Game Design Web Sites

Maintainer: John Champaign Contact: john.champaign@acm.org
Version: $Revision: 1.5 $ Last modified: $Date: 2000/10/27 13:17:35 $

Table of Contents

Design

The complete Wargames Handbook at http://www.hyw.com/Books/WargamesHandbook/Contents.htm
This one came up last term when I was doing a project on the history of computer games and book marked it as something that might be useful for the thesis. The author seems to be a die-hard historical gamer who's been sucked into the computer world. It's a great site from a design perspective (i.e. what makes a game play well). It's very thorough and goes from an assumption of the reader knowing nothing up to some worthwhile ideas. It doesn't even try to touch on technical issues.

MARK GALLEAR'S GAME DESIGN PAGE at http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Arena/8461/index.html
Describes itself well as:
This guide attempts to give insights into what makes a great computer game. It is not about programming games but concerns itself with design issues. It includes sections on the development of different game genres. This looks at how seminal games in each genre have added to it or taken it in a new direction. Design issues such as using real-time or turn-based systems are examined in depth. Examples include a comparison of Steel Panthers and Command & Conquer. Even if you are just interested in playing games, you will hopefully find it interesting and give you some idea of what to look for in a great game.

Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT) (by David Malmberg and Mark J. Welch) (Generic Adventure Game System, GAGS) at http://www.markwelch.com/agt.htm
I came across this product many years ago in casual browsing, then found it again recently while doing research. Their package assists with the creation of text-based, adventure games with limited graphic and sound support. If my project eventually takes on the dimensions I hope and it is something I can pass on for others to salvage ideas and code from, their model might be a valuable example of one approach to doing this.

Game Architecture Design at http://people.ne.mediaone.net/melkior/gameprog/gadroot.htm
Steve Crocker thinks as I do about imposing the value of a framework and designing well thought out, easily re-used or updated code. Contains two excellent documents one on architecture and another on design. All code, mainly examples, is in C++. Also has a good collection of links to game design sites (so my collection of links to game design sites has a link to his collection -- this is getting out of control! If I can get him to link to mine we can view into infinity ;-). Page seems to be part of his homepage as a whole and you can look at his poetry, prose and recordings if you're so inclined (I wasn't)

Converting Boardgames for the Computer at http://www.gamesdomain.com/gdr.cgi?depart/dec98/bgmp.html
An article taken from Games Domain Review that focuses on the conversion of board games to computer from a VERY high level.

The Game AI Page: Building Artificial Intelligence into Games at http://www.gameai.com/
A brilliant site put together by someone who is really fascinated by AI and the many ways it can be applied to games. Gives a rundown on the AI strategies currently in use by commercial games, some of the theories that could be adapted to games and small freeware/shareware games that demonstrate AI concepts well (like genetic algorithms). Has a very earthy, personal tone to it that may or may not be your cup of tea (about the same as mine, so if my comments are annoying you, you might not love his site).

Project Armageddon - Next Generation RTS ... for free! at http://projecta.simplenet.com/
A real-time strategy game (ala Starcraft) that has been in development since 1996. Has a very pleasing web page and seems to promise quite a game, but very little is currently available. I thought this might be another example of how to put together a web-based product with many different members. The fact that their past members list is three times the size of their current members and the fact that the game has been in production for 4 years makes me lean towards thinking this might not be the best way to do it. If I might be so presumptuous as to suggest that they are trying to follow a cathedral approach with a medium/team that desperately wants a bazaar (see The Cathedral and the Bazaar for the original paper and additional documentation).

RPGMaker.net at http://www.rpgmaker.net/
Formerly RPG Warehouse (or they assimilarted it or something). Big collection of downloads, tutorials and design suggestions for making your own RPGs. Also has tile sets which I'm especially interested in.

Pure Delusion Web Site at http://www.puredelusion.clubnet-uk.com/index.html
A new site beginning development. The 18 year old who started it seems to be recording what he's learned, so it would be a great starting points for newbies.

Designing Games: rec.games.design FAQ at http://www.cs.queensu.ca/~dalamb/Games/design/design.html
Maintained by my supervisor (breath on nails, polish on shirt) who took it over from Travis Casey.

GameCoding UK at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.gerfen/new_page_2.htm
"The purpose of this site is to gather together everything you will need on one site to write top selling games. I hope this site will meet the needs of tomorrows programmers, whether your a complete beginner or an advanced coder, there's something for everyone. " Pretty ambitious purpose, I don't think he quite pulls it off, but that's just my 2 cents. Really neat menus (for what it's worth).

