Books about Game Design

Can anyone recommend a book or books on game design?

What about this one by Ernest Adams and Andrew Rollings, or this one by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman?

I’m not looking for a bible, just a well-articulated set of ideas, a window into some prominent philosophies, a look at what people are thinking, etc.

I really like “Rules of Play” by Katie & Eric, however it’s not necessarily for everyone.

I’ve bought some books on game design but haven’t read most of them yet.

Game Architecutre and Design by Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris. I’m only on chapter 7 so far but it does give a pretty good look in the process of developing a game, it also talks about working with a team.

Chris Crawford on Game Design: the first half of the book when he gives his ideas about game design are good, but the 2nd half isn’t as good.

A theory of Fun: I didn’t like this book as much, as alot of the stuff I already knew from experiencing it in games.

Gender Inclusive Game Design by Sheri Ray

Those books are both fine, as the authors know what they’re talking about. Raph has a well-regarded design book, and I seem to remember that Lum (Scott Jennings) has an MMO design book as well.

I’m also going to pimp “Playing to Win” by David Sirlin, although it’s probably not comprehensive enough to serve as a general purpose game design book.

  • Alan

Lum’s only book that I know of is MMOs for Dummies. I wouldn’t really call it about design…

To add to the list: Richard Bartle’s Designing Virtual Worlds.

— Alan

Heh, I was just going to come in and say “go read Dave Sirlin’s website for a while,” but I guess the OP did ask for a book specifically. Sirlin’s stuff about competitive multiplayer game design is superb IMO.

On my floor now (I don’t have shelves in my cave - stone walls):
Massively Multiplayer Game Development 2

What to do and what not do, ideas and a bit about the tech (one Ageia employee
has an article in there). The DON’T articles serve as warnings, and will
hopefully put people off wanting to become MMO developers/designers >:)

Some of the NCSoft articles were about elements found in Guild Wars later.
The book is divided into game mechanics, actual coding techniques and management.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Not specifically about game design, but the first few chapters provide a brilliant insight into what is needed to create a positive, involving experience.


Thanks for all the recommendations!

I found Game Design: Theory and Practice to be a very entertaining and thought-provoking book. I recommend you check it out. One of the better design books I’ve read.