Game Design Annotated Links — Part 2

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.

“…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)
  • 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.
  • 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.


Game Design Annotated Links – Part 1

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.”
  • “Bow N*****” – Personal narrative of play experience of Jedi Outcast. Super-intense duel, exploits, social norms/rituals in multiplayer. (Content warning: racial slurs)
  • “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 (July 2019): Dylan from a program at the Salt Lake City Children’s Network recommends this post 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!

By Olive Perry | © 2020 Wickworks
Proud to be a member of PIGsquad, Playful Oasis, and Explorable Explanations.