Best Game Design Books 2023 | Create Profitable Games

best game design books

Game Design is the most important part of successful game development. If you fail to make a good design for your idea for a game, your whole project will be a loss.

But don't worry! There are a lot of books out there to help you to learn great game design. In this article, I have curated several best game design books 2023, So hurry up check the list and pick the right book for you!

Roblox Game Development in 24 Hours: The Official Roblox Guide
Author: Roblox Corporation
Published at: 04/06/2021
ISBN: 0136829732

Learn how to…

  1. Build immersive natural environments using built-in terrain and lighting tools
  2. Model and import assets, models, weapons, and textures
  3. Code game mechanics, animations, and camera movement
  4. Design GUIs for store fronts, player HUDs, and interactive elements
  5. Teleport players between multiple game places
  6. Publish your game to multiple platforms with cross-platform play
  7. Attract players, monetize your game, and earn real cash

Olympic Games: The Design
Author: Osterwalder, Markus
Published at: 14/01/2020
ISBN: 372121000X

Markus Osterwalder presents approximately 6,000 illustrations on over 1,500 pages in two volumes, coming in a slipcase, with fifty-eight chapters that detail astonishing facts and stories about who created what and how. Three foldout sheets give an overview on key design topics from the birth of the Modern Games to the present. For each of the Games, the passionate Swiss collector has chosen comprehensive examples from all desigin fields that enable viewers and readers to fully grasp the design identity of the respective Games. In addition, this title also highlights extraordinarily exciting developments in the field of corporate identity and brand design.

People Operations: Automate HR, Design a Great Employee Experience, and Unleash Your Workforce
Author: Fulcher, Jay
Published at: 22/06/2021
ISBN: 1119785235

You'll receive the end-to-end guide to:

  • Digitizing legacy HR functions
  • Using robots for the busywork you hate
  • Employing software to design and improve your employee experience
  • Assembling and empowering your "people team"
  • Utilizing the included plans and templates to guide each stage of your business transformation

Perfect for managers, leaders, small business owners, and executives, People Operations is perfect for anyone who wants to optimize HR, maximize their workforce investment, support their employees, and modernize their business.

Elements of Game Design
Author: Zubek, Robert
Published at: 18/08/2020
ISBN: 0262043912
An introduction to the basic concepts of game design, focusing on techniques used in commercial game production.

This textbook by a well-known game designer introduces the basics of game design, covering tools and techniques used by practitioners in commercial game production. It presents a model for analyzing game design in terms of three interconnected levels mechanics and systems, gameplay, and player experience and explains how novice game designers can use these three levels as a framework to guide their design process. The text is notable for emphasizing models and vocabulary used in industry practice and focusing on the design of games as dynamic systems of gameplay.

The book first introduces the core model and framework for analyzing and designing games. It then discusses the three levels in detail, explaining player experience and identifying design goals; introducing low-level structural analysis of gameplay in terms of basic mechanics; describing how mechanics build up into systems; and presenting concepts for understanding gameplay, defined as the dynamic behaviour of players when they interact with mechanics and systems. Finally, the book offers students advice on creating game prototypes using an iterative, user-centred process. Each chapter offers a set of exercises for individuals and design challenges for groups.

Learning C# by Developing Games with Unity 2020: An enjoyable and intuitive approach to getting started with C# programming and Unity, 5th Edition
Author: Ferrone, Harrison
Published at: 21/08/2020
ISBN: 1800207808

What you will learn

  • Discover easy-to-follow steps and examples for learning C# programming fundamentals
  • Get to grips with creating and implementing scripts in Unity
  • Create basic game mechanics such as player controllers and shooting projectiles using C#
  • Understand the concepts of interfaces and abstract classes
  • Leverage the power of the latest C# features to solve complex programming problems
  • Become familiar with stacks, queues, exceptions, error handling, and other core C# concepts
  • Explore the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) for games and implement them to control enemy behaviour.

Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms
Author: Engelstein, Geoffrey
Published at: 11/07/2019
ISBN: 1138365491

Key Features

  • The first compendium of its kind in the tabletop game field.
  • Covers the nuts and bolts of design to resolve specific challenges.
  • Serves as a practical guide, a great starting point for beginning designers, and a reference for seasoned professionals.
  • Contains discussion of a series of standalone mechanisms, in a standard format and style, with cross-links to related mechanics and specific examples.
  • Includes hundreds of mechanism entries with accompanying diagrams and sample games to study.
  • Ideal for professional or classroom use.

