Game design is changing. The emergence of service games on PC, mobile and console has created new expectations amongst consumers and requires new techniques from game makers.
In The Pyramid of Game Design, Nicholas Lovell identifies and explains the frameworks and techniques you need to deliver fun, profitable games. Using examples of games ranging from modern free-to-play titles to the earliest arcade games, via PC strategy and traditional boxed titles, Lovell shows how game development has evolved, and provides game makers with the tools to evolve with it.
- Harness the Base, Retention and Superfan Layers to create a powerful Core Loop.
- Design the player Session to keep players playing while being respectful of their time.
- Accept that there are few fixed rules: just trade-offs with consequences.
- Adopt Agile and Lean techniques to "learn what you need you learn" quickly
- Use analytics, paired with design skills and player feedback, to improve the fun, engagement and profitability of your games.
- Adapt your marketing techniques to the reality of the service game era
- Consider the ethics of game design in a rapidly changing world.
Lovell shows how service games require all the skills of product game development, and more. He provides a toolset for game makers of all varieties to create fun, profitable games. Filled with practical advice, memorable anecdotes and a wealth of game knowledge, the Pyramid of Game Design is a must-read for all game developers.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 ◾ The Pyramid
Chapter 2 ◾ The Base Layer
Chapter 3 ◾ The Retention Layer
Chapter 4 ◾ The Core Loop and the Gearbox
Chapter 5 ◾ The Session and the On-Ramp
Chapter 6 ◾ The Session: Playtime, the Off-Ramp and Return Hook
Chapter 7 ◾ The Superfan Layer
Chapter 8 ◾ What Will People Pay For?
Chapter 9 ◾ Production-Centric versus Design-Centric
Chapter 10 ◾ How to Develop a Service Game
Chapter 11 ◾ How to Prototype and When to Pivot
Chapter 12 ◾ Production
Chapter 13 ◾ Managing Creativity
Chapter 14 ◾ Marketing Your Launch
Chapter 15 ◾ Metrics
Chapter 16 ◾ Ethics
Chapter 17 ◾ The Pyramid of Game Design Afterword 279
Nicholas Lovell has been working with game companies making service games since 2008. He has worked on large franchises such as Angry Birds, consulted on taking PC games like EVE Online free, helped take existing intellectual properties into a F2P service model (Stronghold Kingdoms) and helped small startups with their online MMOs (e.g. Lazarus). Along the way, clients have included a vast array of companies ranging from the largest (Square Enix, Bandai Namco, Rovio) to tiny startups like Spilt Milk Studios and nDreams and companies throughout Europe, the US and Canada.
Nicholas is the author of The Curve (Portfolio Penguin), a book about how to make money in the digital age and The F2P Toolbox (Gamesbrief). He has been writing about F2P game design since 2008 at www.gamesbrief.com.
Prior to 2008, Nicholas was CFO of Internet startup Shopsmart, CEO of PC gaming community GameShadow and, for a decade, an investment banker.
Nicholas lives in London.