Article Essential Game Design Articles

Nocturne

Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
Admin
For a while now I've been collecting links on my Bookmark Bar for various Game Design articles. I've found most of them to be invaluable and have referred to them time and again when replying to people both here on the forums and through my various social media accounts, so I figured that if I find them useful, you guys might too! So here is a list of some of my favourite articles (under categories to make it easier to find what you want), and I'd request that if any of you have a great article to share that helps with the design and development process then you share it here too and I can add them to the list.


PROGRAMMING - General
A Shader Primer
A Beginners Guid To Programming Shaders (courtesy of @KingdomOfGamez)
Hexagonal Grids
Equations For Organic Motion
Sin And Cos - The Programmers Pals!
Ray Marching Signed Distance Functions (courtesy of @icuurd12b42)
How To Build A Racing Game (courtesy of @alexandervrs)
Dynamic 2D Soft Shadows (courtesy of @alexandervrs)
Maze Generation: Recursive Backtracking (courtesy of @Morne)


PROGRAMMING - Online
Fast Paced Multi-Player (Client-Server Architecture)
The Visual Guide to Multiplayer Level Design (courtesy of @alexandervrs)


PROGRAMMING - Platformers
Guide To Creating 2D Platformers (Amazing article and a must read for anyone making a platformer!)
How to Make Insane, Procedural Platformer Levels
Sonic Physics (courtesy of @alexandervrs)


PROGRAMMING - AI
A Practical Guide To Building AI
An Intro to Cellular Automation (courtesy of @Galladhan)


PROGRAMMING - Isometric
Isometric Tiles Introduction (courtesy of @alexandervrs)
Isometric Tiles Maths (courtesy of @alexandervrs)


DESIGN - General
Toasty Tips On Juicing Responsibly
Nine Tips For Indie Game Devs
The Art Of Screenshake (awesome video talk!)
List Of 40 Game Design Videos (courtesy of @SnoutUp)
The Best Icon Is A Text Label
Game Design Concepts (courtesy of @Aura)
Understanding Balance In Video Games (courtesy of @Aura)
Anatomy Of A Design Document Part 1, Part 2 (courtesy of @Aura)
General Game Design Articles (courtesy of @Aura)
Game Development Tips And Tricks (courtesy of @Morne)


DESIGN - Colour
How To Choose Colours Procedurally (courtesy of @Morne)
Understanding Color (courtesy of @Galladhan)
Colour Theory For Game Design (courtesy of @Aura)


DESIGN - Level Design
How To Plan Level Design And Game Environments
Beginning Level Design Part 1, Part 2 (courtesy of @Aura)


DESIGN - AI
Designing Emergent AI
Making AI Fun
Game Development Myths - Players Want Smart AI


DESIGN - Game Specific
Match Game Mechanics: An exhaustive survey (courtesy of @Galladhan)
Boss Battle Design And Structure (courtesy of @Aura)
Sonic Level Design (courtesy of @alexandervrs)
The Cabal: Valve’s Design Process For Creating Half-Life (courtesy of @Galladhan)


MARKETING
Congratulations, Your First Game Is A Flop
Advice For Aspiring Indie Developers
Naming An Indie Game
Business Tips For Indie Devs
The Basic Marketing Plan For Indies (courtesy of @Aura)
Pixel Prospector (courtesy of @zircher)


AUDIO
Practical Audio For Indies
Music Has The Right To Children


LEGAL
Understanding Licences (Or "Can I use this asset in my game")
Using Famous Quotes In Products
Setting Up Your Indie Game Studio
Myths and Facts in Avoiding Copyright Infringement


And (of course) SQUIDI!
Three Hundred Mechanics


So that's just a few of the articles I frequently refer to, and I hope that they are of some use to you all!
 
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Galladhan

Member
Great idea! :)
I need to find where i put my old bookmarks html file, and then i will contribute with some articles i found very interesting. Precious thread!
 

Galladhan

Member
Some links i have at hand (i can't find the older ones, they are lost somewhere in my HD, but i will find them eheh).

- Match Game Mechanics: An exhaustive survey
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JonathanBailey/20150227/237544/Match_Game_Mechanics.php

- Special Effects in Link's Awakening
http://kzone.winosx.com/posts/special-effects-in-zelda-links-awakening/
http://kzone.winosx.com/posts/links-awakening-rendering-the-opening-cutscene/

- An Intro to Cellular Automation
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134736/an_intro_to_cellular_automation.php

- Understanding Color
http://www.blenderguru.com/tutorials/understanding-colors/

- How Water Works In DwarfCorp
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MattKlingensmith/20130811/198050/How_Water_Works_In_DwarfCorp.php


Then there are some links to sites (not articles), so it's a bit OT, but maybe someone is interested in having a look.

