Game Design Resources

As I have mentioned several times in my blawg posts, I am fascinated by game design, especially TCG/CCG and videogame design. To that end, I read several blogs, articles, and reddit posts, listen to podcasts, and watch videos on design. It has gotten to the point where it is difficult for me to keep all my resources straight, which is both a shame and a hindrance when I want to cite them in my posts or otherwise refer people to them. So I have decided to organize all my resources here. It will take some time to track down and categorize all the great resources in my backlog, but going forward I will try to update this with great links as I find them. If you’re as interested in game design as I am, make sure to check back often! I hope one day this will be seen as a great compilation of great resources.

Note: if you have suggestions for helping to curate this list (say, a link is broken or no longer available or–even better–you have a suggestion for me), please let me know!

First, my general and frequent resources that I suggest you check out constantly, or at least periodically, like I do:

Specific resources:

I. General Creativity/Writing

Jana Sloan van Geest on simplicity in game-writing (especially/specifically for RPGs)
The Four Basics of Open World Storytelling” by Benjamin Jaekle

II. General Game Design and Development

A. Game Design/Development Generally

So You Want to Make Games Episode 10 by Riot Games

B. Getting into Game Design and/or Development

How to Become a Game Designer by Ben Brode
How to Get a Job in the Games Industry by Ben Brode
A quick explanation of roles in game development by Greg Street
How to Build a Game Designer Portfolio by Greg Street
How to Make a GameDev Resume by Ask A GameDev

C. The Role of UI in Game Development

Hearthstone: How to Create an Immersive User Interface” presented by Derek Sakamoto at GDC 15
User Interface Style Guide as a Game Design/Development Tool by Om Tandon

D. Game Balance

Why it is Better to Over-Nerf than Under-Nerf by Greg Street

E. Player Psychology

Board Game Design Lab with Dr. Corey Butler
Playing Through Your Mistakes (video) by the Mark Brown (Game Maker’s Toolkit)

F. Giving and Receiving Feedback

Drive to Work Episode #535, “Constructive Criticism”
Drive to Work Episode #545, “Design Lesson #19: The Audience is Good at Finding Problems, but Bad at Solving Them”
How to Tell What Critique is Helpful and What is Not (from Ask a Game Dev)

III. General TCG/CCG Design and Development

A. Card Game Design Generally

Drive to Work Episode #511, “Less is More”
Drive to Work Episodes #520-524, 544, 561 (all having to do with MTG’s “Great Designer Search 3”)
Drive to Work Episode #525, “Rookie Mistakes”
Drive to Work Episode #529, “Restrictions”
Drive to Work Episode #543, “Reprints”
Drive to Work Episode #545, “Design Lesson #19: The Audience is Good at Finding Problems, but Bad at Solving Them”
Drive to Work Episode #561, “Design Lesson #20: It All Connects” (recapping his prior 19 lessons and explaining how they connect to one another)
Drive to Work Episode #581, “Narrative Equity” (regarding Mark’s theory that cards that allow for players to tell insane stories, even if those stories are rare edge cases, are, generally, more valuable, because those stories lead to more memorable moments and free advertising when those stories are shared)

B. Specific Card Design Topics

1. When to Keyword

Peter Whalen on Removing the Hearthstone “Enrage” Keyword
Mark Rosewater’s Keyword to the Wise
Drive to Work Episode #552, “Keywords”

2. Factions
Factions add value in that they help guide and anchor design as well as encourage player-engagement on a more visceral, emotional level (much like sports teams do).

Faction Packed by Mark Rosewater
Drive to Work Episode #601, “Factions”
Drive to Work Episode #602, “Magic Evolution, Part 7” (on original Ravnica)

3. Card Rarity

Drive to Work Episode #418, “Designing Rares”
Quite the Rarity by Mark Rosewater

IV. Hearthstone-Specific Design and Development

Ben Brode’s July 14, 2017 Reddit AMA
Hearthstone January 13, 2017 live Q&A VoD and Summary
Ben Brode for Ars Technica (April 18, 2018)
Designing and Developing Witchwood’s Monster Hunt (PVE Missions)
Dean “Iksar” Ayala on Changes to the Core Set

V. Misc. Other Related Resources

On avoiding leaks by Greg Street
On how to respond to angry fans by Greg Street
Riot’s Kenneth Liu’s series “Gaming Industry ICYMI” (gaming and esports news)
Ask a Game Dev on DLCs and Game Budgets generally
A great video series on game art and design/development by Riot Games