Looking online for extra guidance to master the tools of game design?
Are you interested in game design and game development or just love video games in general? In this article, we’ve listed ten of our favourite blogs out there on the web covering game design – the philosophy, mechanics and systems that underpin successful games. Check out each below and expand your knowledge in a wide range of game design areas!
Raph Koster’s blog is an excellent starting point as it doesn’t get bogged in elaborate theory and it doesn’t presume a lot of prior knowledge on the part of the reader. He does a great job covering the major trends in game design, and his posts can provide a springboard to more in-depth investigation depending on what grabs your interest.
Visit Blog – www.raphkoster.com
Recommended Article – “Games Design vs UX Design”
As the URL would suggest, this is the blog of none other than Keith Burgun of 3 Minute Game Design fame. The topics of Burgun’s posts are wide-ranging, and are informed by real industry experience. Heading up Dinofarm games, he’s behind both Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure and 100 Rogues, both favourites of the indie scene. He covers everything from the ubiquity of violence in video games to the exploitative nature of RPG systems. You may not always agree with what Burgun has to say but he is great at raising the latest key issues that game designers have to face.
Visit Blog – www.keithburgun.net
Suggested Article – “Randomness and Game Design”
Deconstructor Of Fun
As a resource for getting to grips with freemium design, this site is really second-to-none. It tends not to be updated as much as it used to but the three contributing writers are all veterans of the F2P arena, having cut their teeth working at industry powerhouse Zynga. These guys have reached the top of their game at a very young age, and this is in large part down to a keen knowledge of what makes the modern gamer tick. A great resource for getting an insight into player psychology.
Visit Blog – www.deconstructoroffun.com
Recommended Article – “Characteristics of a Successful Game”
Meticulous, thorough and informative, Sirlin’s blog offers a wealth of advice and commentary on game design with a particular emphasis on game systems and balancing. If you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of what makes a well-designed game, this is the one to look to.
Visit Blog – www.sirlin.net
Recommended Article – “Subtractive Design”
Best known as the founder of Mohawk Games, Soren Johnson’s series of podcasts features interviews with many of the leading lights of the indie gaming scene. Coming as he does from a development background himself, Saltsman knows what questions to ask. As a result, these interviews offer a telling insight into the design choices behind some of the best-loved indie games out there.
Visit Blog – www.idlethumbs.net
Recommended Article – Podcast Interview with Bruce Shelley
The Games Design Round Table
In a similar vein to Soren Johnson’s blog, this has tons of great podcasts featuring indie developers currently working in the industry.
Visit Blog – www.thegamedesignroundtable.com/
Recommended Article – “Podcast Interview on Writing for Games”
Certainly an odd one, but this offers a great insight into game design as a creative process. According to the author Sean Howard, the original project was to design and create 300 unique concepts over the course of as many days. He’s since aborted this (frankly insane) project, and instead the site has evolved into a series of design documents, with each post expanding upon an entirely different gameplay concept. The great thing is that Howard is happy for anyone to use his ideas with attribution, so this a great resource if you’re struggling to come up with an idea of your own.
Visit Blog – www.squidi.net
Recommended Article – “Negative Space”
Sort of a hybrid between a review and a design blog, author Burford gives his unvarnished opinions on games new and old with an emphasis on game mechanics and design. Engaging and not overly technical, this a good stimulus for thinking about the bearing a game’s design has on its overall playability.
Visit Blog – www.kotaku.com
Recommended Article – “Alien Isolation’s Artificial Intelligence Was Good, Too Good”
John Shafer Design
John Schafer was a lead designer on the all-time classic Civilization 5, and his blog offer some fantastic insight into RPG design. Quite a lot of recent content only covers his current project “At the Gates” so you might have to do a bit of digging, but it’s well worth given the experience he brings to bear.
Visit Blog – www.jonshaferondesign.com
Recommended Article – “How do you become a Game Designer”
Psychology of Games
If you’re interested in gaining a more scientific understanding of the modern gamer and how game designers aim to tap into this, this has some very interesting material. As a heads up, there’s not much in the way of practical guidance for the budding developer here, but it will help you place game within their wider cultural context.
Visit Blog – www.psychologyofgames.com
Recommended Article – “When the Pay to Win Button Backfires”
Game Design Programmes at Pulse College
If you’re interested in getting into the growing area of Game Design and Development, why not get in touch with us to find out more about our game development programmes and how they can help you to gain an edge in a competitive industry.