Within the field of game design, game balance can best be described as a black art. It is the process by which game designers make a game simultaneously fair for players while providing them just the right amount of difficulty to be both exciting and challenging without making the game entirely predictable. This involves a combination of mathematics, psychology, and occasionally other fields such as economics and game theory.
Game Balance offers readers a dynamic look into game design and player theory. Throughout the book, relevant topics on the use of spreadsheet programs will be included in each chapter. This book therefore doubles as a useful reference on Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheets, and other spreadsheet programs and their uses for game designers.
- The first and only book to explore game balance as a topic in depth
- Topics range from intermediate to advanced, while written in an accessible style that demystifies even the most challenging mathematical concepts to the point where a novice student of game design can understand and apply them
- Contains powerful spreadsheet techniques which have been tested with all major spreadsheet programs and battle-tested with real-world game design tasks
- Provides short-form exercises at the end of each chapter to allow for practice of the techniques discussed therein along with three long-term projects divided into parts throughout the book that involve their creation
- Written by award-winning designers with decades of experience in the field
Ian Schreiber has been in the industry since 2000, first as a programmer and then as a game designer. He has worked on eight published game titles, training/simulation games for three Fortune 500 companies, and has advised countless student projects. He is the co-founder of Global Game Jam, the largest in-person game jam event in the world. Ian has taught game design and development courses at a variety of colleges and universities since 2006.
Brenda Romero is a BAFTA award-winning game director, entrepreneur, artist, and Fulbright award recipient and is presently game director and creator of the Empire of Sin franchise. As a game director, she has worked on 50 games and contributed to many seminal titles, including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series and titles in the Ghost Recon, Dungeons & Dragons, and Def Jam franchises.
Foreword. Preface. Kinds of Balance. Critical Vocabulary. Numeric Relationships. Economic Systems. Trading Systems. Transitive Mechanics and Cost Curves. Probability and Randomness (Dice). Probability and Dice (Cards). Managing Luck and Skill. Human Intuition. Pseudorandom Numbers. Infinite Probabilites. Situational Balance. Progression in PvE Games. Progression in PvP Games. Statistics. Analytics. Metagame Systems. Intransitive Mechanics and Payoff Matrices. Beyond Balance.