Back to the Table of Contents

Technical

42 - The Answer to you programming questions at http://www.steinke.net/42/index.html
Self-described as ``a collection of tutorials and articles on various aspects of game development. Most of this site covers 2d algorithms, especially tile based techniques.'' Also provides information about enemy AI, game design, graphic effects, fast sprites as well as some of the authors own programs (at least two of which are distributed with source code). The nine articles provided seem to be a good introduction to how games can be programmed using tiles, with one giving an overview as how this is implemented in classic NES game Zelda. A section on design tips give good, solid common-sense advice on how to avoid designing ``features'' sure to irritate long-time gamers. Because of the tight focus of the articles and tutorials, you might not find what you're looking for (if tiles aren't your bag baby). This is probably the whole point and I'm missing it. ;-)

The "Influence Mapping" Thread (Summary) from comp.ai.games at http://www.gameai.com/influ.thread.html
A collection of messages posted to comp.ai.games that seems to be a very reasonable approach to evaluating which force ``controls'' what area of the battlefield and from this allow the ai to make some tactical decisions. It is of particular interest to me, as it seems like something that would be easily implemented on my tile-based battlefield and might make the ai a bit more playable. Like any collection of message from a newsgroup, the quality of post varies, but from a first skim this looks to have a high signal-to-noise ratio.

Welcome to Gamedev.net, Game Dictionary, and Demo News at http://www.gamedev.net/
A potpourri of game design goodies, this is a frequently referred to site in the game design newsgroups that delivers with more solid technical articles and forums than I have seen elsewhere. Describes its own content as ``theory, design, art, music, physics, graphics, OpenGL, news, Source Code, AI, Sound, Assembly, Discussion Forums, and more!'' Nice design with a slightly chaotic feel to it.

generation5.org at http://www.generation5.org
Claims to be at ``the forefront of Artificial Intelligence''. Seems to have some essays on general AI principles that I hope will be useful when I get seriously into developing the AI component of the game. Interview section looks like it might be interesting to browse through. Site is difficult to navigate as a whole.

The Ishpeckian Network at http://come.to/ishpeck/
Has a programming section with collections of resources for general game programming, Basic, C/C++, Java and code.

Josh's Programming Page - Links at http://members.tripod.com/~sakajmh/links.htm
Collection of links for programming tutorials in C++ and game design/programming.

Amit's Game Programming Information at http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/gameprog.html
Great site for ideas on implementing issues that come up often in games (e.g. shortest path).

An optimal pathfinder for vehicles in real-world digital terrain maps at http://www.student.nada.kth.se/~f93-maj/pathfinder/index.html
A paper on finding the shortest path.

A* Demonstraton at http://www.ccg.leeds.ac.uk/james/aStar/
Information and demo for the A* path finding algorithm.

Allegro - a game programming library at http://www.talula.demon.co.uk/allegro/
Allegro is a library of functions for use in computer games, written for the djgpp compiler in a mixture of C and assembly language

Java Games Developement Center at http://www.electricfunstuff.com/jgdc/
This was a hard one to categorize. There's definitely some design meat on this site, but their vision seems to be first and foremost providing code, tutorials and more technical assistance, with design following from that. Regardless, if you're into java game development, this is the centre for you (ergo the name!).

java programming source code and tutorial resource at Gamelan.com at http://www.gamelan.com/
``Gamelan's primary mission is to serve as a central registry and directory of Java resources,'' says the site also claiming ``Most serious Java developers visit our site every day to keep up with breaking developments and new techniques.'' I've definitely seen it referred to in the newsgroups, but I'm not 100% convinced that they are the centre of the caffeinated universe they claim to be -- Maybe I'm just cynical though.

Cplusplus.8m.com - C++ and OpenGL programming at http://cplusplus.8m.com/
Seems useful if you're programming in C/C++ and need tutorials or code mining. Quite a bit of advertising which is a turn-off (All-Advantage strikes again!). The rush of pop ups actually crashed my browser last time I visited.

VB Tutorial Main Page at http://markbutler.8m.com/vb-tutorial.htm
Takes a programmer with minimal Visual Basic knowledge and walks them through the creation of a tile based RPG ala Zelda, Might & Magic or Ultima.

Games Programming at http://www.cbel.com/Games_Programming/
A whole bunch of links for people who want information hard and fast. Seems to have a 3D-shooter bias.

Reliable software at http://www.relisoft.com
Technical collection (C/C++ tutorials, etc) with bias towards games and open-source.

Back to the Table of Contents

Media

FEED: Dialog on the Frontiers of Game Design at http://www.feedmag.com/vgs/q2t1.html
Came to my attention on a web page where the author had linked to it because he had been interviewed. It has a wide variety of articles on all sorts of issues that are current for game designers. It's an interesting read that gives you a bit of insight into the industry. Obviously it isn't going to help you develop a better game.

Gamasutra - The Art & Science of Making Games at http://www.gamasutra.com/
After seeing frequent references to this site in many of the newsgroups I was quite anxious to finally get to see this Mecca. It's a site very focused on all professionals working in the gaming industry and combines news, articles, job searches, making connections, message forums, contests and surveys. Very slick and professional layout with some areas off-limit until you become a member (free). Seems more focused on broader topics, so if theirs something specific you need to know, you might be better off looking elsewhere, but if you want to while away some time reading, this is the place to come.

developium at http://www.developium.com/
A smaller version of Gamasutra or GameDev.net this promises to eventually link together designers, provide articles, forums, news and a thriving community. Still in the early stages of growth.