 
I have a lot of these, I should add some here:

CodingMath Channel (All the videos are mad useful & there's source code for testing things out)
https://www.youtube.com/user/codingmath/playlists

Sonic Physics Guide (If you wish to make your platformer behave more complex with momentum)
http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_Physics_Guide

Sonic Level Design Guide (Some good points on level design brought up)
http://forums.sonicretro.org/?showtopic=28302

Final Fantasy Formulas & Battle Mechanics (For RPG stat-damage/healing calculations & other mechanics)
https://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/562865-final-fantasy-vi/faqs/13573
https://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/197341-final-fantasy-vii/faqs/22395
https://www.gamefaqs.com/ps/197343-final-fantasy-viii/faqs/58936
https://www.gamefaqs.com/ps2/197344-final-fantasy-x/faqs/31381

How to build a Racing game (If you're interested in doing an oldskool 2D racer)
http://codeincomplete.com/posts/javascript-racer-v1-straight/
http://codeincomplete.com/posts/javascript-racer-v2-curves/
http://codeincomplete.com/posts/javascript-racer-v3-hills/
http://codeincomplete.com/posts/javascript-racer-v4-final/

Isometric Intro & Math (A couple easy and useful isometric tutorials)
http://flarerpg.org/tutorials/isometric_intro/
http://clintbellanger.net/articles/isometric_math/

Dynamic Soft Shadows (2D Lighting, a little old but basic tutorial if wanna do lights)
http://archive.gamedev.net/archive/reference/programming/features/2dsoftshadow/page3.html

The Visual Guide to Multiplayer Level Design
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/Bobb..._Visual_Guide_to_Multiplayer_Level_Design.php

Contain and Cover (Can be applied to game resolution)
http://blog.vjeux.com/2013/image/css-container-and-cover.html
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Several of my favorite articles show up here... haven't really much to add at the moment, so I'll just say XOMG YAY GOOD WORK! :3



...or, actually, ExtraCredits' Youtube channel deserves a mention IMO. They don't always have the best advice and a lot of their stuff is targeted at the industry, but most of their videos are interesting anyway.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCODtTcd5M1JavPCOr_Uydg
 

Morne

Member
This is an awesome forum topic!

Mazes:
I've use this amazing article to make a commercial Maze game with GMS - let me know if you need help with the code. He covers many types of mazes with code examples, and various other articles:
http://weblog.jamisbuck.org/2010/12/27/maze-generation-recursive-backtracking

I've too much to share from my bookmarks, and many of the popular articles I'm glad to see is already listed,
here is another list of Game Development: Tips & Tricks Google Doc

Huge resource lists Game Dev Portal plus you can buy HTML5 publishers e-book
http://nakedgameplay.com/

Many great articles from South African devs: I link to an interesting one on Procedural Color Generation..
http://devmag.org.za/2012/07/29/how-to-choose-colours-procedurally-algorithms/
 

Lemth

Member
Really great content!!

Just wondering if anyone has some good resources or articles on realistic movement and on collision methods ?
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
articles on realistic movement
Define 'realistic movement', it's too broad and inaccurate of a term. Could refer to just accelerations and inertia and stuff, down to inverse kinematics and dynamic foot placement, or just animating stuff so they look nice when they move around. Besides, if you're just making a top-down shooter or such, there's no point in aiming for realism anyway since the game itself will break the illusion too badly. Go for what feels nice to play instead of what looks realistic.
 

Lemth

Member
Define 'realistic movement', it's too broad and inaccurate of a term. Could refer to just accelerations and inertia and stuff, down to inverse kinematics and dynamic foot placement, or just animating stuff so they look nice when they move around. Besides, if you're just making a top-down shooter or such, there's no point in aiming for realism anyway since the game itself will break the illusion too badly. Go for what feels nice to play instead of what looks realistic.
Well, you're already mentioning a big part of what I would love to read / learn about. Just like this guide (from above list) mentions different ways of building a platform I would like to know about different ways of implementing (realistic) movement.

For instance:
  1. How do I do acceleration and deceleration on an object to look like a walking human.
    • when and how to use easings
    • and how to implement this using delta_time (requires integration)
  2. When to use the Gamemaker physics for movement (like in the Heartbeast tutorials)?
    • are there other 'standard' systems for certain types of movement?
  3. How to program different types of movement like:
    • a side-scrolling platformer (mario)
    • a top-down platformer (hotline miami)
    • an iso-metric view (rts game)
    • a third-person view (racing game)
    • a first-person view (fps game)
  4. What are tips / tricks, DO's and DON'T's for all of these; since there must be people out there with more experience with different types of systems?
  5. What are standard / good / proven ways to interact with controls (twitch movent on key pressed, changing direction, decelerate before accelerate in new direction)
  6. How to combine movement with a (mouse-controlled) aim/look direction?
So, basically; any sort of global overview with takes on different movement systems would be a great start. As a follow-up I'd also love to see all those interesting things you mentioned to know what's possible with which method when it comes to those (inertia?, inverse kinematics, dynamic foot placement - and when to just make good animation instead of doing difficult calculations.)

