Game Design Annotated Links

I’ve been meaning to post these for a while — I read a lot of game design stuff while working on Rubicon. Here’s some of the stuff that I found to be particularly useful/insightful/interesting.

  • “Ten Things Every Game Needs” - Magic the Gathering is a wonderfully heavily-designed game and Mark Rosewater’s column “Making Magic” provides a thoughtful window into the process of its creation and maintaining its long-term health. “Restrictions breed creativity!” is the mantra of the day.

  • “Juice it or lose it” - A talk aptly demonstrating the power of tiny reactive effects and how it can bring a game to life.

  • “Video Games and the Human Condition” - A talk by Jonathan Blow. Goes over developer “best practices” on how to make a game compelling to play and then ethically questions the use of such tactics. “With great power comes great responsibility.”

  • “Figures: They Speak For Themselves” - from the tumblr of Dresden Codak. Although it’s not directly game-related, reading Aaron Diaz’s posts on visual design show the right sort of attitude (read: insanely meticulous) in what it takes to carefully craft an experience for an audience.

Edit (2016): I wrote about another batch of links here: Game Design Annotated Links Part 2

Edit (July 2019): Dylan from a program at the Salt Lake City Children's Network recommends this Programming Guide For Video-Gamers for additional resources for beginner game designers. There's a few broken links, but has a lot of information about careers in games. Thanks, Dylan!

Edit (June 2022): Katie from a Girl Scout troop recommends this post on The Technology Behind Virtual Reality: Coding and Design for anyone interested in programming VR games (something that didn’t really exist when I first wrote this post!). It has everything you need to get started for coding virtual reality games. Thanks, Katie!


I like the new version. The control changes makes it easier to maneuver in dog-fights. I noticed the game acts slightly odd near the edge of the map, and in later stages it can slow down a bit. I had a successful ship configuration that ended up being a really long game. So, I am wondering if there would be a game save option in the escape menu. Thanks, Ken.


Rubicon 1.1 released!