This book is for anyone who wants to understand the computer game development process better from a strictly game design standpoint. As I stated earlier, there are plenty of books available to teach you how to program, or how to use Photoshop and 3D Studio MAX. This book will do neither of these things. Instead it focuses on the more elusive topic of game design and how you can ensure that your title has the best gameplay possible. Though solid programming and art are both central to a game s success, no amount of flashy graphics or cutting-edge coding will make up for lackluster game design. In the end, it is the gameplay that will make or break a project.
I have written this book in such a way as to encompass projects of different scopes and sizes. It does not matter if the game you are working on is destined for commercial release, if you hope to someday release it as shareware, or if you are only making a game for you and your friends to play; this book should be helpful to a game designer working in any of those circumstances. Furthermore, it does not matter if you are working on the game with a large team, with only a few accomplices, or going completely solo. In the book I often make reference to the staff of your project. When I refer to your programming staff I may be referring to a team of ten seasoned coders commanding massive salaries and pushing the boundaries of real-time 3D technology, or I may be referring to just you, coding up every last aspect of the game yourself. When I refer to your play-testing staff I may be referring to an experienced and thoroughly professional testing staff of fifteen who will pride themselves on giving your game a thorough going-over, or I may be referring to your cousins Bob and Judith who, like you, enjoy games and would love to play what you have made. Good games certainly do not always come from the biggest teams . Even today, when multimillion-dollar budgets are the norm, the best games still often result from the vision and determination of a lone individual, and he need not always surround himself with a massive team to see that vision through to completion.
Many places in this book make reference to you leading the design on the project on which you are working. Of course, not every designer can be in the lead position on every project, and even if you are the lead, you will often find yourself without the absolute final say on what takes place in the game. In this regard, this book is written from a somewhat idealistic point of view. But regardless of how much authority you actually have over the direction of the project, the important point is to always know what you would do with the project if you could do whatever you wanted. Then you should campaign for this direction with the other people on the team. If you are persuasive enough and if you are, in fact, correct in your instincts , you have a good chance of convincing them to do it your way. Projects are often led not by the people with the most seniority or who have the right title on their business card; projects are led by the people who show up to the task, who care about their projects and are committed to them, and who are willing to put in the time and effort to make the game the best it can be.