Notgames Forum

Creation => Reference => : Erik Svedäng March 31, 2010, 01:24:11 AM

: Books!
: Erik Svedäng March 31, 2010, 01:24:11 AM
I'm surfing on a hunt for books that will help make me a better (not)game developer. Does anyone know of any gems that could be of interest? Anything that made you feel more inspired/better prepared to make the kind of games we talk about here. I have a pretty decent collection of books on graphic design, programming and normal game design but not much more that is useful. Anyone got any ideas?


: Re: Books!
: Pierrec March 31, 2010, 07:52:53 AM
maybe you shouldn't look for books about games (although you're trying to design notgames) but for notbooks.
I have in mind the Oulipian (litterature) or Oubapian (comics) productions. Wonderfull exemples of creation with constraints.

I don't know what exists in english, but you could find for instance
maybe 99 ways to tell a story, Matt Madden, for the comics
or Henri Mathews for the litterature.

: Re: Books!
: Michaël Samyn March 31, 2010, 08:05:15 AM
While literature and poetry and art in general have always been more inspiring for me, there's been a few technical books that I found useful. One of them is "Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling". For programming, I have enjoyed some of the essays in the "AI Game Programming Wisdom" series, edited by Steve Rabin. But I think overall what I have found the most encouraging, was reading interviews with artists from other fields, which confirmed my suspicion that I was not crazy after all (a feeling I sometimes get when confronted with games people too much).

: Re: Books!
: Michaël Samyn March 31, 2010, 10:35:05 AM
I also like Chris Bateman's "21st Century Game Design". Especially since it makes very good arguments about the necessity for a increasing variety in games in terms of commerce.

: Re: Books!
: Thomas March 31, 2010, 11:20:53 AM
"Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud is a really interesting for designer for any medium (and not just comics). There is a lot of good stuff in that book!

: Re: Books!
: Michaël Samyn March 31, 2010, 12:34:55 PM
Well, if we're going broader, than I'd definitely recommend José Ortega y Gasset's "The Dehumanization of Art (". That book was instrumental in forming my ideas about art. His "The Revolt of the Masses (" is great too!

I should read both again...

: Re: Books!
: Erik Svedäng March 31, 2010, 06:39:10 PM
Thanks guys, that's some great tips! :D

I'm not specifically looking for technical books... maybe rather "theory" books. Has anyone read "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander? I'm thinking about picking that up but I'm a bit scared.

: Re: Books!
: Dagda March 31, 2010, 10:23:45 PM
The only book on game design itself that I've found helpful is Raph Koster's "A Theory Of Fun." (That's not a condemnation of anything posted so far in this thread, haven't read any of them) When it comes to books that weren't written with games in mind but still proved helpful, I'll second "Understanding Comics" and also recommend Robert McKee's "Story".

Oh! There's also "Hobby Games: The 100 Best"; a hundred different game developers and writers (including tons of big names like Gary Gygax and Warren Spector) gushing about their favorite non-electronic games. What makes it such an invaluable reference is how substantive these descriptions are; each 3 to 4-page piece involves a overview of the game's mechanics (especially any innovative elements), as well as an in-depth examination of how and why the game is so amazing to play. Seriously, this is a gold mine for any game designer, even if you're someone who focuses on making video games- in fact, that'll probably make this book even more helpful. If you're going to get one book, get this one.

: Re: Books!
: Erik Svedäng March 31, 2010, 10:33:25 PM
Yeah, A Theory of Fun and Understanding Comics are both great. This board game books sounds really nice, I'll check it out asap!

: Re: Books!
: Michaël Samyn March 31, 2010, 11:02:45 PM
I liked Raph Koster's theory about aesthetic enjoyment being pattern recognition with a slight error (at least that how I remembered it). But I found his reduction of the enjoyment of games to learning rather simplistic. This only really applies to relatively rudimentary -or "pure"- games, in my opinion.

By the way, I've done some reporting on books I read during our Drama Princess research here (

: Re: Books!
: Dagda April 01, 2010, 12:09:08 AM
Erik, the "Hobby Games" book also covers a variety of other tabletop games- RPGs, collectible card games, etc.

Michael, I definitely don't think he's trying to say that the "fun" he's identifying is the only good/enjoyable thing can people get out of playing a game. There's a hundred other aspects that combine to produce the end experience, he's just focusing on the one that's actually an inherent part of what a game is.

(I am already completely in love with this forum, just based on this thread)

: Re: Books!
: Erik Svedäng April 01, 2010, 04:22:13 AM
Erik, the "Hobby Games" book also covers a variety of other tabletop games- RPGs, collectible card games, etc.

OK, cool!

: Re: Books!
: God at play April 01, 2010, 05:48:40 AM
Happy to see this thread. :) I have my own list going, too!

Robert McKee's Story (as Dagda mentioned)
James Bonnett's Stealing Fire From the Gods
Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces (a main inspiration for flOwer)
Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics

Eric Zimmerman's Rules of Play
Raph Koster's Theory of Fun
Chris Crawford's (anything)
Donald Norman's Design of Everyday Things

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow
Stanislov Grof's Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research (most interesting topical book I've ever read)

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