Most players won't finish your game - and that's not a bad thing!

Most players won't finish your game - and that's not a bad thing!

Added Mar 29, 2017

Most players won't finish the games we work so hard on, but this article shows us why that's not always a negative.

by Jason VandenBerghe on Jun 30, 2013:

Sequelitis - Mega Man Classic vs. Mega Man X

Sequelitis - Mega Man Classic vs. Mega Man X

Added Mar 19, 2017

An entertaining analysis of how games can guide players without needing to interrupt the gameplay.

by Arin Hanson on Oct 30, 2011:

Behavioral Game Design

Behavioral Game Design

Added Mar 16, 2017

An informative essay that deftly walks the tricky line between game design and psychology.

by John Hopson on Apr 26, 2001:

Designing Around a Core Mechanic

Designing Around a Core Mechanic

Added Mar 7, 2017

An introduction to a "core diagram" which helps describe a game's design in simple terms.

by Charmie Kim on Jul 6, 2012:

7 introductory levels that all game developers should study

7 introductory levels that all game developers should study

Added Feb 27, 2017

Terrific examples of how the first level in a game can invisibly teach important mechanics while avoiding common pitfalls.

by Richard Moss on Jan 9, 2017:

The Last Guardian and the Language of Games

The Last Guardian and the Language of Games

Added Feb 12, 2017

A thoughtful examination of how games can use mechanics to express emotion and get ideas across without tutorials.

by Mark Brown on Jan 8, 2017:

The Perils of Bottom-up Game Design

The Perils of Bottom-up Game Design

Added Jan 29, 2017

An interesting perspective on a common design approach that many developers use to their game's detriment.

by Ernest Adams on Oct 17, 2004:

How to Choose a Theme for Your Game

How to Choose a Theme for Your Game

Added Jan 25, 2017

Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan offers four questions to help find the perfect theme for your game.

by George Fan on Nov 15, 2015:

A Game Studio Culture Dictionary

A Game Studio Culture Dictionary

Added Jan 22, 2017

Not a traditional essay, but a rare peek into every corner of the games industry via cultural insights.

by Kain Shin on Oct 5, 2011:

Postmortem: McMillen and Himsl's The Binding of Isaac

Postmortem: McMillen and Himsl's The Binding of Isaac

Added Jan 14, 2017

Valuable insights from a huge hit that was never meant to be one, in the classic Game Developer Magazine format.

by Edmund McMillen on Dec 11, 2012:

Visualizing the Creative Process

Visualizing the Creative Process

Added Jan 7, 2017

A beacon of light to help guide developers through the nebulous creative process involved when designing new games.

by Daniel Cook on Aug 15, 2010:

Enemy Design in Link to the Past

Enemy Design in Link to the Past

Added Dec 29, 2016

A comprehensive analysis of all behavior designs in the classic masterpiece The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

by Nathan Savant on Jan 3, 2016:

Finishing a Game

Finishing a Game

Added Dec 26, 2016

This honest, thorough, and motivational guide on shipping games is mandatory reading for any solo game developer.

by Derek Yu on Sep 16, 2010:

Behavior trees for AI: How they work

Behavior trees for AI: How they work

Added Dec 19, 2016

A comprehensive analysis of behavior tree implementations that deftly balances complexity with readability.

by Chris Simpson on Jul 16, 2014:

6 Game Design Lessons from L. Ron Hubbard

6 Game Design Lessons from L. Ron Hubbard

Added Dec 14, 2016

A surprising dissection of one of the most contentious, controversial, and successful games ever designed.

by Greg Karber on Aug 2, 2015:

Learning From The Masters: Level Design In The Legend Of Zelda

Learning From The Masters: Level Design In The Legend Of Zelda

Added Dec 10, 2016

A thorough analysis of the flow through The Legend of Zelda and its masterful execution of nonlinear gameplay.

by Mike Stout on Jan 2, 2012:

How to Tell When You Gave Artists Too Much Control Over Design

How to Tell When You Gave Artists Too Much Control Over Design

Added Dec 7, 2016

Insightful observations of how a game's artistic needs can negatively impact its core design.

by Derek Yu on Feb 29, 2012:

The Aesthetics of Game Art and Game Design

The Aesthetics of Game Art and Game Design

Added Dec 3, 2016

An important exploration of the fundamental shapes and patterns that make up a game, and the inherent meaning they have to players.

by Chris Solarski on Jan 29, 2013:

Building Tight Game Systems of Cause and Effect

Building Tight Game Systems of Cause and Effect

Added Dec 1, 2016

A list of game design tools used to tweak systems of cause and effect, flush with applied examples.

by Daniel Cook on Jun 30, 2012:

The Strange Attractor in Video Game Design

The Strange Attractor in Video Game Design

Added Nov 29, 2016

An explanation of how to make a game concept stand out and why it's so important that it does.

by Joseph Kim on May 19, 2015:

Oil It or Spoil It

Oil It or Spoil It

Added Nov 28, 2016

An extension of "Juice It or Lose It", but instead of juice, offers tips on removing pain points from gameplay.

by Lars Doucet on Aug 9, 2016:

What Makes an Indie Hit?: How to Choose the Right Design

What Makes an Indie Hit?: How to Choose the Right Design

Added Nov 27, 2016

A sobering look at the design considerations and "hooks" a game needs to capture an audience in a crowded industry.

by Ryan Clark on Sep 16, 2015:

Scroll Back: The Theory and Practice of Cameras in Side-Scrollers

Scroll Back: The Theory and Practice of Cameras in Side-Scrollers

Added Nov 26, 2016

A staggeringly thorough examination of the use of cameras in 2d games, from the classic to the modern era.

by Itay Keren on Mar 1, 2015:

The Art of Screenshake

The Art of Screenshake

Added Nov 25, 2016

A step-by-step guide on making a simple 2d-side-scrolling platformer game more satisfying to play.

by Jan Willem Nijman on Dec 15, 2013:

How Zelda Gets Lock and Key Puzzles Right

How Zelda Gets Lock and Key Puzzles Right

Added Nov 24, 2016

A breezy read about important take-aways from classic Zelda designs.

by Daniel Schuller on Aug 3, 2014:

There and Back Again - A Metroidvania Tale

There and Back Again - A Metroidvania Tale

Added Nov 23, 2016

A fascinating look behind the development of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, rich with insights from director Koji Igarashi.

by Koji Igarashi on Mar 16, 2014:

Sequelitis - Super Castlevania 4

Sequelitis - Super Castlevania 4

Added Nov 22, 2016

An entertaining explanation of the design mistakes that can cause a sequel to be worse than its predecessor.

by Arin Hanson on Jan 26, 2012:

Juice It or Lose It

Juice It or Lose It

Added Nov 21, 2016

A valuable, beat-by-beat walkthrough of taking a dull game and "juicing" it up with tweens, scaling, screenshake, and more.

by Martin Jonasson and Petri Purho on May 23, 2012:

The Invisible Hand of Super Metroid

The Invisible Hand of Super Metroid

Added Nov 20, 2016

A thorough analysis of the subtle yet powerful design that guides players through one of the most influential and beloved games ever made.

by Hugo Bille on Jan 13, 2012:

Evaluating Game Mechanics For Depth

Evaluating Game Mechanics For Depth

Added Nov 19, 2016

An indispensable guide for measuring the depth of player decisions made in a game design.

by Mike Stout on Jul 20, 2010: