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General Game Design

You can have the best technical programming skills in the world, but if your game design is bad, your game will be bad. Here you will learn the art of game design from the best in the industry.

For more information about General Game Design, check out:

Resources Listed: 193
Design DocumentsOnline Game Design
Game DesignCharacter Design
PsychologyGame Mechanics
Game Dissection and Analysis 
Subcategory: Design Documents
Topic Author Description
A Primer for the Design Process: Part 1, The Design Document
[Added: 7/5/2000]
Tim Huntsman  This first article explains what you need to do to get ready to make a game. 
Chris Taylor's Design Document Template
[Added: 6/22/2000]
Chris Taylor  A template from the founder of Gas Powered Games and creator of Total Annihilation. 
Creating a Great Design Document
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Tzvi Freeman  A nice overview on how to create that perfect design doc. 
Game Design DOC's (USENET Discussions)
[Added: 8/6/1999]
Various  Taken from a Usenet thread, this document provides several tips on creating a design document. 
How to Write an Effective Design Document
[Added: 5/25/2007]
Scott H, SlickEdit  This article will discuss how to do write an effective design document concisely with no special tools, and without needing to know UML. It will also discuss why a well written design document is one of the most valuable tools a developer can have when entering a new project. 
Monolith Productions' Claw Design Document
[Added: 10/21/1999]
Monolith  This is a professional design document from Monolith Productions in MS Word format (.doc) that is zipped up. 
The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 1: Documentation Guidelines for the Game Concept and Proposal
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Tim Ryan  Make sure that your design document meets the needs of the project and your team by instilling procedures that will help you complete your game on time and on budget. 
The Anatomy of a Design Document, Part 2: Documentation Guidelines for the Functional and Technical Specifications
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Tim Ryan  This article is part two of a series that provides guidelines that, when followed, will ensure that your design documents will be pertinent and to the point. 
The Anatomy of a Design Document: Templates
[Added: 7/20/2003]
Tim Ryan  These templates are based on the documented outlines from Ryan's "The Anatomy of a Design Document" articles (published on Gamasutra). Used with permission and compiled by Chris "coldacid" Charabaruk 
Tom Sloper's Format for Game Design Specifications
[Added: 8/6/1999]
Tom Sloper  A basic template for a design document, including a description of what belongs in each section. This is more suited to presenting a game idea to a publisher than for an internal design document. 
Subcategory: Game Design
Topic Author Description
2D vs. 3D: Fight of the Century?
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Geoff Howland  Geoff discusses the viability of 2D games in today's market. 
3D Graphics are the Spawn of Satan
[Added: 11/23/1999]
François-Dominic Laramée  A discussion of why your game may not benefit from bleeding edge technology. 
A Letter from a Dungeon
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  An interesting take on the current state of role playing games. 
A Primer for the Design Process, Part 2: Think
[Added: 7/12/2000]
Tim Huntsman  This installment explains what you need to think about while you're in production. 
A Primer for the Design Process, Part 3: Need
[Added: 7/18/2000]
Tim Huntsman  Examines what you'll need (or need to be asking for) from your company and development team. 
A Symmetry Lesson
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  With well researched parallels dating back to medieval games, Adams tackles the complexities of symmetry in game design, including the boons of asymmetric surprises. 
Analytical Perspectives in Game Design
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design Chapter 7: Gameplay
[Added: 5/18/2003]
Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams  An excerpt from Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design from New Riders Press, available now. 
Applying Game Design to Virtual Environments
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Stephen Clarke-Wilson, Ph.D  evaluates several key game design principles, including the concept of "weenies" -- Disneyland's famous customer attractor. 
Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie!
[Added: 4/11/2000]
Ernest Adams  In this article, Ernest Adams picks out the problems he sees in old games that are still being made in the games of today. Definitely worth a few minute read. 
Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie! II
[Added: 4/11/2000]
Ernest Adams  Ernest returns with five more things he sees as design flaws in today's games. 
Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie! III
[Added: 2/15/2002]
Ernest Adams  It's been nearly two years since Ernest Adams last shared the collection of videogame misfeatures, design errors, and personal annoyances he collects as he plays. Some of these are level-design errors or even programming weaknesses, but they're all things that a game designer has at least some influence on. 
