What are the Top 5 Books in Online Game Design?

Reading online game design books can take you from just another player to someone who really understands what designers go through to create the newest and most popular games. When you enroll in school, you will do some reading assigned by your professors, but you can learn even more outside of the classroom. The best books regarding online game design will cover topics you won’t learn about in school. 

“The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses”

Bob Mackey picked “The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses” by Jesse Schell as one of his top online game design books, and the book is one of the highest rated books on the topic on Amazon. Schell uses each chapter to talk about a different stage in video game development. Readers will learn how to come up with a new idea, analyze that idea and compare it to similar games on the market, but they’ll also learn how to turn a simple idea into a fully functioning game.

“Game Architecture and Design: Learn the Best Practices for Game Design and Programming”

Andrew Rollings wrote “Game Architecture and Design: Learn the Best Practices for Game Design and Programming” as a way to explain the hard work that goes into video game design. Though the book often focuses on traditional video games, it does offer information that online game designers can use. Rollings divides the book into two different stages. The first stage looks at how to design games, while the second half focuses on the programming and architecture of building a new game.

“3ds Max Modeling for Games: Insider’s Guide to Game Character, Vehicle, and Environment Modeling”

“3ds Max Modeling for Games: Insider’s Guide to Game Character, Vehicle, and Environment Modeling” from Focal Press is one of the few online game design books worthy of the title “ultimate.” A good game is only as strong as the characters found in that game. Many games failed over the years because the characters looked a little too realistic or suffered from glitches. Readers will receive step by step instructions on how to design and build characters and other game components and customize those components based on their preferences.

“Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games”

Tracy Fullerton wrote “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games” with beginners in mind. Even those with no experience in computers or software development can follow along with this book. Fullerton offers readers simple instructions that they can use to build their own online games.

“The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice”

When Karl Kapp wrote an in-depth book on game design, some readers complained that the book was too heavy and hard to follow. Kapp responded with “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice,” which offers simple instructions and guides. Though many readers find it helpful to read his previous book first, you don’t need to buy a copy of that book to follow the details and instructions in this one.

Whether you enroll in a college program, take a few open courses or plan to launch the next online game development company out of your garage, you need some help along the way. These top five online game design books not only cover the basics of designing games but delve into the issues and problems you might find along the way.

Related Resource: Interests of Online Game Design Students