My Favorite Game Design Book

Excerpts from Stephen King's "On Writing", the best game design book ever written.

like rolando? for the iphone? .... oooooooh

It's I think relatively well known that in the summer of 1999, while going for his customary afternoon walk, famous fiction author Stephen King was struck by a van and nearly killed.  I think somewhat less well-known is that the first book he released after the accident was one that was nearly finished before he went for that fateful walk, but hadn't touched for almost two years.  It is, incidentally, the best book on game design ever written.  If you are a game designer, and you haven't read this book, then just click here:

It's only $8, which means for the same price as Graphics Gems 11 you could buy copies for your whole team.

Or, just head down to your local used bookstore and get a copy for like fifty cents.  Either way, find it and read it and digest it.  It is good.

Also, if these ideas sound familiar, it is because they are practiced already by some of the best game designers alive, and they've talked about them in recent years as being important facets or pillars of their design process.  I'm going to try and avoid adding "This relates to game design because..." as that just seems greedy :D


On The Importance of Prototyping:

"I believe the first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months…Any longer and — for me, at least — the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel, like a dispatch from the Romanian Department of Public Affairs, or something broadcast on high-band shortwave during a period of severe sunspot activity."

"“A movie should be there in rough cut,” the film editor Paul Hirsch once told me. The same is true of books. I think it’s rare that incoherence or dull storytelling can be solved by something so minor as a second draft."

"Let's just get on thing clear right now, shall we?  There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun.  Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up."


On Design:

"...kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings..."

"What would be very wrong, I think, is to turn away from what you know and favor of things you believe will impress your friends, relatives, and writing-circle colleagues.  What's equally wrong is the deliberate turning toward some genre or type of fiction in order to make doesn't work."

"Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story.  Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot.  It's not just a question of how-to, you see; it's also a question of how-much-to...If I tell you that Carrie White is a high school outcast with a bad complexion and a fashion-victim wardrobe, I think you can do the rest, can't you? ...When it comes to description...of all sorts, a meal is as good as a feast."

"Good fiction always begins with a story and progresses to theme."


Maybe tomorrow I'll actually write something instead of typing out other people's stuff!

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