Balancing Games with Positive Feedback
[Added: 1/10/2002]
Ernest Adams  Talks about the effect that positive feedback has on game balance. 
Behavioral Game Design
[Added: 5/11/2001]
John Hopson  Focuses on how players react to certain stereotypical conditions. 
Better Game Design Through Cutscenes
[Added: 4/5/2002]
Hugh Hancock  Cutscenes are useful for more than marketing screenshots and a chance to see your creation realized in film-like form. They can also provide a valuable, sometimes essential, tool for game design. 
Breaking the Rules (Ernest Goes To The Movies)
[Added: 7/12/2000]
Ernest Adams  Looks at what makes players frequently yell "Bull!" at the screen and throw down the controller. 
Building Character
[Added: 7/26/2000]
Toby Gard  Steady technological progress has slowly opened up possibilities for more believable and realistic characters. The question now is, how does a game developer leverage all of these additional technical resources to create more compelling characters? 
Cartographic Cartwheels
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Covers cartography as an art-form and references several books and web pages which illustrate proper information design. 
Chopping Down the Tech Tree: Perspectives of Technological Linearity in God Games, Part One
[Added: 6/14/2000]
Ethan Watrall  Ethan Watrall, an archaeologist by training, takes a look at the process of technological development in huaman societies, and examines how several key variables might be used to bring realism to the God Game genre. 
Chopping Down the Tech Tree: Perspectives of Technological Linearity in God Games, Part Two
[Added: 6/14/2000]
Ethan Watrall  In part two, the author tackles a new set of variables that influence the development of a society -- including science, religion, politics, and war. 
Collaborating in Game Design
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Noah Falstein and David Fox  Some tips on how to avoid common pitfalls and spread peace and joy amongst cube-ville.  
Conceptual Design: Understanding and Communicating Form
[Added: 12/3/2001]
Phil Saunders  When it comes to describing things, the first thing you need is a vocabulary. 
Cooking With Genres
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Geoff Howland  Another must-read for every prospective game designer; the author obviously realizes the true significance of game genres and the numerous ways in which they can be applied as design tools. 
Cyberspace in the 21st Century: Foundations
[Added: 12/8/2000]
Crosbie Fitch  Goes over many of the key technical issues that must be addressed before designing or implementing a virtual universe. 
Death (and Planescape: Torment)
[Added: 5/24/2000]
Ernest Adams  Looks at death in gaming, and specifically how Planescape: Torment used it well. 
Deeper Meaning and Form in Video Games
[Added: 6/7/2000]
Jonathan Mak  Explores the concept of games as a form of art. 
Design : Analysis
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Design : Design Criticism
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Design : Format
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Design : Genre
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Design : Resources
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Design : Story
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Designing and Developing Sports Games
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Discusses the stuff you need to know to create a believable simulation of sports-reality. 
Designing Design Tools
[Added: 5/17/2000]
Richard Rouse III  Details the features needed for well-designed, robust game creation tools. 
Designing Enemies With Distinct Functions
[Added: 2/21/2000]
Harvey Smith  Discussing making more interesting and unique enemy units. 
Designing for Kids: Infusions of Life, Kisses of Death
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Carolyn Miller  Takes a good look at some of the errors made in designing games for kids, and examines some of the defense tactics we can use against them. 
Designing for Online Communities
[Added: 1/5/2000]
David Michael  Excellent article covering things you MUST consider when designing online games. 
Designing Games for Novice Gamers
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Trond Wingrd Larsen  Find out how you can design cool games that won't scare off people who don't know the difference between a plasma rifle and a rocket launcher, and don't care. 
Designing Games for the Wage Slave
[Added: 7/12/2004]
Stuart Walpole  A guide to developing games for the 20-30 demographic 
Designing Great Games
[Added: 1/6/2004]
Roger E. Pedersen  Pedersen shares his insights and experience on what makes a great game. 
Difficulty in Dexterity-Based Platform Games
[Added: 3/4/2004]
Victor Nicollet  Presents 7 rules and a number of tricks for managing difficulty in platform games. 