I'm already working on figuring out easings and implementing them using delta_time, but I feel like there may be many more options and I think at points that I might have chosen the wrong type of movement system - or simply programmed one that is way too complex for what I want to achieve. So I'm not asking for code for my specific game, I would just like to know what is out there.

Think any sort of recourse like the link I mentioned above containing some of the stuff I mentioned in the list would be great for anyone using GML to program their game that might not be a (simple) top-down / side-scroller to get started on how to approach the entire movement aspect!

(If I'm asking something dumb or I'm not understandable you're allowed to say so!)
 

Zerb Games

Member
Mark Brown does some amazing stuff on his YouTube channel GameMaker's Toolkit, it's about gamefeel, and stuff like that! There's a lot of GDC talks that are awesome as well.

Great Articles:
Game feel: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/130734/game_feel_the_secret_ingredient.php?print=1
Rocket League: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/...re_worth_revisiting_A_Rocket_League_story.php
Why Hotline Miami is important.: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RamiIsmail/20121029/180408/Why_Hotline_Miami_is_an_important_game.php
The main reason I like this one ^ is it's written by Rami Ismail ^ a good friend of mine, and a GM developer, and it's written about Hotline Miami a GM game made by my other good friend Cactus, who was on the OLD gmc.

I'm more of someone that likes to watch YouTube videos though:

The Art of Screenshake by JW, who is a fellow GameMaker user:
Juice it or lose it:
Why your death animation sucks (I REALLY RECOMMEND THIS):
 

Wayfarer

Member
This is a great article:
Finishing a Game by Derek Yu

It leans towards the game development side of things rather than game design per se, but I think it contains a lot of wisdom expressed simply. This extract in particular is excellent:

Derek Yu said:
Oh sh*t, you’re way behind schedule. You have all these ideas but they’ll colonize Mars before you have a chance to implement half of them. Oh woe is you… BUT WAIT!

Well, that’s great, actually! Because now you’re forced to decide what is really important to your game, and what you could cut. The fact is, if we all had unlimited resources and unlimited time, we’d all make the same crappy, meandering everything game and there’d be no reason to play at all. It’s our limited resources and time that forces us to make tight games that feel like they have a purpose.

If you’ve been building upon some core concepts that are provably fun, just keep cutting until you get to the very edge of that core. Everything else is probably just fluff you could do without. Or worse, it’s fluff that’s preventing people from seeing the best parts of your game.

Also, Game Dev Treasure curated by Matt Hackett (one of the hosts of Lostcast), contains a nice selection of hand-picked game articles (some of which you have listed already).

I'm going to have fun reading through the articles suggested in this topic :)
 
0

0042

Guest
hi,
can anyone give me an article or something about "Mobile Game design document".
thank you
 
Wow, these links are really nice, this thread has tons of very interesting links, so many that I dont know where to start reading, which kinda overwhelms me, but hey, there is even final fantasy math stuff that we generally dont look for when learning game development :D
 

Bentley

Member
This is a great article:
Finishing a Game by Derek Yu

It leans towards the game development side of things rather than game design per se, but I think it contains a lot of wisdom expressed simply. This extract in particular is excellent:




Also, Game Dev Treasure curated by Matt Hackett (one of the hosts of Lostcast), contains a nice selection of hand-picked game articles (some of which you have listed already).

I'm going to have fun reading through the articles suggested in this topic :)
Great quote and great links. Thanks for posting.
 
Not sure if this has been posted anywhere on this forum before. http://www.replacementdocs.com/news.php Contains huge list of Game Manual's for old games.. DOS, Console, etc.

Good for a trip down memory lane. :) But also if you're into design it's neat to see how things were done back in the day, and poke around at a manual for a GameBoy game, or an old DOS release.

 
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Just found this teaching material released by Riot games for free. It's aimed at teachers who are teaching students about Game Design, but it's still definitely worth having a look through it for those of us learning on our own:

Welcome to the URF Academy, a free resource for educators who seek to encourage and inspire the next generation of game designers.

Our Game Design Curriculum is our way to share our love for and knowledge of games to students everywhere. We designed it with accessibility top of mind—any teacher with access to the internet and a printer should be able to teach students how to design a fun game.

In our six-module curriculum, we outline the principles of game design using a simple framework and explore concepts through engaging workshops and activities. Students will learn about the language and theory necessary to engage deeply with games and ultimately collaborate in groups to design a paper prototype of a multiplayer game.
 
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