My buddy Eric was asking me the other day which books about Game Design I'd recommend and since he's not a Designer, it made me think about it a little bit. I lent him The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses because it does a really good job of approaching Game Design from the most basic of view points and then building up from there. In the first chapters, it goes as far to analyze what a game is and how it compares to just simple "play".
I've enjoyed this book so much, I bought a second Kindle copy so i could always have it with me. This is a book that every Game Designer should own because of it's unique approach on design using it's "Lenses" Each lens asks you to look at your game from a different view point and ensure that you are always asking the right questions to make your game better. One of my favorites is Lens #5 - Lens of Endogenous Value. It asks you to think about your players' feelings about items, objects and scoring in your game. Ask yourself questions like what is valuable to players in my game? and what is the relationship between value and the player's motivation?
The Art of Game Design: A Deck of Lenses which can be used along with the book. Each card has one of the Lenses that I've mentioned and has questions listed to help you view your game through the lens. I've been using these cards daily as a way to take 10 minutes to think about my game in a particular way and help ensure that the game is as good as it can be.
As I continue to read the book, I'll post more about particular ideas presented and how I've been able to incorporate them into my every day design work.
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