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Game Design Foundations, Second Edition

Author(s): Roger Pedersen
  • ISBN-13: 9781598220346
  • ISBN-10:1598220349
  • Paperback    384 pages      © 2009
Price: International Sales $39.95 US List
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Game Design Foundations, Second Edition covers how to design the game from the important opening sentence, the “One Pager” document, the Executive Summary and Game Proposal, the Character Document to the Game Design Document. The book describes game genres, where game ideas come from, game research, innovation in gaming, important gaming principles such as game mechanics, game balancing, AI, path finding and game tiers. The basics of programming, level designing, and film scriptwriting are explained by example. Each chapter has exercises to hone in on the newly learned designer skills that will display your work as a game designer and your knowledge in the game industry.

Features & Benefits

Completely revised content includes more documents, updated information, and five new chapters.

Every chapter in Game Design Foundations, Second Edition has relevant exercises, assignments and Internet readings to provide the reader to practice and skills needed to be a game designer.

A look at game innovation and game outlets to release your game design concept is examined.

An in-depth description of the development team and real industry salaries are provided.

Over 1,200 free game ideas are given to start your vision right away.

Discusses how to document the game design process with the one-pager, executive summary, game proposal, character design document, and game design document

Explores the principles of game design, including game mechanics, balancing, pathfinding, and artificial intelligence 

Chapter 1:  The Game Designer
     Game Designers are not Programmers
     Game Designers are not Artists
     Game designers are not Audio Engineers or Musicians
     Game Designers are Visionaries
     The Pedersen Advice to Those Not Yet Gaming Professionals
     Can My “Idea” Make Millions?
     Why Make Game$
     Programmer’s Salaries
     Artists’ and Animators’ Salaries
     Game Designers’ Salaries
     Game Producers’ Salaries
     QA (Quality Assurance) Testers’ Salaries
     Audio/ Sound Designers’ and Musicians’ Salaries
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 2:  The Pedersen Principles
     The Pedersen Principles on Game Design
     Principle 1: Understand the Role of the Designer and Producer
     Principle 2: No Designer or Producer is an island
     Principle 3: Let Professionals do their jobs
     Principle 4: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
     Principle 5: Schedules are like laws
     Principle 6: The Yardstick: One Day's Pay for a Week's Worth of Fun
     Principle 7: I never met a Genre that I didn't like
     Principle 8: Be true to your license
     Principle 9: Share your Toys!
     Principle 10: There's no magic formula for success
     Principle 11:  The Importance of Networking
     Unguided Exercises
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 3:  Game Genres
     What Game to Design
     Action Games
     Top Selling Action Games
     Adventure Games
     Adventure Puzzles
     Casual Games
     Top Selling Casual Games
     Educational Games
     Educational Game as a Sports Game
     Top Selling Educational Games
     Role Playing Games (RPGs)
     Top Selling Role Playing Games
     Simulation Games
     Top Selling Simulation Games
     Sport Games (including fighting games)
     Strategy Games
     Top SellingStrategy Games
     Other Games (Puzzles, Music and Toys)
     Top Selling Puzzles, Music and Toy Games
     Online Games
     Top Selling Online Games
     Unguided Exercises
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 4:  Game Concepts and Ideas
     Games are not Linear
     Games have a Goal
     Games must be Winnable
     Start of the Game
     Middle Ending of the Game
     Interactive Games
     Game Ideas
     Board Games
     Card and Gambling Games
     Dance and Instruments
     Movies and Film
     Unguided Exercises
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 5:  The Game Design Process
     Organic Game Design
     The “One Pager” Concept Document
     “One Pager” Overview
     (Megan Pedersen)'s International Wakeboarding Open
     Medical Kombat
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 6:  Game Research
     Research Goals
     Research Sources
     Items to Research
     Example :   The Australian Great Barrier Reef Simulation
     Expressing Research Findings
     Researching a Licensed Property
     Research Goals for Licensed Properties
     Research Sources
     Mentoring Exampl
     Simulation Game: The Survival of the Fittest
     Homo Erectus
     Cro-Magnon Man
     Final Thoughts
     Classic Game: Poker
     The Shuffle
     Hand Rankings
     Poker Variations
     Special Considerations
     Researching a Baseball Game
     Research Conclusion
     Unguided Exercises

