players engaged.
    • Creating games for mobile and console systems.
    • Writing professional design documents.

    About the Author: Scott Rogers is a Principal Imagineer at Walt Disney. Also, he has created game designs for several famous games, including Capcom's MAXIMO: GHOSTS TO GLORY, MAXIMO VS. ARMY OF ZIN, Sony's GOD OF WAR, THQ's DRAWN TO LIFE series, and Namco's PAC-MAN WORLD.

    Publisher: Wiley
    Paperback Print Length: 560 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    8. Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games

    Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Fourth Edition

    Author: Tracy Fullerton

    In Game Design Workshop, the author has explained a non-technical approach to game design. Therefore, you can create video games without requiring the need for programming and artistic experience. The author has provided clear and accessible guidance on the format and dramatic systems of game design. In addition, she has included examples of popular games, illustrations of game design techniques, and multiple exercises to boost your understanding of how game systems function. In a nutshell, this video game design book can help you learn to prototype, playtest, and revise your games with time-tested techniques and tools.

    About the Author: Tracy Fullerton is an award-winning game designer and educator with more than 20 years of experience in the video game industry. Moreover, she has won the “Games for Change Game of the Year Award” for a game named Walden. She is also a professor of Interactive Media & Games at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Additionally, she is the director of the USC Games Program.

    Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press
    Paperback Print Length: 556 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    9. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals

    Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (The MIT Press)

    Author: Katie Salen Tekinbas and Eric Zimmerman

    Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals is a clear, exhaustive, and complete resource for understanding games and game design. It acts as a motivation for innovation since it is filled with new concepts, techniques, and strategies for creating and understanding games. In this book, the authors have defined core concepts of the game, i.e., “play”, “design”, and “interactivity.” The video game design book starts discussing the core concepts in the initial sections and later discusses rules, play, and culture in detail. Rules of Play serves as the best theoretical guide and a reference book for game developers, interactive designers, and game scholars.

    About the Author: Katie Salen Tekinbas is a game designer, educator, and animator. She is a professor at the University of California, Irvine. Formerly, she was a professor in the School of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University, Parsons The New School for Design, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Texas at Austin. Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and game design, theorist. Also, he is a co-founder and CEO of GameLab. He was a professor at various universities, including the School of Visual Arts, the University of Texas, Parsons School of Design, New York University, Rhode Island School of Design, and MIT.

    Publisher: The MIT Press
    Paperback Print Length: 688 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    10. A Theory of Fun for Game Design

    Theory of Fun for Game Design

    Author: Raph Koster

    A Theory of Fun for Game Design is the last entry on our best video game design books list. It primarily concentrates on modern video games and examines the elements they share with traditional games. Also, it is an ideal book for interactive designers that teaches how to create and improve game designs and incorporate the highest degree of fun. This book uncovers various important facts related to game development, including:

    • Most successful games are developed using the same elements.
    • Fictional dressing for modern games is more developed than the conceptual elements.
    • Creative designers seldom use other games for inspiration.
    • Many games still teach primitive survival skills.

    About the Author: Raph Koster is a professional designer and has been credited in almost every area of the game industry. He is also well-known for his work as a lead designer of Ultima Online and the director of Star Wars Galaxies. Moreover, he worked as a creative executive at Sony Online and Disney Playdom. He was honored as an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online in 2012.

    Publisher: O Reilly
    Paperback Print Length: 304 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    Conclusion

    Here we came to an end of the top 10 video game design books for all levels of game designers. While some are ideal for beginners, others are suitable for intermediate- and advanced-level video game designers. Books, such as Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design, Fundamentals of Game Design, and Game Design Workshop is ideal for those who wish to start their careers in video game designing. The perfect choices are for intermediate-level game designers, Games, Design, and Play, The Art of Game Design, Foundations of Game Design Development, and Game Feel. Similarly, Rules of Play, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, and Game Mechanics are best suitable for advanced-level game designers. All the above-mentioned video game design books will help you to develop the skills required to become a video game designer. We recommend you choose a book according to your experience level.

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