O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

The Game Designer's Playlist: Innovative Games Every Game Designer Needs to Play

Book Description

Game Designers: Learn from the Masters!

 

In The Game Designers Playlist, top game design instructor Zack Hiwiller introduces more than 70 remarkable games, revealing how they work, why they're great, and how to apply their breakthrough techniques in your own games.

 

Ranging from Go to Texas Hold'em and Magic: The Gathering to Dishonored 2, Hiwiller teaches indispensable lessons about game decision-making, playability, narrative, mechanics, chance, winning, originality, cheats, and a whole lot more. He gleans powerful insights from virtually every type of game: console, mobile, PC, board, card, and beyond.

 

Every game is presented in full color, with a single purpose: to show you what makes it exceptional, so you can create legendary games of your own.

  • Discover how game designers use randomness and luck
  • Make the most of narrative and the narrator's role
  • Place the game challenge front and center
  • Optimize game mechanics, and place mechanics in a broader context
  • Uncover deep dynamic play in games with the simplest rules
  • Find better ways to teach players how to play
  • See what games can teach about the process of game design
  • Build games with unusual input/output modalities
  • Explore winning, losing, and game dynamics beyond “one-vs.-all”

Register your book for convenient access to downloads, updates, and/or corrections as they become available. See inside book for details.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication Page
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. About the Author
  9. 1 From Simplicity, The Universe
    1. A Universe, Conquered
    2. The Simplicity and Complexity of Go
    3. More Than Thinking, Learning
    4. Play to Win
    5. Summary
  10. 2 Randomness and Cholesterol
    1. A Short History of Randomness
    2. Pass the Chips
    3. Mate
    4. Stranger and Stranger Danger
    5. Goofspiel
    6. Agency and Uncertainty
    7. Types of Uncertainty in Mechanics
    8. Randomness and Perceptions of Fairness
    9. Summary
  11. 3 Pushing One’s Luck
    1. Press Your Luck or Press Your Skill?
    2. No Whammy
    3. It’s in the Name
    4. Greed and Risk
    5. Let Them Eat Cake
    6. Equity
    7. Summary
  12. 4 Piecemeal Perspectives
    1. Interactive Fictions
    2. Actors and Interactions
    3. Armchair Jurors
    4. Her Story
    5. Orwell
    6. The Eye Above
    7. Summary
  13. 5 Permanence
    1. Interactive Fictions
    2. Fiero
    3. Memories of Places That Have Never Been
    4. Summary
  14. 6 Mechanics as Message
    1. Where Meaning Exists
    2. Marriage of Theme and Interaction
    3. September 12th
    4. Passage
    5. Dissonance
    6. Bioshock and Dissonance
    7. Systems as Politics
    8. Parable of the Polygons
    9. Summary
  15. 7 Requiem for a Pewter Shoe
    1. Pieces and Meaning
    2. The Buddha Nature
    3. Nomic
    4. Eying Basic Grammars
    5. Summary
  16. 8 The Second Chance Phenomenon
    1. Flexibility
    2. Hearthstone
    3. Dominion
    4. 7 Wonders
    5. Summary
  17. 9 Challenging Complexity
    1. Retracing Your Steps
    2. Drop7
    3. Triple Town
    4. Game of Life
    5. Pair Solitaire
    6. Love Letter
    7. Summary
  18. 10 Learning to Walk
    1. The Price of Entry
    2. Building a Structure
    3. Thinking with Portals
    4. Summary
  19. 11 Mechanics in Milieu
    1. Taste and Distaste
    2. Agency and Dilemma
    3. Depression Quest and Indirect Representation
    4. Papers, Please
    5. A Mind Forever Voyaging
    6. One Vision
    7. Summary
  20. 12 The Clone Wars
    1. Here Comes the Flood
    2. What If Clones Are Necessary First Steps?
    3. How Mechanically Different Can a Clone Be?
    4. Summary of Questions
  21. 13 The Discipline of Game Design
    1. The Worst Game Design Question
    2. So Then What Is a Game Designer?
    3. Accidental Game Design
    4. Write What You Love … or Not?
    5. Why Rewards?
    6. Summary
  22. 14 Winning and Losing
    1. Playing Together
    2. Communication
    3. Diplomacy
    4. Informal Rules
    5. Summary
  23. 15 Inputs and Outputs
    1. Mimicry
    2. Jousting
    3. Life as Game Inputs
    4. Waiting Is the Hardest Part
    5. Verbal Communication as Game Inputs
    6. Summary
  24. 16 Whose Stories?
    1. Negotiated Storytelling
    2. Automated Dungeon Masters
    3. Symbolic Worlds
    4. Who Are You?
    5. Summary
  25. 17 Cheat Codes
    1. On Cheating
    2. Katamari Damacy
    3. Terry Cavanaugh
    4. Dream Quest
    5. Desert Golfing
    6. Summary
  26. 18 Conclusion and Final Playlist
    1. Mindset
    2. Final Playlist, Divided by Platform
  27. Index