Beginning C++ Game Programming: Learn to program with C++ by building fun games, 2nd Edition
Author: Horton, John
Published at: 31/10/2019
ISBN: 1838648577

Get to grips with programming techniques and game development using C++ libraries and Visual Studio 2019

Key Features

  • Learn game development and C++ with a fun, example-driven approach
  • Build clones of popular games such as Timberman, Zombie Survival Shooter, a co-op puzzle platformer, and Space Invaders
  • Discover tips to expand your finished games by thinking critically, technically, and creatively

You'll have gained the knowledge you need to build your own games with exciting features from scratch

What you will learn

  • Set up your game development project in Visual Studio 2019 and explore C++ libraries such as SFML
  • Explore C++ OOP by building a Pong game
  • Understand core game concepts such as game animation, game physics, collision detection, scorekeeping, and game sound
  • Use classes, inheritance, and references to spawn and control thousands of enemies and shoot rapid-fire machine guns
  • Add advanced features to your game using pointers, references, and the STL
  • Scale and reuse your game code by learning modern game programming design patterns

Procedural Storytelling in Game Design
Author: Short, Tanya X.
Published at: 13/03/2019
ISBN: 1138595306

This 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 dialogue, and generate compelling characters with unique personalities and backstories.

Key Features

  • Introduces the differences between static/traditional game design and procedural game design
  • Demonstrates how to solve or avoid common problems with procedural game design in a variety of concrete ways
  • World’s finest guide for how to begin thinking about procedural design

  • Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games, Fourth Edition
    Author: Fullerton, Tracy
    Published at: 27/08/2018
    ISBN: 1138098779

    This book helps you to create the digital games you love to play, using a non-technical approach to game design without the need for programming or artistic experience.

    Award-winning author Tracy Fullerton demystifies the creative process with clear and accessible guidance on the formal and dramatic systems of game design. Using examples of popular games, illustrations of design techniques, and refined exercises to strengthen your understanding of how game systems function, the book gives you the skills and tools necessary to create a compelling and engaging game.

    This fully updated 4th edition includes expanded coverage of new platforms and genres of play, including casual games and games for learning. It expands on agile development processes and includes a host of new perspectives from top industry game designers.

    Game Design Workshop puts you to work prototyping, playtesting, and revising your own games with time-tested methods and tools. These skills will provide the foundation for your career in any facet of the game industry including design, producing, programming, and visual design.

    The Art of Game Design: A Deck of Lenses, Second Edition
    Author: Jesse Schell
    Published at: 06/11/2014
    ISBN: 0692288872

    This is the companion book to The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses mentioned previously on the list. It further extends the contents of its companion book with vividly illustrated lens cards.

    These cards contain key questions that will make your game great. With clear instructions that explain how to use the card to design board, card, and video games.

    What You'll Learn From This Book:

    • Developing stories for your game idea
    • Understanding several game mechanics
    • Picking the best technology tor game development
    • Understanding the aesthetics that underlie in your game
    • The user's psychology about the game
    • Getting the best result from your team
    • Understanding the business issues

    Game Programming Patterns
    Author: Robert Nystrom
    Published at: 02/11/2014
    ISBN: 0990582906

    Game Programming Patterns offers you the tricks and techniques to tackle the exact problem with your game project. It covers practical patterns that you can use to untangle and optimize your game.

    This game design book is organized as independent recipes so you can choose the just pattern for your game. If you are a game programmer and overwhelmed by the complexity of your code, then this is the right book for you.

    What You'll Learn From This Book:

    • Fundamentals of design patterns
    • Understanding sequencing patterns
    • Programming double buffer
    • Writing a robust game loop
    • Understanding behavioral patterns
    • Working with bytecode and subclass sandbox
    • Designing decoupling patterns
    • Developing components and event queue
    • Working with optimization patterns

    Coding Games in Scratch: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Building Your Own Computer Games
    Author: Jon Woodcock
    Published at: 01/12/2015
    ISBN: 1465439358

    This game design book is a different book in this list. Coding Games in Scratch is written for kids with little or no coding experience.

    It provides fun graphics and easy-to-understand instructions to teach your kids how to build their own computer projects in the Scratch programming language.

    If you want your kids to start learning to program at an early age, then this is the perfect choice for them.

    What Your Kids Will Learn From This Book:

    • Basics of computer games
    • Introduction to Scratch
    • Building Star Hunter game
    • Developing Cheese Chase
    • Developing Circle Wars
    • Making Jumpy Monkey game
    • Building Dog's Dinner and Glacier Race
    • Developing Tropical Tunes game

    Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design
    Author: Scott Rogers
    Published at: 28/04/2014
    ISBN: 1118877160

    If you are a video game developer and looking for a book that will give you a kickstart in designing successful video games, then this is the perfect book for you.

    With clear and proven examples, it demonstrates complex theories with charmingly illustrated concepts and solutions.

