Creating Games : Mechanics, Content, and Technology book cover
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Creating Games
Mechanics, Content, and Technology




ISBN 9781568813059
Published December 23, 2008 by A K Peters/CRC Press
500 Pages

 
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Book 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

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

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Author(s)

Biography

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.

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

Support Material

Companion Website

Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.