BLGM's mission is to promote a love of books and reading to all by offering advice and information needed to help our visitors to find their next favorite book. We regularly create and post so-called listicles (also known as booklists) on various mostly tech-related topics.

Best Game Design Books That You Need

Below I’ll give you my selections for the best Game Design books by a few categories. I will cover these and other great books more in depth later.

1. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition (2014)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedGood game design happens when you view your game from as many perspectives as possible. Written by one of the world’s top game designers, presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, visual design, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, puzzle design, and anthropology. This of a Game Developer Front Line Award winner: gives readers useful perspectives on how to make better game designs faster. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will…
Author(s): Jesse Schell

2. Game Programming Patterns (2014)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedThe biggest challenge facing many game programmers is completing their game. Most game projects fizzle out, overwhelmed by the complexity of their own code. Game Programming Patterns tackles that exact problem. Based on years of experience in shipped AAA titles, this book collects proven patterns to untangle and optimize your game, organized as independent recipes so you can pick just the patterns you need. You will learn how to write a robust game loop, how to organize your entities using components, and take advantage of the CPUs cache to improve your performance….
Author(s): Robert Nystrom

3. Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design (2019)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedBuilding Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms compiles hundreds of different mechanisms, organized by category. Each has a description of how it works, discussion of its pros and cons, how it can be implemented, and examples of specific games that use it. Building Blocks can be read cover to cover, used as a reference when looking for inspiration for a new design, help solving a specific problem, or assist in getting unstuck in the midst of a project. This book, the first to collect mechanisms like this in the tabletop game design field, aims to be a practical guide that will be a…
Author(s): Geoffrey Engelstein

4. Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design (2014)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedIf you want to design and build cutting-edge video games but aren’t sure where to start, then the SECOND EDITION of the acclaimed Level Up! is for you! Written by leading video game expert Scott Rogers, who has designed the hits Pac Man World, Maximo and SpongeBob Squarepants, this updated edition provides clear and well-thought out examples that forgo theoretical gobbledygook with charmingly illustrated concepts and solutions based on years of professional experience. Level Up! 2nd Edition has been NEWLY EXPANDED to teach you how to develop marketable ideas, learn what perils and pitfalls await during a…
Author(s): Scott Rogers

5. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Third Edition (2019)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedPresents over 100 sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design. Written by one of the world’s top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. New to this edition: many great examples from new VR and AR platforms as well as examples from modern games such as Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us, Free to Play games, hybrid games,…
Author(s): Jesse Schell

6. Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach: A Systems Approach (2017)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedIn , pioneering game designer and instructor Michael Sellers situates game design practices in a strong theoretical framework of systems thinking, enabling designers to think more deeply and clearly about their work, so they can produce better, more engaging games for any device or platform. Sellers offers a deep unifying framework in which practical game design best practices and proven systems thinking theory reinforce each other, helping game designers understand what they are trying to accomplish and the best ways to achieve it. Drawing on 20+ years of…
Author(s): Michael Sellers

7. Fundamentals of Game Design (3rd Edition) (2013)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedNow in its third edition, the classic book on game design has been completely revised to include the latest developments in the game industry. Readers will learn all the fundamentals of concept development, gameplay design, core mechanics, user interfaces, storytelling, and balancing. They’ll be introduced to designing for mobile devices and touch screens, as well as for the Kinect and motion-capture gameplay. They’ll learn how indie developers are pushing the envelope and how new business models such as free-to-play are influencing design. In an easy-to-follow…
Author(s): Ernest Adams

8. Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Fourth Edition (2018)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedGame Design Workshop is a truly great book, and has become, in my opinion, the de facto standard text for beginner- to intermediate-level game design education. This updated new edition is extremely relevant, useful and inspiring to all kinds of game designers. ― Richard Lemarchand, Interactive Media & Games Division, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California―――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――――This is the perfect time for a new edition. The updates refresh elements of…
Author(s): Tracy Fullerton

