1st Edition

Game Design Theory A New Philosophy for Understanding Games

By Keith Burgun Copyright 2013
    188 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    188 Pages
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    Despite the proliferation of video games in the twenty-first century, the theory of game design is largely underdeveloped, leaving designers on their own to understand what games really are. Helping you produce better games, Game Design Theory: A New Philosophy for Understanding Games presents a bold new path for analyzing and designing games.

    The author offers a radical yet reasoned way of thinking about games and provides a holistic solution to understanding the difference between games and other types of interactive systems. He clearly details the definitions, concepts, and methods that form the fundamentals of this philosophy. He also uses the philosophy to analyze the history of games and modern trends as well as to design games.

    Providing a robust, useful philosophy for game design, this book gives you real answers about what games are and how they work. Through this paradigm, you will be better equipped to create fun games.

    The Death of Tetris
    Our Story
    My Story
    Problem Statement
    On Game Design
    Game Design Theory Today
    What This book Is
    What This book Is Not
    Why Video Games?

    The Concept of "Game"
    Types of Interactive Systems
    The Abstract and the Literal
    The "Meaningful" Decision
    Are Games "Art"?
    Games: The "Finer" Interactive System
    Game-Playing Itself Is An Art
    The Value of Games?
    Misconceptions about Games
    Games Can Occur Naturally
    "Video Games" and the Value of Words

    Game Design
    Do You Want to Make a Game?
    Games and Story 
    Understanding Design 
    "Let's Add Some Fun!"
    Continuous or Discrete Space
    Execution vs. Decisions
    "Survival", "Completion" and "Game Difficulty"
    Inherent/Emergent Complexity
    Information and Solvability
    False Choices
    Too Many Choices
    Take Nothing for Granted
    Become an Expert
    |Studying Games
    Related Disciplines

    How We Got Here
    Ancient History
    The 20th Century
    The Promise of SpaceWar! 
    The Video Game "Generations"
    The Alternate Reality of PC Games
    Other Notable Areas
    Looking Back

    Through the Lens: Videogames
    Problems Common to Almost All Genres
    On Brawlers
    On Third Person Action
    On Real-Time Strategy
    On Turn-Based Strategy
    Role-Playing Games
    On Sports Games
    On Racing Games
    On Fighting Games
    On FPS Games
    On Platformers
    Other Genres
    "Videogames" That Aren't Games

    Through the Lens: Boardgames
    Area-Control games
    Bidding Games
    Roleplaying Games
    Cooperative Games
    Role-Selection/Worker Placement Games
    Card Games
    Abstract Games
    Other Genres

    Rise of Indies


    Keith Burgun is a game designer, writer, composer, and visual artist who has been developing games independently for nearly 20 years. He writes for Gamasutra, Destructoid, and several other popular websites, including his own blog at Dinofarm Games. He is a founding member of Dinofarm Games and produced its first commercial game 100 Rogues for the iOS platform. He also teaches game design and animation courses at local art schools.

    While literature and music, for example, stand on a solid theoretical foundation, the theory of game design is much less developed. … It is possible that thought-provoking books such as this one may be just the spark required to kick start the industrial revolution of game design.
    —From the Foreword by Reiner Knizia