Dogma 2001: A Challenge to Game Designers
[Added: 2/8/2001]
Ernest Adams  A challenge to game designers everywhere. 
Downsizing in Game Design
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Charles Vasey  Although expressed here in..."the long version"...Vasey's views on downsizing, as he calls it, are entertaining and revealing of a general design paradigm. 

[Added: 8/6/1999]
Lord Generic Productions   
Elements Of VideoGame Style
[Added: 7/5/2000]
Tony Belding  Looks at the elements of presence, chaos, challenge, and atmosphere in video game design. 
Everybody Conga! Well maybe not everybody...
[Added: 8/7/2007]
  A reminder that not everyone has the physical and cognitive abilities to play everyday games, and some thought into working accessibility into your games from a legal standpoint 
Evolutionary Design
[Added: 1/18/2002]
Daniel Cook  This article looks at creating a design 'process.' There are dozens of methodologies for creating great code, or streamlining the creation of suitable art assets. Designers can ask a related question, "What are a set of rational step-by-step activities that can be followed in order to create a more playable game?" 
Evolving Game Design from Alchemy to Science
[Added: 3/20/2003]
Alexander Jhin  This article presents some ideas how to approach game design from a scientific tilt that will help designers to truly understand why their games work. 
Formal Abstract Design Tools
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Doug Church  Proposes a potential framework for a formal game design vocabulary. 
Fun factor for game developers
[Added: 5/29/2002]
H. Hernn Moraldo  Discusses the importance of making games fun. 
Fun Games vs. Realistic Games
[Added: 4/9/2001]
Goran Lalic  Discusses the pros and cons of trying to attain realism in a game, or just ignoring realism and focusing instead on making it fun. 
Game Design : Immersiveness
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Geoff Howland  This article is a very complete survey of the central consideration of all game designers, that from which all others stem.  
Game Design : The Addiction Element
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Geoff Howland  Addiction, stemming from immersion and challenge, is a very important factor in replayability. All designers should have an adequate understanding of it, and Howland certainly does. 
Game Design : The Essence of Computer Games
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Geoff Howland  New designer? Old timer? It doesn't matter. This article is a point-by-point definition of games from the eyes of the designer, and is definitely a must-read. 
Game Design: Theory & Practice Second Edition
[Added: 12/14/2004]
Richard Rouse III  Chapter 1: What Players Want from Game Design: Theory & Practice 2nd Ed. 
Games and Instruments: Two Ways to Play
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Glenn Kurtz  Presents a reinterpretation on the meaning of "play" in computer games and argues for game design which rewards and maximizes the player's imaginative output. 
Games as an Educational Tool
[Added: 4/6/2004]
David Harlow  Presents some ideas about making games that are both educational and fun. 
Games as Art?
[Added: 7/7/2008]
Beth Aileen Dillon  Chris Crawford, game design veteran who founded the Game Developers Conference and left game industry to pursue his interactive storytelling Storytron project, addresses the current debate on whether or not games are art.  
Games for Girls? Eeeeewwww!
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  As a self-proclaimed feminist and a man who isn't afraid to wear a top hat to the CGDC, Ernest Adams was provoked by Rebecca's recent Girl Games article in Ms., and remebers a time when he too thought about making Lip Gloss adventures. 
Gamespot Designer Diaries
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Girl Games: Adventures in Lip Gloss
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Rebecca L. Eisenberg  Looks at the buzz surrounding games for girls and finds simplistic adventures rife with stereotypes. 
Guidelines for Developing Successful Games
[Added: 8/28/2001]
Bruce Shelley  One of the top game designers in the field talks about how to maximize your potential audience. 
Gulliver and Game Design
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  While Godzilla takes theaters by storm, (or by whimper as we hear it), Ernest turns his attention to his own dreams of living large. 
How To Be Weird
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  One of the classic questions posed by game designers is "can a game make you cry?" Ernest explores games through the ages that have evoked a strong emotional response in him in an attempt to find an answer. 