9. Games, Design and Play: A detailed approach to iterative game design (2016)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedThis book offers a play-focused, process-oriented approach for designing games people will love to play. Drawing on a combined 35 years of design and teaching experience, Colleen Macklin and John Sharp link the concepts and elements of play to the practical tasks of game design. Using full-color examples, they reveal how real game designers think and work, and illuminate the amazing expressive potential of great game design. Focusing on practical details, this book guides you from idea to prototype to playtest and fully realized design. You’ll walk through conceiving and creating a…
Author(s): Colleen Macklin, John Sharp

10. Indie Games: From Dream to Delivery (2018)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedIndie Games: from Dream to Delivery helps you do just that, by leading you through a guided conversation with yourself.Section by section, you’ll record your answers to carefully chosen questions. Then we’ll use your unique personal responses to build the customized roadmap you need to turn your indie game into reality.Techniques to use, traps to avoid, terminology to understand. And how to fit it all into your life without damaging your relationships or your future.Never started a business? We’ve got it covered. Skip what you already know, dig…
Author(s): Don L. Daglow, Rami Ismail

11. Theory of Fun for Game Design (2013)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedNow in full color, the 10th anniversary edition of this classic book takes you deep into the influences that underlie modern video games, and examines the elements they share with traditional games such as checkers. At the heart of his exploration, veteran game designer Raph Koster takes a close look at the concept of fun and why it’s the most vital element in any game.Why do some games become boring quickly, while others remain fun for years? How do games serve as fundamental and powerful learning tools? Whether you’re a game developer, dedicated gamer, or curious observer, this illustrated,…
Author(s): Raph Koster

12. Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development: From Concept to Playable Game with Unity and C# (2nd Edition) (2017)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedIf you want to design and develop games, there’s no substitute for strong hands-on experience with modern techniques and tools—and that is exactly what this book provides. The first edition was frequently the top-selling game design book on Amazon, with more than 70% of the reviews being 5 stars. In a testament to the iterative process of design, this new edition includes hundreds of improvements throughout the text, all designed to make the book easier to understand and even more useful. This book was written with Unity 2017; the…
Author(s): Gibson Bond, Jeremy

13. Procedural Storytelling in Game Design (2019)

 Best Game Design Books That You NeedThis edited collection of chapters concerns the evolving discipline of procedural storytelling in video games. Games are an interactive medium, and this interplay between author, player and machine provides new and exciting ways to create and tell stories. In each essay, practitioners of this artform demonstrate how traditional storytelling tools such as characterization, world-building, theme, momentum and atmosphere can be adapted to full effect, using specific examples from their games. The reader will learn to construct narrative systems, write procedural…
Author(s): Tanya X. Short

14. Preproduction Blueprint: How to Plan Game Environments and Level Designs (2016)

 Best Game Design Books That You Need“Preproduction Blueprint” is a complete system for planning your game environments and level designs. This could be for a playable level or a game environment exploration to show off in a portfolio. Planning process is called pre-production and what you end up with is a “Preproduction Blueprint”. It is an essential step to finishing your projects. Unfortunately, planning tends to be a rushed part of the process or completely ignored. Creating a game environment or a level design is very similar. Once you have an idea you have to go through the steps of: Rushing into a level design or game environment without planning…
Author(s): Alex Galuzin

Best Game Design Books That You Need

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some game design books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms

Author(s): Geoffrey Engelstein; Isaac Shalev
ID: 2423282, Publisher: Routledge, Year: July 13, 2019, Size: 7 Mb, Format: pdf

Game Programming in C++: Creating 3D Games

Author(s): Sanjay Madhav
ID: 2239400, Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional, Year: Apr 2018, Size: 30 Mb, Format: pdf

Game Design Deep Dive: Roguelikes

Author(s): Joshua Bycer
ID: 2912144, Publisher: CRC Press, Year: 2021, Size: 36 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not errorless. Some books are truly best-sellers according to The New York Times, others are written by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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