    Covering all the concepts of video game development from pre-production to post-production stages, Level Up will surely help you to develop profitable video games.

    What You'll Learn From This Book:

    • A detailed discussion about the game genre
    • Brainstorming ideas for the game
    • Writing the story
    • Developing characters for the game
    • Understanding the camera and control work
    • Designing game levels
    • Understanding the elements of combat
    • Working with multiplayer games
    • How to monetize your game

    The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design
    Author: Flint Dille,John Zuur Platten
    Published at: 08/01/2008
    ISBN: 158065066X

    The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design focuses on creating games that give an involving and emotional experience to the players.

    It goes beyond the basic concepts of game design to advanced topics such as writing the game script, creating the game design document, and putting together the game script.

    With this book, you'll get complete visionary ideas about game design and apply them in your game.

    What You'll Learn From This Book:

    • Understanding the influences of storytelling in a digital universe
    • Working with video game story structure
    • Video game construction strategies and techniques
    • Building characters for your game
    • Several steps to the game concept and script
    • Working with the high-level design document
    • Going inside into the creative process of gaming

    Explore Like a Pirate: Gamification and Game-Inspired Course Design to Engage, Enrich and Elevate Your Learners
    Author: Michael Matera
    Published at: 05/12/2015
    ISBN: 0986155500

    This is another great game design book on this list. Explore Like a Pirate will help you to design funny and educative games to teach your students in the classroom.

    The techniques described in the book will guide you to apply them to enhances your curriculum. If you are a teacher and looking to learn a creative teaching approach, then this is the right guide for you.

    What You'll Learn From This Book:

    • Plotting your courses
    • Building stories for any concept or theme
    • Why game-based learning is more effective
    • Understanding game mechanics
    • Working with the tools that are needed for your story
    • Developing mini-games for any concept of your course

    A Game of Thrones / A Clash of Kings / A Storm of Swords / A Feast of Crows / A Dance with Dragons
    Author: George R. R. Martin
    Published at: 29/10/2013
    ISBN: 0345535529

    The perfect holiday gift for fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones—a boxed set featuring the first five novels!

    An immersive entertainment experience unlike any other, A Song of Ice and Fire has earned George R. R. Martin—dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine—international acclaim and millions of loyal readers. Now here is the entire monumental cycle:
    “One of the best series in the history of fantasy.”—Los Angeles Times
    Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing.

    There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow.

    Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
    Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances.

    Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind.

    All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.
    Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
    “Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”—The New York Times

    The Gamer's Brain: How Neuroscience and UX Can Impact Video Game Design
    Author: Celia Hodent
    Published at: 16/08/2017
    ISBN: 1498775500

    The Gamer's Brain is an essential guide to learn how to make games that engage and retain players in the long term.

    It demonstrates how user experience (UX) and human psychology make an impact on a game's success. With this effective guide, you'll understand how to design your game that gives the players a wonderful experience.

    It also teaches you how to meet business goals by making your games' user-oriented.

    What You'll Learn From This Book:

    • Overview of the human brain
    • How human perception works
    • Understanding human memory, motivation, and attention
    • The importance of emotion
    • A detailed explanation of game user experience
    • Understanding the usability
    • Design thinking
    • Doing game user research
    • Working with game analytics
    • Several UX strategy

    Theory of Fun for Game Design
    Author: Raph Koster
    Published at: 02/12/2013
    ISBN: 1449363210

    Now 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, fully updated edition helps you understand what drives this major cultural force, and inspires you to take it further.

    You’ll discover that:

    • Games play into our innate ability to seek patterns and solve puzzles
    • Most successful games are built upon the same elements
    • Slightly more females than males now play games
    • Many games still teach primitive survival skills
    • Fictional dressing for modern games is more developed than the conceptual elements
    • Truly creative designers seldom use other games for inspiration
    • Games are beginning to evolve beyond their prehistoric origins

    Games, Design and Play: A detailed approach to iterative game design
    Author: Macklin, Colleen
    Published at: 03/06/2016
    ISBN: 0134392078

    Games, Design and Play are for all game design students, and for beginning-to-intermediate-level game professionals, especially independent game designers. Bridging the gaps between imagination and production will help you craft outstanding designs for incredible play experiences! 

    Coverage includes:

    • Understanding core elements of play design: actions, goals, rules, objects, playspace, and players
    • Mastering “tools” such as constraint, interaction, goals, challenges, strategy, chance, decision, storytelling, and context
    • Comparing types of play and player experiences
    • Considering the demands videogames make on players
    • Establishing a game’s design values
    • Creating design documents, schematics, and tracking spreadsheets
    • Collaborating in teams on a shared design vision
    • Brainstorming and conceptualizing designs
    • Using prototypes to realize and playtest designs
    • Improving designs by making the most of playtesting feedback
    • Knowing when a design is ready for production
    • Learning the rules so you can break them!