How to Focus your Game and Give Players More of What They Want
[Added: 9/24/2007]
Joshua Dallman  Describes a technique to help bring focus to your design to give players more of what they want and less of what they dont 
Humor in Games
[Added: 11/25/2001]
Brian Sowers  Implementing humor effectively within a game can be a daunting and perilous task for both experienced and inexperienced game designers. If humor is added correctly, it can be a powerful attraction to any game. 
I Can't Keep Up!
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Ernest has decided that he's not going to worry about keeping up with pop culture -- games that target the least common denominator are doomed anyway. 
It's Time to Bring Back Adventure Games
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  There was a time, long ago, when the adventure game ruled supreme, but 3D accelerators and multiplayer mania have now nearly eliminated adventure games altogether. According to Ernest, it's high time to bring them back. 
J & J's Art Of Computer Game Design
[Added: 9/7/1999]
J. Mak and J. Hust  No, not an updated version of the seminal work with the same name, but a very interesting look at modern game design. 
Learn Faster to Play Better: How to Shorten the Learning Cycle
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Daniel Snchez-Crespo Dalmau  Presents some ideas as to how the learning cycle might be shortened without losing game quality.  
Lets Put the Magic Back in Magic
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Asks you to rethink the implementation of magic in games. 
Lifecycle and Duration of Game Design
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Francois Dominic Laramee  Taken from a usenet posting, this article has good tips about the role of a designer and how to effectively create game designs. 
Looking Ahead: 10 Challenges for Designing Online Games and Communities
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Michael Sellers  What's the trick to making online multiplayer games successful? Is it building a community around them? More effective game design? 
Lost Along The Way: Design Pitfalls on the Road from Concept to Completion
[Added: 4/18/2002]
Rob Irving  As designers, it is our responsibility to shepherd a games vision from initial conceptualization to finished product and to maintain that visions integrity... 
Making the Case for Game Design Patterns
[Added: 3/14/2002]
Bernd Kreimeier  Proposes to adopt a pattern formalism for game design, as a means for describing, sharing and expanding knowledge about game design. 
MMO Design Guidelines
[Added: 9/5/2007]
James Allsopp  The article will present the basic foundations of the MMO design for the independent developer, using basic principals of design. The key is to keep the design simple and to outline the basic aspect on which you need in your MMO to gain a basic foundation. Also near the end will discuss building on those foundations to build your MMO up.  
Motivations in Games
[Added: 10/30/2001]
Sarbasst Braian  Provides an overview of six different ways in which you can provide motivation to the people playing your games. 
My "Next" Games: Families, Psychology, and Murder
[Added: 8/28/2001]
Ernest Adams  Ernest Adams desribes his formula for creating the ideal game. 
Nine step recipe for good independent game design (Part I)
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Damon Brown   
Nine step recipe for good independent game design (Part II)
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Damon Brown   
Nine step recipe for good independent game design (Part III)
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Damon Brown   
Non-linearity in Games
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Geoff Howland  This article discusses a very important consideration for designers of plot-based games; the author does an excellent job of addressing the issue using his practical design experience. 
Not Just Another Scary Face
[Added: 2/23/2000]
Ernest Adams  A discussion about creating variety in your game characters. 
Of Good Guys and Bad Guys, Generals and Gangsters
[Added: 12/14/2000]
Ernest Adams  Industry veteran Ernest Adams looks at some of the ethical issues involved with the roles we allow players to play. 
Of Mice, Men, and Mod-Friendly Architecture
[Added: 12/7/2001]
Richard Fine  Discusses some of the issues involved with designing your game so that it may be easily modified by the end user. 
On Gameplay, or Creating, Developing, and Balancing Your Game Concept
[Added: 11/20/2000]
The Constable  In this article, the author looks at establishing rules and balancing strategies, and how the two work together to create compelling gameplay. 
Pedersen's Principles on Game Design and Production
[Added: 3/16/2001]
Roger E Pedersen  An industry veteran shares his experiences as principles that everyone in the game industry should know. 
Power To The Kids!
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Tzvi Freeman  Looks at what separates good kids' games from poor ones, and gives some lessons in child psychology.  
Practical NPC Management With 'Free' NPCs
[Added: 1/5/2000]
Brent Newhall  Looks at several methods of managing intelligent NPCs. 
