Fundamentals of Game Design by Ernest Adams
(2nd Edition)

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To create a great video game, you must start with a solid game design: A well-designed game is easier to build, more entertaining, and has a better chance of succeeding in the marketplace. Here to teach you the essential skills of player-centric game design is one of the industry’s leading authorities, who offers a first-hand look into the process, from initial concept to final tuning.

Now in its second edition, this updated classic reference by Ernest Adams offers a complete and practical approach to game design, and includes material on concept development, gameplay design, core mechanics, user interfaces, storytelling, and balancing. In an easy-to-follow approach, Adams analyzes the specific design challenges of all the major game genres and shows you how to apply the principles of game design to each one. You’ll learn how to:
Define the challenges and actions at the heart of the gameplay. Write a high-concept document, a treatment, and a full design script. Understand the essentials of user interface design and how to define a game’s look and feel. Design for a variety of input mechanisms, including the Wii controller and multi-touch iPhone. Construct a game’s core mechanics and flow of resources (money, points, ammunition, and more).
Develop appealing stories, game characters, and worlds that players will want to visit, including persistent worlds. Work on design problems with engaging end-of-chapter exercises, design worksheets, and case studies. Make your game accessible to broader audiences such as children, adult women, people with disabilities, and casual players.
“Ernest Adams provides encyclopedic coverage of process and design issues for every aspect of game design, expressed as practical lessons that can be immediately applied to a design in-progress. He offers the best framework I’ve seen for thinking about the relationships between core mechanics, gameplay, and player—one that I’ve found useful for both teaching and research.” — Michael Mateas, University of California at Santa Cruz, co-creator of Façade

About Ernest Adams

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Ernest Adams is a game design consultant, teacher, and the author of the classic Fundamentals of Game Design, Second Edition, the companion volume to this title. He has worked in the game industry for 23 years, eight of them at Electronic Arts. He is also the founder and first chairman of the International Game Developers’ Association. His professional web site is at Dormans (PhD) is a game design lecturer and researcher based in Amsterdam with eight years of experience in higher education. For the past four years he has been researching formal tools and methods to design game mechanics. As an independent, freelance game designer he published and worked on several video games and board games, including story-driven adventure games, physical platform games, and a satirical political card game. His professional web site is at
Published April 7, 2010 by New Riders. 697 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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