    The Game Narrative Toolbox (Focal Press Game Design Workshops)
    Author: Heussner, Tobias
    Published at: 24/06/2015
    ISBN: 1138787086

    Four experienced narrative designers from different genres of game development have banded together to create this all-inclusive guide on what it's like to work as a writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. From concept to final testing, The Game Narrative Toolbox walks readers through what role a narrative designer plays on a development team and what the requirements are at every stage of development. Drawing on real experiences, authors Tobias Heussner, Toiya Finley, Ann Lemay, and Jennifer Hepler provide invaluable advice for writing compelling player-centred stories and effective dialogue trees in order to help readers make the switch from prose- or screenwriting to interactive. Accompanying every chapter are exercises that allow the reader to develop their own documentation, outlines, and game-dialogue samples for use in applying for industry jobs or developing independent projects.

    This first instalment of Focal Press's Game Design Workshops series is a must-have for individuals looking to create captivating storylines for games.

    Game Feel: A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation (Morgan Kaufmann Game Design Books)
    Author: Swink, Steve
    Published at: 13/10/2008
    ISBN: 0123743281

    The book covers topics like the role of sound, ancillary indicators, the importance of metaphor, how people perceive things, and a brief history of feel in games. The associated website contains a playset with ready-made tools to design feel in games, six key components to creating a virtual sensation. There's a play palette too, so the designer can first experience the importance of that component by altering variables and feeling the results. The playset allows the reader to experience each of the sensations described in the book, and then allows them to apply them to their own projects. Creating game feels without having to program, essentially. The final version of the playset will have enough flexibility that the reader will be able to use it as a companion to the exercises in the book, working through each one to create the feel described.

    Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach
    Author: Sellers, Michael
    Published at: 30/10/2017
    ISBN: B076YD21JW

    In Advanced Game Design, 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 experience designing games, launching game studios, and teaching game design, Sellers explains:

    • What games are, and how systems thinking can help you think about them more clearly
    • How to systematically promote engagement, interactivity, and fun
    • What you can learn from MDA and other game design frameworks
    • How to create gameplay and core loops
    • How to design the entire player experience, and how to build game mechanics that work together to create that experience
    • How to capture your game’s “big idea” and Unique Selling Proposition
    • How to establish high-level and background design and translate it into detailed design
    • How to build, playtest, and iterate early prototypes
    • How to build your game design career in a field that keeps changing at breakneck speed

    Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (The MIT Press)
    Author: Tekinbas, Katie Salen
    Published at: 25/09/2003
    ISBN: 0262240459

    An impassioned look at games and game design that offers the most ambitious framework for understanding them to date.

    As pop culture, games are as important as film or television―but game design has yet to develop a theoretical framework or critical vocabulary. In Rules of Play Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman present a much-needed primer for this emerging field. They offer a unified model for looking at all kinds of games, from board games and sports to computer and video games. As active participants in game culture, the authors have written Rules of Play as a catalyst for innovation, filled with new concepts, strategies, and methodologies for creating and understanding games. Building an aesthetics of interactive systems, Salen and Zimmerman define core concepts like "play," "design," and "interactivity." 

    Written for game scholars, game developers, and interactive designers, Rules of Play are a textbook, reference book, and theoretical guide. It is the first comprehensive attempt to establish a solid theoretical framework for the emerging discipline of game design.

    Fundamentals of Game Design
    Author: Adams, Ernest
    Published at: 17/12/2013
    ISBN: 0321929675

    Now 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 approach, Adams offers a first-hand look into the process of designing a game, from initial concept to final tuning.

    This in-depth resource also comes with engaging end-of-chapter exercises, design worksheets, and case studies.

    Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games
    Author: Boller, Sharon
    Published at: 04/04/2017
    ISBN: 1562865773

    As a trainer interested in game design, you know that games are more effective than lectures. You've seen firsthand how immersive games hold learners' interest, helping them explore new skills and experience different points of view. But how do you become the Milton Bradley of learning games? Play to Learn is here to help. This book bridges the gap between instructional design and game design; it's written to grow your game literacy and strengthen crucial game design skills. Experts Sharon Boller and Karl Kapp share real examples of in-person and online games and offer an online game for you to try as you read. They walk you through evaluating entertainment and learning games, so you can apply the best to your own designs. Play to Learn will also show you how to:

    • Link game design to your business needs and learning objectives.
    • Test your prototype and refine your design.
    • Deploy your game to motivated and excited learners.

    So don't just play around. Think big, design well, and use Play to Learn as your guide.

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