Putting the Madden in Madden
[Added: 5/2/2002]
Ernest Adams  Ernest talks about the role he played in adding John Madden's essense to the games bearing his name. 
rec.games.design FAQ
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Various  Last updated June 1998 
Reflections on the Colorado School Massacre
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  What responsibility do game designers have for their contributions to violence-saturated media? 
Remodeling RPGs for the New Millennium
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  The creator of some of the most popular games of all time (including Deus Ex and System Shock) offers several design tools for creating a new role-playing experience. 
Replayability, Part 2: Game Mechanics
[Added: 7/8/2001]
Ernest Adams  Looks at the most important factor in game replayability: whether it's playable in the first place. 
Replayability, Part One: Narrative
[Added: 5/29/2001]
Ernest Adams  Addresses the role of narrative in increasing a game's replay value. 
Rising from the Ranks: Rating for Multiplayer Games
[Added: 7/10/2000]
Bernd Kreimeier  Looks at how to establish proper rating and ranking for players to compare their performance in multiplayer games. 
Sex in Videogames, Part 1
[Added: 9/25/2000]
Ernest Adams  What about sex in computer games? Not just scantily-clad Amazons running around with guns, but real sex. 
Sex in Videogames, Part 2: Explicit Sex
[Added: 10/12/2000]
Ernest Adams  Answers the question "How do we design a game that is literally about sex?" 
Sex in Videogames, Part 3: Dramatic Significance
[Added: 11/28/2000]
Ernest Adams  Looks at the broader role that sex plays in our lives, and how that can translate to computer games. 
Shut Up and Design!
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Believing your own hype during the development process can only lead to complacency and poor game design. 
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Ernest Adams returns to one of the first rules of design this month. Keep it Simple. 
[Added: 4/2/2004]
San Diego, CA  SmartDraw is the easy drawing tool for game developers and other software professionals who need to quickly and easily create detailed and accurate design diagrams. You can try SmartDraw free for 30 days and see why leading game developers like Sammy Studios are using it to standardize the design process. 
Some Thoughts on Archaic Language
[Added: 2/29/2000]
Ernest Adams  A collection of thoughts regarding how to use archaic language appropriately in games, specifically fantasy RPGs. 
Stop Calling Games "Addictive"!
[Added: 4/20/2003]
Ernest Adams  If a game has that quality, then it's probably a darn good game. But using the word "addiction" to describe that quality does us no favors with the general public. 
Targeting Your Genre Audience
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Geoff Howland  This provides a nearly spotless overview of creating content suited to your audience--the central factor in crafting an entertaining game. 
Techniques for Achieving Play Balance
[Added: 2/21/2002]
Tom Cadwell  There is not a large amount of information on play balance technique widely available. This article is intended to help fill this information vacuum by describing both the nature of play balance and imbalances, as well as a process by which play balance can be achieved. 
Technology Inspires Creativity: Indie Game Jam Inverts Dogma 2001!
[Added: 6/6/2002]
Ernest Adams  Suppose we took a technology and told designers explicitly to think of new kinds of games we could make with it, without regard for their commercial viability? 
The 3 Completes of a Game
[Added: 1/15/2000]
Geoff Howland  An essay on the different stages of developing and testing a commercial game. 
The Art of Computer Game Design
[Added: 9/7/1999]
Chris Crawford  Old, but the best yet. This online version of the book describes the essentials of game design in excellent detail. A definite read. 
The Cabal: Valves Design Process For Creating Half-Life
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ken Birdwell  About the teamwork or "Cabal process" that turned the initial, less than impressive version of Half-Life into a groundbreaking success. 
The Day the 'Fun' Became Real
[Added: 10/26/2001]
Ernest Adams  Ernest Adams relates his views on our perception of violence in entertainment before and after the tragedies of September 11th. 
The Focus Of Gameplay
[Added: 1/5/2000]
Geoff Howland  A look into understanding the base components of gameplay. 
The Future of RPG's
[Added: 1/12/2001]
Chris Bennett  A guide for developers, designers and writers alike to look through as many ideas at once as possible. 
