Creating Games: Mechanics, Content, and Technology, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Creating Games

Mechanics, Content, and Technology, 1st Edition

By Morgan McGuire, Odest Chadwicke Jenkins

A K Peters/CRC Press

500 pages

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pub: 2008-12-23
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Description

Creating Games offers a comprehensive overview of the technology, content, and mechanics of game design. It emphasizes the broad view of a games team and teaches you enough about your teammates' areas so that you can work effectively with them. The authors have included many worksheets and exercises to help get your small indie team off the ground.

Special features:

  • Exercises at the end of each chapter combine comprehension tests with problems that help the reader interact with the material
  • Worksheet exercises provide creative activities to help project teams generate new ideas and then structure them in a modified version of the format of a game industry design document
  • Pointers to the best resources for digging deeper into each specialized area of game development
  • Website with worksheets, figures from the book, and teacher materials including study guides, lecture presentations, syllabi, supplemental exercises, and assessment materials

Reviews

Williams College Professor Morgan McGuire takes his games very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he has written a book about it. … While teaching his game design class, McGuire couldn't find a book that covered this, so he called up his colleague Professor Chad Jenkins at Brown, and they co-wrote the book to help other people design games. It combines scientific theories about rule systems with more practical advice about the process of designing a game.

-- L452The Berkshire Eagle , November 2008

Apply Game Design as a Science for Public Policy to Rescue Economy, Planet: They are all subject to analysis as games: scenarios where intelligent agents (players) seek to maximize their payoff (win) under a set of rules. Although some seem like fun and others like work, an understanding of each instance informs the others, and insights for any improve how we both work and play.

-- Morgan McGuire, Infinite Connection, April 2009

The writing is friendly and just casual enough that the authors' personalities come through. The book is engaging, clear, and well focused. The text combines a general survey of each topic with occasional asides offering specific and well-chosen detail. This combination gives the book a sense of confident authority. . . .This ambitious, wide-ranging book succeeds in giving its readers a broad overview of many topics that contribute to contemporary video game design. For someone who has never worked in the field, this book will give a general understanding of how a game is designed, the working of a modern studio, the roles of different departments and the people in them, the tools they use, and the technical issues that are important to them. The exercises at the end of each chapter enhance the book's value as a course textbook.

With its wealth of information on many subjects important to game design, the book would serve well as an introductory text for a student considering a career as a game designer.

-- Andrew Glassner, SIAM, January 2010

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

Minigame Design Exercise

Design

Internal Playtest

Revision

Kleenex™ Playtest

Discussion

20-Minute Variation

Exploration

The Process of Development and Theory of Design

What Is a Game?

Levels of Abstraction

Emergence and Progression

Development Roles

Design as Theory

Industry Structure

Exercises

Resources

Managing Innovation

How Hard Can It Be?

Attitude

Organization Chart

Consistency

Inspiration

Brainstorming

Scheduling

Managing Risk

Exercises

Resources

Critique and Proposal

Critique

Generating Ideas

Format

Examples

Exercises

Resources

The Design Document

Title Page

Executive Summary

Overview

Related Games

Player Composites

World

Characters

Plot Graphs

Art Direction

User Interface Storyboards

Tags and Dialogue

Technology Plan

Software Architecture

Controls

Level Design

Mechanics Analysis

Schedule and Related Elements

Budget

Change Log

Exercises

Resources

Game Technology

Document Tools

Asset Management Tools

Art Tools

Runtime Technology for Video Games

Licensing

Exercises

Strategic Thought

State

Graphs

State Machine

Decision Trees

Algorithms

Search

Complexity

Heuristics

Game Theory

Exercises

Choice and Probability

Statistics and Probability

Random Variables

Generating Random Numbers

Cards and Dice

Outcome Tree

Combining Probabilities

Expected Value

Variance

Compound Expressions

Case Study: Settlers of Catan

Exercises

Resources

Balance

Our Methodology

Before Balance

Fairness

Stability

Engagement

The Role of Randomness

What Players Value

Optimizing for Real People

Exercises

Resources

Mechanics

Techniques for the First Move

Character Building

Action

Lock-and-Key

Geometry

Superunit

Rock-Paper-Scissors

Combat Simulation

Effect Distance

Rush Prevention

Dialogue Trees

Economy

Ensuring Entropy

Reward Cycles and Minigames

Resources

Creating a World

Setting

Motivations for Setting

Characters and Plot

Geography

Exercises

Resources

Art Direction

Visual Language

Reference Art

Concept Art

3D Art Roles

3D Modeling

Triangle Mesh

Particle System

Texture Map

Materials

Exercises

Resources

Real-Time Rendering

Graphics Processor (GPU)

Lighting

Exercises

Resources

Physical Simulation

Newtonian Mechanics

Newton’s Laws of Motion for a Particle

Solving Equations of Motion

Verlet Integration

Rigid Body Dynamics

Collision Detection, Response, and Friction

Constraints and Articulated Bodies

Articulated Kinematics and Motion Control

Particle Systems and Natural Phenomena

Resources

Exercises

Network Programming

An Extended Analogy

Protocols

Ethernet

Routing

Transmission Protocols

Network Address Translation (NAT)

Lag

Synchronization and Topology

Matchmaking

Security

APIs

Exercises

Resources

User Input

Touch-Based Input

Optical Character Recognition

Mice

Inertial-Based Input and Global Positioning

Light and Positional Guns

Sound-Based Input

Camera-Based Input

Exercises

Artificial Intelligence

What Is AI?

How Smart Does My AI Really Need to Be?

Embodied Autonomous Agents

Decision Making: Reaction and Deliberation

Learning

Exercises

Resources

Social Issues

Ratings and Content

Industry Quality of Life

Real and Virtual Economies

Resources

Appendices

A. Minigame Worksheet

B. Overview Worksheet

C. Technology Plan Worksheet

D. Budget Worksheet

E. Schedule Worksheet

F. The Games Canon

Bibliography

Index

About the Authors

Morgan McGuire is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Williams College, where he teaches computer graphics and games. He is also a games industry consultant with credits including Titan Quest (2006), ROBLOX (2005), Zen of Sudoku (2007), and a yet-unannounced Activision title. He received his Ph.D in Computer Science from Brown University.

Odest Chadwicke Jenkins is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Brown University. In 2007, Jenkins received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and Young Investigator funding from the Office of Naval Research. He received his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COM012040
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games