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August 23, 2011 / marvinhawkins

My Thoughts on The Art of Game Design

Ah summer, most people use it as a chance to get out and explore the great outdoors. The days are longer, the drinks are sweeter, and the grill is going non stop.  Lots of people also use it as a chance to catch up on their reading.  While others were  checking Game of Thrones off their reading lists, I finished The Art of Game Design. While I do enjoy great fiction, it is tough to find good books on game design. When I find one, I snap it up and absorb it like a sponge.  Most books are geared toward the absolute beginner, and typically cover very rudimentary things. I am not an expert, but there are only so many times that you can read about the role of a programmer before it sounds redundant. The Art of Game Design covers everything from interest graphs to working in a team. Below are a few of my thoughts on my summer reading.:

The way that Jesse Schell’s book separates itself from others is through its use of lenses. The book challenges you to look at your game  idea through 100 different angles. These lenses allowed me to think about my game in different ways. I really enjoyed the practical aspect of this book. Some feel that game designers simply sit around and dream up game ideas. Schell’s book dispells this myth handily.  Instead, game design is a series of decisions that last throughout the entire game’s process. Art of Game Design also gave me a few tools for my designer’s toolbox. I often thought of what made my game prototypes fun, but I had never heard of an interest curve. The use of an interest curve helps determine where a potential audience will enjoy or get board with a game. This was my favorite concept, but learning more about probability, team management, and pitching were also enjoyable. In all, the book is chock full of tips, and would be a great pick up for anyone with a serious interest in the field. I admit, that it was not ‘light summer reading’. This books is good enough to be used as a text book, and like a text book some sections get a bit dry.
In fact, I had to re read multiple sections just to comprehend the concepts.  Overall though, it is an excellent book, and I whole heartedly recommend it.


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