Game Development Reference
• The Logic of Failure: Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex
Situations by Dietrich Dörner Failure isn't a freak event like a light-
ning bolt from the sky. It grows slowly by its own dismal logic. Using
games that simulate complex situations like African villages and eco-
logical reserves, Dörner examines how human beings consistently
mishandle complex problems, and hints at how to compensate for our
ingrained bad habits. This is a good touchstone for understanding the
problems of the game development process.
• How the Mind Works by Steven Pi nker In this 700-page opus, Harvard's
star psychologist Steven Pinker covers the mind in exacting detail
from a computational, evolutionary-based view. Some of his conclu-
sions are controversial within the academic community; all of them
• Getting to Yes: Negotiation Agreement Without Giving In by Roger
Fisher and William Ury Much of real game design is about negotiation.
Nobody cares how good your analysis is if you can't constructively
compromise with others to get it implemented.
• The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business
and in Life by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff Every game de-
signer should have a basic understanding of mathematical game
theory concepts like dominant strategies and Nash equilibria. This is
a readable and thorough explanation of these concepts.
• Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers
from Everyone Else by Geoff Colvin Colvin's topic is about learning. It
doesn't matter what—golf, violin, programming, game design. Colvin
shows how the key to world-class performance isn't talent or time, but
deliberate practice. Deliberate practice isn't just doing the work; it's
straining to get better at the work in a very specific way. For anyone
wanting to improve game design skills these high-level ideas and ex-
amples are valuable.
• Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed
Pop Culture by David Kushner Masters of Doom is about the creation
of Doom in the early 1990s. But it's not a topic about the mind; it's a
topic about heart. Kushner describes a team of designers with legend-
ary levels of drive and hunger. In a world where we rarely meet really
extraordinary people, stories like this serve as examples of what's
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