Saturday, October 31, 2020

Book Overview: The Art Of Game Design

Well, where do I begin. The Art Of Game Design by Jesse Schell is the holy grail for game designers. It is simply a must read for anyone who is serious about build a game.

This book is extremely detailed and it will be foolish of me to summarise this book here. I will instead provide an overview about the book and encourage you to read this awesome book. The kindle version of the book can be bought from Amazon

Book Overview

The book starts by listing down the skills that a game designer needs to learn in order to design an awesome game. It lists around 20 essential skills, ranging from Anthropology, Architecture, Engineering, Economics, Mathematics, Sound and Music, Psychology to Visual Arts.

After reading this list for the first time, my respect for the game designers sky rocketed. I was wondering, can any single person have all these skills? 

As with everything else the most important skill for a game designers is "Listening"

Game designers must listen to many things. These can be grouped into five major categories: team, audience, game, client and self!

The book then starts dissecting the process of creating a good game. It's like peeling an onion, layer after layer the book talks about various important aspects to consider while designing a game.  Here's a comprehensive but elegant map of things involved in creating a good game design 

The book gives out a set of questions that must be asked by the game designer to iterate on the current game design to make it better. These questions are called lenses. 

There are about 100 lenses described in the book. It also gives a set of most important question that the game designer must ask to look at the current game design from a given lens. For e.g. "The Lens of Fun" the questions for this lens are 

  • What parts of my game are fun? Why?
  • What parts need to be more fun?

Using the knowledge from the book we improved many things in our game design process. I would like to mention one very simple change we did which resulted in giving us great results. 

The book talks about "Finding a Brainstorming Partner". 

Finding the right brainstorming partner can make a world of difference-sometimes the two of you can get to great solutions many times faster than either of you could alone, as you bounce ideas back and forth and complete one another's sentences.

 We implemented this simple change in our process and we saw immediate improvements in our progress. The book is filled with tips like these. These tips can have material impact on the final game.

The book talks about 100 different lenses, obviously it's difficult to remember all of them. To make the lenses more handy and easy to use, author has an iOS and Android app called The Art of Game Design: a Deck of Lenses

Overall, I feel it was a great read and I totally recommend reading this book. If you have built a game in the past or are considering building a game just pick up a copy today.

Have some Fun!