While doing pre-production work for Crescent Loom and its Kickstarter campaign, I’ve been running across some amazing resources for game design. I thought I would share.
Game Design Resources
- Kickstarter Statistics 101 — Got Genius Games
[ Twitter ]
Focused on games that teach (but not in a bad way! #necessaryfootnote). Some statistics to answer basic Kickstarter questions like “What’s the best time of year to run a campaign?” Super useful basic information to have.
- Kickstarter Lessons (and online presence) — Jamey Stegmaier and Stone Maier Games
[ Book | Twitter ]
Ostensibly focused on running Kickstarter campaigns for board games, but I think the real gem here he demonstrates how to engage with people online. I’ve always felt like there was a big wall to reaching out and talking to people online, but he has put together an fantastic philosophy of easy, positive engagement.
- Postmortem: Zachtronics Industries’ SpaceChem — Zach Berth
[ SpaceChem | Twitter ]
One of my favorite postmortems. Since I’m also now working on a “just give players tools and problems”-type puzzle game, Zach’s philosophy of design was especially interesting to me. Does a good job talking about the design of the game itself and marketing as an integrated whole.
“…we were able to design almost all of the puzzles without knowing how they might be solved, focusing instead on making sure that each challenge was logically unique and could not be solved by repeating a previous solution.”
- Game Maker’s Toolkit — Mark Brown
[ Patreon | Twitter ]
Oh man, this is my new favorite game design series since Extra Credits. It’s a lot more specific than EC, looking at individual games as case studies for wider concepts. Intelligent and good production values. (also has a video talking more about SpaceChem and touches on a lot of the same themes as the above postmortem)
- What Makes an Indie Hit?: How to Choose the Right Design — Ryan Clark
[ Crypt of the Necrodancer | Twitter ]
I love this article in particular because it shows you how to be simultaneously creative (i.e. artistically-fulfilled) and pragmatic (i.e. able to make cash). Marketing starts at the core design of a game. This is one of those things that are a fast, easy read and will make you better at what you do.
- Noah Caldwell-Gervais Youtube Channel
[ Patreon | Interview ]
Long-form in-depth intelligent analyses of select series. There’s less of a focus on the behind-the-scenes design rules here than the other links. Instead, Noah takes a more zoomed-out perspective and talks about the overall aims of developers and how games deliver on those experiences.
- Reverse Design: Super Mario World
[ eBook ]
Another suuuuper in-depth analysis. Painstakingly goes through Super Mario world to find the fundamental principles of platformer level design.
- Critical Distance
[ Patreon | Twitter ]
I’ve been evangelizing CD for a while. It’s more of a resource than a proper specific link — Critical Distance is a weekly digest of current writing on games (both design and cultural) with an emphasis on voices you’re not going to find elsewhere.