A collection of links to wise drops of knowledge, articles, books, videos, and etc.

General Design

Fifteen Fundamental Properties

Christopher Alexander
May 24, 2012

https://www.slideshare.net/jesseschell/the-nature-of-order-in-game-narrative https://web.sfc.keio.ac.jp/~iba/papers/PURPLSOC14_Properties.pdf

Levels of Scale, Strong Centers, Boundaries, Alternating Repetition, Positive Space, Good Shape, Local Symmetries, Deep Interlock, Contrast, Graded Variation, Roughness, Echoes, The Void, Inner Calm, Not-Separateness

It's easy to interpret these descriptions as being about visual design, but they can apply to any dimensions. Atmosphere and mood changing over the course of an experience, through the lens of the fifteen fundamental properties, is a prime candidate for evaluating for "levels of scale" or "alternating repetition." 

My general take-away is that everything exists in varying degrees of contrast to something or everything else. Did you just go big and bold? Make the next more subdued. Did you change from bold to subdued very quickly? Try transitioning slower next.

These are the patterns of growth and change, found in the natural world. Our brains are wired to recognize these things as good, take advantage of that.

Ten Principles for Good Design

Dieter Rams
November 21, 2017


Less is More.
Good design is innovative, makes a product useful, is aesthetic, makes a product understandable, is unobtrusive, is honest, is long-lasting, is thorough down to the last detail, is environmentally friendly, and is as little design as possible.

These guidelines are a great way to evaluate your plans at a high level. Ask yourself, "Is my design sustainable?" and "Where is my product's innovation?" will keep your project on the right track. A lot of the questions of obvious or implicit in our processes, but you have to keep your eye on the ball. If you don't keep the core principles in mind the actual process in action might not reach meet those goals.

Game Design & Development

Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics

Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, Robert Zubek

A framework for game design discussion


Game design is notorious for having few established standards when describing game mechanics. 

Understanding what drives your players is critical, that much is obvious. The specifics of player motivation, however, may be a bit mysterious. The R.A.M.P. framework identifies four primary flavors of a person's intrinsic motivational drives. Each element is a big broad and vague, but each element can be fulfilled through a variety of means.

These motivations are a great key to identifying what interactions are valuable and help a design versus what elements are harmful or do not help drive engagement. While that is true, it's also a spider-man situation. With great power comes great responsibility. These methods of raising engagement can become emotional exploitation if applied unscrupulously.

Players Who Suit MUDs (Bartle's Taxonomy)

Not totally dissimilar to the R.A.M.P. model. Achievers are motivated by Mastery. Socializers are motivated by Relatedness. Explorers are motivated by Autonomy. Killers are motivated by Relatedness, Autonomy, and Mastery. All four types are motivated by Purpose.

Luck Versus Skill

 Richard Garfield
July 10, 2012


Statistics can be easy. Flip a coin, and you have a 50/50 shot. When the numbers get big and complicated, statistics can be quite counterintuitive. Just ask any competitive Pokémon player.

Juice it or lose it

Martin Jonasson & Petri Purho
May 24, 2012


This is the quintessential talk for learning the aesthetics of game feel. Even simple interactions can have rich responsiveness.


Save The Cat

Blake Snyder
May 2005


A three act structure? Of course. The monomyth, Hero's Journey? Incredible. Dan Harmon's Story Circle? good streamlined stuff. 

Blake Snyder Save The Cat? You can take that to the bank.

This is THE hollywood narrative structure. It's honed to target the human experience and the most common denominator.

Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule

Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step

Edward De Bono
February 2015


awareness, random stimulation, alternatives, and alteration

The Only Six Typefaces You Need

Massimo Vignelli


Garamond, Bodoni, Century Expanded, Futura, Times Roman, Helvetica