The Game Design Process
[Added: 11/23/1999]
Francois Dominic Laramee  A thorough description of how to transform an idea into a full design document 
The Getting Started Guide to Game Development FAQ
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Ben Sawyer  Although quite dated in many areas, the FAQ still contains many useful tips and suggestions for creating your own games. 
The Interface Part I : Mapping the Player
[Added: 5/26/2000]
Martin Kremecek  The user interface can make or break a game. In part 1 of this series, the author looks at design issues that can help you give the player the best possible experience. 
The Interface Part II : Feeding the Player
[Added: 10/16/2000]
Martin Kremecek  The second installment in this series looks at ways in which the game can effectively give information to the player. 
The Key to Completing Your Game: Motivation
[Added: 9/9/1999]
Geoff Howland  This article discusses how to stay motivated to finish your game. 
The Progressive vs. Experience Dichotomy
[Added: 2/2/2000]
Geoff Howland  A look at the two different styles of intent that games fall into. 
The Right Kind of Beauty
[Added: 11/13/2000]
Hayden Duvall  Let's face it, in today's market, no matter how good your game is, if it doesn't look good, you're dead. This article talks about ways to make sure that doesn't happen. 
The Rules of the Game: Cutting Cut Scenes
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  Used effectively, cut scenes are almost an indisposable part of great game design, but most just don't know how to make the cut in their own cut scenes. 
The Rules of the Game: How Long Until You Die
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  About the role of death in the beginning of your game and how to use it wisely to hook the player. 
The Rules of the Game: I Second that Emotion
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  Presents an overview of the emotional roller coaster of gameplay and offers advice on how a game designer can exploit player emotion to generate an exciting and memorable gaming experience. 
The Rules of the Game: Take a Chance on Me
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  Covers the role Chance can play in better designed games. 
The Rules of the Game: Teach a Boy to shoot
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  Notes one gaming interface that's just a little too sick and twisted. 
The Rules of the Game: Yer Such A Character
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  Who are we letting our players be when they stop growing up?  
The Rules of the Game: You don't always live twice
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  How your game design approaches player-lives has a significant impact on gameplay. 
The Slippery Slope of Advertising
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Hear Ernest muse on neo-feudal corporate empires and the dangers of corporate sponsorship in games. 
The Two C's of Video Game Design
[Added: 4/24/2004]
Richard Evans  Discusses the importance of creativity and communication in game design. 
The VR Gorilla-Rhino Test
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  A benchmark for determining when and if Virtual Reality will ever break out of it niche.  
The Yin and Yang of Games: Code and Content
[Added: 9/8/2001]
Richard Dare  Discusses how understanding the interaction of the content and code of a game can improve game design. 
Tolkien, Beethoven, Vision
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Ernest argues for the sanctity of quiet time. All artists need vision, including game designers, and sometimes the best way to get it is to sit staring at the wall. 
Using the Hero's Journey in Games
[Added: 11/30/2000]
Troy Dunniway  Examines the process of using a nine-act story structure and the classic hero's journey to develop both a game's story and level flow more quickly and easily.  
Violence In Video Games Part 1: The Early Medium
[Added: 11/3/2003]
Arthur William Merrill  The first part in a series of articles exploring the history and effects of violence in video games. 
Virtual Unreality of Videogames
[Added: 3/9/2004]
Pietro Guardini  Beginning with an objection to the excessive emphasis on "realism" in videogames, the paper goes on to argue that realism may even be counterproductive. A number of detailed examples and counter-examples will be presented to describe the rationales used by game designers, which lead to what will be called here 'virtual unreality'. 
Why 'On-Line Community' is an Oxymoron
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  "On-line community" is the latest hip buzz-phrase, just as the "global village" was a few years ago. But we don't hear so much about the global village any more, because although it's possible to visit Japanese or French websites just as easily as American ones, most Americans are still just as unable to read them. 
Will Wright on Art Games
[Added: 6/18/2008]
James Huck  Will Wright discusses gaming in the context of human development and as an up and coming art form. 
You Got Game! Part 1: The Idea
[Added: 3/9/2001]
Drew Sikora  Describes the process behind coming up with and developing a game idea. 
