Introduction to Game System Design, 1st edition

Published by Pearson (August 13, 2021) © 2022

  • Dax Gazaway
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ISBN-13: 9780137440849
Introduction to Game Systems Design
Published 2021


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  • Also available for purchase as an ebook from all major ebook resellers, including
As games grow more complex and gamers expectations soar, the discipline of game systems design becomes ever more important. Game systems designers plan a games rules and balance, its characters attributes, most of its data, and how its AI, weapons, and objects work and interact. Introduction to Game Systems Design is the first complete beginners guide to this crucial discipline. Writing for all aspiring game professionals, even those with absolutely no experience, leading game designer and instructor Dax Gazaway presents a step-by-step, hands-on approach to designing game systems with industry-standard tools. Drawing on his experience building AAA-level game systems (including games in the Star Wars and Marvel franchises), Gazaway covers all this, and more:
  • Exploring the essentials of game design and its emerging subdisciplines
  • Asking the essential questions at the heart of all design
  • Getting started with modern game system design tools, including the spreadsheets most professionals now use
  • Creating systems and data from a blank page
  • Populating and quantifying a world of data into a game
  • Tuning and balancing game systems
  • Testing game systems and data
  • Leveraging communication, psychology, and rewards within your games
  • Balancing game probability within systems

Preface     xx

Chapter 1  Games and Players: Defined     1

Chapter 2  Roles in the Game Industry     23

Chapter 3  Asking Questions     31

Chapter 4  System Design Tools     43

Chapter 5  Spreadsheet Basics     51

Chapter 6  Spreadsheet Functions     89

Chapter 7  Distilling Life into Systems     109

Chapter 8  Coming Up with Ideas     119

Chapter 9  Attributes: Creating and Quantifying Life     133

Chapter 10  Organizing Data in Spreadsheets     145

Chapter 11  Attribute Numbers     157

Chapter 12  System Design Foundations     169

Chapter 13  Range Balancing, Data Fulcrums, and Hierarchical Design     195

Chapter 14  Exponential Growth and Diminishing Returns     215

Chapter 15  Analyzing Game Data     229

Chapter 16  Macrosystems and Player Engagement     245

Chapter 17  Fine-Tuning Balance, Testing, and Problem Solving     257

Chapter 18  Systems Communication and Psychology     279

Chapter 19  Probability     291

Chapter 20  Next Steps     341

Index     345

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