Better Game Characters by Design
A Psychological Approach
- Tim Schafer, Double Fine Productions, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. By
- Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor, Department of Language, Literature and Communication, RPI; Director of the Games Research Lab, RPI; Chair of the MS in HCI Program, RPI
Game designers, programmers, art directors, and sound designers, and HCI professionals. Students will learn how to design effective interactive characters and gain an understanding of social roles and perceptions that can apply.
Published: June 2006
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
âIf the characters in a game have depth, complexity, consistency, mystery, humanity, and charm, then they are going to feel real to the player, and that helps the whole game world feel real, and allows the player to suspend his or her disbelief and get lost in the world. Everything the player does will be more exciting if they're doing it for someone, or with someone, or in opposition to someone who feels real. Simply put, good character design helps the player to have what we all know can be an amazing, unforgettable experience. This book is not just about making great characters, but also about making great games.â â from the foreword by Tim Schafer, Double Fine Productions âKatherine Isbister skillfully draws upon various psychological constructs elevating game development to a more comprehensive level. Taking a Psych 100 class? This book transforms the sometimes stuffy theories of Freud, Skinner, Rogers and Maslow into fresh and entertaining relevancy as the author weaves these ideas into game content. The next time you play a favorite video game, read this book-that game will take on a whole new light and who knows you may be able to ace that psychology final.â â Pauline Pedersen, Course Director, Full Sail Real World Education âThe notion of using psychological principles in games continues to be of great interest to the games industry, but few researchers have been able to discuss in depth how psychological research can actually be applied to game design. Katherine Isbister's book not only makes complex psychological concepts accessible to the games community, but also demonstrates its application in current games through the use of concrete examples (on retail products), and possible design tips and recommendations.â â Randy Pagulayan, PhD, User Research Lead, Microsoft Game Studios âKatherine Isbister has crafted a text that covers a far greater scope of psychological concerns than I would've previously thought possible, and each area of psychology she covers has the potential to bring games to higher level. For any individual studying, teaching, or working in Game Design this is a must-have text.â â Robin Koman, Associate Course Director, Full Sail Real World Education âA valuable tool for applying effective principles of psychology to create readable, entertaining and high-impact game characters-a must-have for today's game developer.â â Andrew Stern, co-creator of the interactive drama Facade and the virtual pets Dogz and Catz âWell researched and perceptive, this book offers new insights on creating more emotionally engaging game characters. If you have ever been curious about the psychology behind better character design, this book is a must read!â â Nicole Lazzaro, President, XEODesign, Inc. âIsbister has delivered an impressive package that will leave you wondering about Sonic the Hedgehogâs need for speed and Lara Croftâs potential trust issues long after the button-mashing session has ended.â â Animation, September 2006