Chapter 7:  Innovation in Gaming
     Recent Gaming Innovations
     Dance, Dance Revolution
     Guitar Hero/ Rock Band
     World of Warcraft
     Second Life
     Wii Remote
     Future Innovations
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 8:  Game Design Documents: Executive Summary and the Game Proposal
     Market Analysis of Similar Games
     Development Team Details
     Milestone Scheduling
     Why would a publisher want to meet your team?
     A Sample Game Proposal:  13 Mirrors
     The “One Pager”
     Relevant Team Experience
     Target Demographics
     The Competition
     “13 Mirrors” Feature’s Summary Sheet
     Gameplay Summary
     Game Specifics
     Game Modes
     Points gained and lost in “13 Mirrors”
     Personalization of Gameplay
     Player Awards
     Milestone Schedule
     Candide 2517 Design Treatment
     Candide 2517: The Storyline (a futuristic version of Voltaire’s Classic Novel)
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 9:  Game Design Principles
     Game Mechanics
     Goal in a Game 
     Examining Game Mechanics
     Victory Conditions
     Game Balancing
     Deliberate imbalance
     Creative Balancing
     Extra Tidbits on Balancing
     AI (Artificial Inteligence)
     Chating AI
     Path Finding
     Basic Path Finding Algorithms
     Other Path Finding Solutions
     Designing Game System Architecture in Tiers or Modules
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 10:  Knowing the Entire Team
     Game Designer
     Audio Engineer and Composer
     QA (Quality Assurance) Tester
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment

Chapter 11:  Game Narrative Scriptwriting
     Linear vs.  Non-Linear or Games vs.  Films and Books
     Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
     An Overview of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
     Alice in Planet Wonderland
     Non-Linear Game Oriented Scripting Standard
     Scheduling a Shoot or Voice-Over Session
     Suggested Activities
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment

Chapter 12:  Character Design Document
     Bingo Poker™
     A Humorous Story on Bingo Poker™ Game Mechanics
     Bingo Poker™ Characters
     Fabio Balboa
     Johnny Rocket
     Captain Richard Kelly
     Dr. Drake Ramore
     Ariel Nikon
     Aries Warmonger
     Dr. Ashley Suuri
     Chaz Rivers
     Professor Daniel Potter
     Donna Dallas
     Elizabeth Julia
     Dr. Emily “Jersey” Jones
     Ethan Wong
     Madison St. Claire
     Olivia Bloom
     Congresswoman Penelope Park
     Ryan Getty
     Tyler Franks
     District Attorney Venus Vette
     Zip Martin
     Lord Nigel Smythe
     Dr. Michael Einstein
     Dr. Isabelle Dupree
     Pax Tranquility™
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment
     Thoughts for Discussion

Chapter 13:  Basics of Programming and Level Scripting
     A Look at Programming
     Programming Commands
     Conditional Statements
     Compound “If” Statements
     Mathematical Statements
     Programming Loop
     Computer Concepts
     Min-Max Gaming Theory (with Alpha-Beta Pruning)
     Tic-Tac-Toe Flowchart
     Forced Move Revised
     Visual BASIC Tic-Tac-Toe
     Visual C++ Tic-Tac-Toe
     Basic Level Scripting
     Suggested Activities
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment

Chapter 14:  Game Design Outlets
     The Top Publishers in the Gaming Industry
     The Outlets
     Internet Games
     The Casual Game Market
     Modding a 3D Game Engine
     Cell Phone Games
     Home-brew Games
     Suggested Activities
     Unguided Exercises
     Internet Reading Assignment

Chapter 15:  The Game Design Document
     Reel Deal Poker Challenge Design Document
     Rules of Poker
     Start of The Game (Or After The Game Icon Is Clicked On)
     The Lobbies
     Prize Vault
     Poker Rooms for Four and Eight Players
     Special Floor: World Championship Poker Room
     Eight Player Characters
     Credit Screen
     Statistics Screen
     The Prize Vault
     Exit Game
     Betting/ Raising
     Basic Poker AI
     Game Variations: Order of Play
     Draw Poker No Openers and Jacks or Better to Open
     Five Card Stud
     Seven Card Stud, Chicago Lo and Chicago Hi
     Texas Hold ‘Em
     Unguided Exercises
     Chapter’s Internet Assignment
     Suggested Activities

Appenidx A Internet Resources and Game Colleges
Appendix B Pedersen Interview
Appendix C Pedersen on "Designing Great Games"
Appendix D War Stories

Roger Pedersen

Roger E. Pedersen has been designing, producing, and programming games since the early 1980s for companies such as CBS Software, Gametek, Hi-Tech Expressions, Villa Crespo Software, Acclaim Entertainment, Phantom EFX, Walker Boy Studio, 3D Open Motion, Hypnotics, Merit Industries, Slingo, GameTrust, Digital Embryo, Cellfun. His cumulative title sales have surpassed 10 million copies on over 50 titles for multiple platforms including the personal computer, video consoles, location-based, Internet, arcade, and hand-held. He is also the author of award-winning articles for,, and Mr. Pedersen is an adjunct professor at NYU, Bloomfield College and Thinnox teaching game design, a senior faculty member at Gameversity teaching Game Design and his articles are mandatory reading for several University's master programs.

Mr. Pedersen graduated in Technical Management/ Game & Simulation Programming from DeVry University and is currently in the Videogame Production Masters’ program at University of Advancing Technology.

He is a member of several IGDA chapters and a keynote speaker at VGXpo, Xtreme Gaming Conference, Texas Independent Game Conference and NJ Filmmakers’ Conference.