Clockwork Game Design has been released!

Great news – my book, Clockwork Game Design, is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores, in both digital and paperback formats.

97467b937ecb6b80758463d9af2fdcedClockwork Game Design is unique in many ways, I think. I don’t know of another book on “building rulesets for strategy games”, that actually tells you how you should approach it. I’ve read maybe 15-20 of the most popular books on game design, and none of them have anything remotely like that. This is because, of course, they are all writing about “all interactive entertainment”, and providing such a specific, “how-to” guide for such a broad category of forms is impossible.

I’ll be doing a short video about Clockwork Game Design soon to help people understand what it is, exactly. In short, though, it’s a run-through of a very specific system for understanding and building strategy game rulesets. I not only use this system in my own work, but I think that the Clockwork Design Pattern or something similar is really the only way to achieve depth and elegance in game design. Other designers who have achieved deep, elegant games, are using this theory (or at least parts of it) without knowing the words for it.

It’s quite different than my first book, which was very much a broad “overview” of videogames, the history of games, and my general philosophy on games. I think the first book is valuable in that it relays my perspective on games broadly and goes into detail on some specifics. However, it is definitely far less constructive than this book.

I hope you’ll spread the word about my book. I worked hard on it, and I tried to make sure it was itself elegant, as elegance is really a major reason for its existence. From little things like there being no subtitle (when was the last time you saw that?) to no preface to just simply being short and to the point.

In other news: Dinofarm Games is launching a Kickstarter for an Auro expansion in a couple of days. Please keep an eye out for that!


News: I’m writing a second book. Also, Auro!

I wanted to write a quick post to let people know what I’ve been up to. I haven’t been able to really update the blog with a new article in some time, and I might not for the next month or two. The reasons for this will become obvious in a moment.

I recently signed a contract with CRC Press to write my second book! This one, like the last, is about game design, however this one is much more of a practical “textbook” affair, while the last one was more of a philosophical treatise. In this book (which doesn’t yet have a title), I will go through my suggested process of designing strategy games, starting with concept, core mechanism, finding supporting mechanisms, goals, etc. There will be lots of exercises and I think it will generally be a great book for the game design classroom.

I’ll be spending most of my writing time in the next few months (not ALL of my writing time, though) writing this book, which means I won’t be able to write too many blog posts in that time. I will have news items and such though, still.

Speaking of news items – the other thing I’ve been doing like crazy is Auro! Just today, I created a new commercial site for the game (still a work in progress). What do you think? I didn’t have to do much; Blake’s amazing art kinda carries the whole thing.

But beyond that, I’ve actually been programming on the game myself a lot, which is kinda crazy, because I’m not a programmer. My struggle with trying to learn to program over the last 20 years has been extremely arduous and fraught with doubt. But recently, with Auro so behind schedule, I’ve just decided to DIVE IN head first. And weirdly, it’s kind of working out. I mean, I’ve read the first 3 chapters of about 20 programming books over the past couple decades, so something just must have stuck I guess.

Tons of features have been added recently. The game now tracks wins and losses, and doles out XP. There’s a whole records system that keeps track of everything you’ve done, and a records screen where you can reset your records, etc. Not to mention just a ton of polish to the messaging system (character portraits slide in and out all nice now).

So that’s what’s been going on. I want to write an article soon about slow real time games, maybe I’ll have time to do that at some point.