You Got Game! Part 2: The Design
[Added: 3/9/2001]
Drew Sikora  Shows you how to develop your idea into a realistic design, with the focus on gameplay. 
You Got Game! Part 3: The Document
[Added: 3/9/2001]
Drew Sikora  Discusses solidifying and clarifying your design with a design document. 
You Got Game! Part 4: The Development
[Added: 3/9/2001]
Drew Sikora  Gives a high level overview of the development process, from team structure to project planning. 
Subcategory: Psychology
Topic Author Description
Emotional Response to Color
[Added: 7/16/1999]
Unknown  A short bit about how colors can effect people's emotions. 
Four Ways to Use Symbols to Add Emotional Depth to Games
[Added: 4/20/2003]
David Freeman  This article will explore four different ways to use symbols to evoke emotional response from an audience. 
Games and the Imagination Part I
[Added: 6/22/2004]
Richard Dare  Explores the psychology of gaming and looks at some of the new ideas we can derive from exploring the ideas and fantasies that many players attach to games 
Games and the Imagination Part II
[Added: 9/8/2004]
Richard Dare  Looks at the role of Jungian psychology in game design. 
Games and the Imagination Part III
[Added: 10/25/2004]
Richard Dare  An in-depth look at the heroic quest theme. 
Games and the Imagination Part IV
[Added: 12/15/2004]
Richard Dare  The final installment in the series looks at ways for applying ideas from the series to game designs and addressing problems. 
My Name is Daniel and I am a Genre Addict
[Added: 4/10/2005]
Daniel Cook  Takes a look at the impact of psychological addiction on the game industry. 
The Psychology of Choice
[Added: 2/13/2002]
John Hopson  Understanding how players react to different kinds of choices can lead to designs that help them make the kind of choices that they'll enjoy as well as an understanding of how some game designs can unintentionally elicit bad choices. 
Subcategory: Game Dissection and Analysis
Topic Author Description
10 Tips for Better Playtests
[Added: 11/22/2007]
Bruno Urbain  Learn 10 ways to make the experience of play testing your game better for the people involved, both game players and team members alike 
A Tale of Two Fallouts
[Added: 11/23/1999]
Dave Astle  A designer's look at two successful games, and what lessons we can learn from them. 
Analyzing Might & Magic
[Added: 5/14/2001]
Jonas Kyratzes  Examines Might and Magic from a game designer's perspective. 
Baldur's Gate II: The Anatomy of a Sequel
[Added: 5/11/2001]
Dr. Ray Muzyka  Discusses some of the strategies employed during the development of Baldur's Gate II. 
Chris Crawford on Game Design, Chapter 21: Balance of Power
[Added: 6/30/2003]
Chris Crawford  This excerpt from Chris Crawford on Game Design (2003, New Riders Press) covers lessons leared during the development of Balance of Power 
Punch - Kick - Punch: A History of One-on-One Beat-Em-Ups
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Simon Carless  Dives into the story behind the evolution of Fighting Game genre. 
Subcategory: Online Game Design
Topic Author Description
Constructive Politics in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game
[Added: 4/11/2000]
Matthew Mihaly  Adding a polical system to a MMORPG. 
Creating Effective Groups and Group Roles in MMP Games
[Added: 4/20/2003]
Mike Sellers  Provides some design principles to follow based on how current MMP games are encouraging (or not) players to be part of groups within and around the game. 
Cyberspace in the 21st Century: Cyberspace and Twelve Monkeys
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Crosbie Fitch  If there were any doubts about the inevitability of the Internet's potential, Crosbie has set out to undermine them in this essay about building "cyberspace." 
Cyberspace in the 21st Century: Mapping the Future of Multiplayer Games
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Crosbie Fitch  Crosbie describes the way he sees interactive entertainment developing over the next century, with particular emphasis on scalable, networked interactive entertainment. 
Glory and Shame: Powerful Psychology in Multiplayer Online Games
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Jonathan Baron  Takes a look at the psychology behind multiplayer on-line games.  
Has Origin Created the First True Online Game World?
