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February 20 , 2009

A Game Design Vocabulary

Exploring the Foundational Principles Behind Good Game Design


Master the Principles and Vocabulary of Game Design


Why aren’t videogames getting better? Why does it feel like we’re playing the same games, over and over again? Why aren’t games helping us transform our lives, like great music, books, and movies do?

The problem is language. We still don’t know how to talk about game design. We can’t share our visions. We forget what works (and doesn’t). We don’t learn from history. It’s too hard to improve.

The breakthrough starts here. A Game Design Vocabulary gives us the complete game design framework we desperately need—whether we create games, study them, review them, or build businesses on them.

Craft amazing experiences. Anna Anthropy and Naomi Clark share foundational principles, examples, and exercises that help you create great player experiences…complement intuition with design discipline…and craft games that succeed brilliantly on every level.

  • Liberate yourself from stale clichés and genres
  • Tell great stories: go way beyond cutscenes and text dumps
  • Control the crucial relationships between game “verbs” and “objects”
  • Wield the full power of development, conflict, climax, and resolution
  • Shape scenes, pacing, and player choices
  • Deepen context via art, animation, music, and sound
  • Help players discover, understand, engage, and “talk back” to you
  • Effectively use resistance and difficulty: the “push and pull” of games
  • Design holistically: integrate visuals, audio, and controls
  • Communicate a design vision everyone can understand
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