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Dave Greely and Ben Sawyer  See how Origin has sculpted its massively multiplayer universe into a dynamic, fluid brand of entertainment.  
How Can We Make People Play Less?
[Added: 9/10/2008]
Circo Continisio  Programmer Circo Continisio believes that MMORPGs are addictive, and not only should they not be, but that game designers are obligated to live by a code of ethics and design games that are profitable for the company but not harmful to players. 
Implementing God in the On-Line World
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ernest Adams  Has the anarchic arena of online gaming gotten so bad that it needs an all-seeing, vengeful Old Testament-type God to punish the predators and protect the weak? Ernest Adams delves into "that old time religion" for answers. 
Internet Game Design
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Yu-Shen Ng  A checklist of what you should know before diving into development of that multiplayer, Internet-based game. 
Massive Growing Pains Part 1
[Added: 10/28/2004]
Rick Luebbers  In the first installment in this series, a student from The Guildhall analyzes the MMORPG genre with input from two of its founding fathers 
Massive Growing Pains Part 2
[Added: 1/11/2005]
Rick Luebbers  In the second part of this series, the author talks to designers from NCSoft about critical elements of MMO design. 
Massive Growing Pains Volume 3: The Content War
[Added: 7/14/2005]
Rick Luebbers  The final installment of this series discusses the ever-escalating feature sets being included in MMOs. 
MMOG Considerations
[Added: 5/22/2004]
Richard "superpig" Fine  This article seeks to provide an overview of some of the issues you should consider when thinking about an MMO project - to give you some of the questions you should be asking, as well as a few possible answers. 
Online Gaming: Why Won't They Come?
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Jessica Mulligan  The potential audience is high yet why are so many online ventures struggling? 
Online Justice Systems
[Added: 4/27/2000]
Derek Sanderson  Since online worlds inevitably draw players who want to be criminals, you need to think about creating a fair, reasonable justice system. This article gives you some ideas. 
Teaching an Old Dog New Bits: How Console Developers are Able to Improve Performance When the Hardware Hasn't Changed
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Andrew S. Gavin and Stephen White  A video game console doesn't change at all over the course of its lifetime, meaning that developers have to continue finding newer and better ways to develop for a given platform. 
The Internet Sucks: Or, What I Learned Coding X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Peter Lincroft  Want to make a multiplayer space combat simulator run over the Internet? It may not be as easy as you think. Read on to find out why it's not your programmers's fault - it's that darn Internet. 
The Rules of the Game: Hanging Out in the Lobby
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  More on the social benefits of being congenial and chatting in the game area lobby. 
The Rules of the Game: Multi-Player Lobbying
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  Looks at the art of gathering the right players together for some multiplayer fun. 
The Rules of the Game: The Masquerade
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Ben Calica  Tips and tricks on making the most of the lobby area from both a user and developer perspective. 
Where We Should be Going with Online Games
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Sean Patrick Fannon  Merciless masters, frustrated newbies, and the increase in "flex and twitch" gaming in RPGs creates a problem. A game designer offers some ideas for maturing the genre. 
Subcategory: Character Design
Topic Author Description
Player Character Concepts
[Added: 2/17/2002]
Harvey Smith  Drawing on the idea of the player-character, Harvey Smith discusses issues related to character design, including kinds of characters, prescribed identities, player self-expression, and the difference between traditional fiction and interactive gaming. 
Subcategory: Game Mechanics
Topic Author Description
Invisible Walls
[Added: 8/20/2008]
Luca Breda  Immersion is a phenomenon in many kinds of media, though it is particularly relevant in virtual environments and video games. Immersion is a concept largely used to describe the player's status relative to the medium. However, there is more than one approach to how we define immersion.  
Lock Mechanisms in Game Design
[Added: 6/16/2001]
Jonathon Schilpp  Descibes the locking technique used to prevent players from having immediate access to all areas of your game. 
Randomness without Replacement
[Added: 2/16/2005]
David Kennerly  Dissects the randomization function common in RPGs from a game mechanics perspective. 
Rock, paper and scissors
[Added: 7/5/2000]
Geoffrey Dunn  Looks at unit balancing and other trends in game design. 
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