Games-JOBS.com - games recruitment jobs in USA, UK, Europe. at http://www.games-jobs.com/
Pretty self-descriptive title. Maybe this doesn't belong under media though --

GIG -- Get In the Game! at http://www.gignews.com/
Another gaming industry site with job sites, article by and for gaming professionals and lots of fun info.

Makegames.com: launch your career in computer game development at http://www.makegames.com/
This wasn't advertised in a post, but I grabbed it from Diana (the woman behind the whole show I think)'s signature. The site looks -- kind of -- well, ugly. But I never judge a website by its graphics -- nope, not me -- never -- ever. Regardless, this is the first site I've seen 100% devoted to careers in gaming, so worth looking at just for that. Diana is also wickedly funny.

Game Developer's Newsletter at http://www.thegdn.homestead.com/
Their mission statement is ``The Game Developer's Newsletter is produced for you, the developer: to inspire, to encourage, to share in the knowledge and passion of creating computer games.'' It brings a tear to my eye. Its links are unimplemented, maybe the back issues have more info. Seems to have good conference info.

flipCode - Game Development News & Resources at http://www.flipcode.com/
Name says it all; this is another site with `` gaming/multimedia news and information site with an emphasis on development''. ``Also has daily news links to the latest happenings in the industry, interviews, tutorials, documents, (and) features''.

Perlin Noise at http://freespace.virgin.net/hugo.elias/models/m_perlin.htm
Useful for randomly generating maps. The basic idea is using combinations of frequencies to get random distributions. Interesting.

Back to the Table of Contents

Code Mines

GDT: Game Development Thingy - Online Game Development Projects at http://gdt.virtualave.net/
This is a site that links together people who want to work on programming a computer game. Part of their philosophy is that its open source game development for anyone, so it looks like a good location to find code or possibly distribute my code later on. Has pop up banners that are quite annoying.

Linux Games - Even Penguins Like To Have Fun at http://www.linuxgames.com/
I assume that if they're programmed for Linux at least SOME will have bought into the open source concept.

Grant's Home Page at http://skyscraper.fortunecity.com/apple/230/
Has Gomokuse (your guess is as good as mine, and I played it!), Checkers and Othello executables (dos/win) along with source code. Grant Castillou presents them as an introduction to board game programming. These games are the limit to his site. His request to be sent ``a few bucks'' leaves a bit of a sour taste.

ANTIMETA at http://www.antimeta.com/
Collection of projects Marc Lepage is working on. Minions is a RTS he is playing with. Also has YAGE, which is a dead project, envisioned to be an engine for Java turn based wargames. This promises to have some worthwhile code.

Link's house O games at http://www.interlog.com/~mikemaz/games/home.html
Contains a collection of applet games. I actually couldn't get them to load, but maybe I was just having a bad day.

BURKS 4 Online at http://burks.brighton.ac.uk/
Claims to be a useful resource for computer science students with tutorial and reference material along with hundreds of megs of software (including some source code). Can also be ordered on CD instead of downloading.

Game Creation Resources at http://www.ambrosine.com/resource.html
A bunch of software packages to help non-programmers create games. Some source code if you look hard.

Open Directory - Computers: Programming: Games at http://dmoz.org/Computers/Programming/Games/
A yahoo-esque collection of links. Apparently human editors look over each site. Geez, who'd do nothing but post a collection of links!?!?! <wink>

Game Developer Magazine at http://www.gdmag.com/
The website for a paper (non-e) magazine. Contains a source code section. I met the editor-in-chief (and got his business card to prove it!) at LinuxWorld, which was one of the high points along with peaking shyly at the Loki team from behind the exhibitors' booths.

Roguelike News - Main at http://www.skoardy.demon.co.uk/rlnews/index.html
Site with dungeon generation algorithms for Rogue, Nethack, and games of that ilk.

CodeBrain.com - Free Java at http://www.codebrain.com/index.html
Focus of the site seems to be to suck you into viewing their banners, but has a wide variety of code from which you might be able to dig up some goodies.

CodeUniverse.com - Source Code Archive at http://www.codeuniverse.com/
This is code pure and simple; if you're looking for foreplay first you'll have to look elsewhere. The first thing that greets you on opening it up is a list of code posted with the language specified in front. You can comment on code you grab, submit your own code or look just at specific languages.

Freeciv - Open source project at http://www.freeciv.org/
Some people say that the best way to become a master programer is to read quality code. I've heard positive reviews of both the code and design followed by this mature product. If you're interested in doing a management sim this would be an excellent springboard. GPL licensed.

Nethack - Open source project at http://www.nethack.org/
Another mature product for people who treat code like a good novel. Might be worth looking through. I got somewhat negative vibes from the community working on it, they seemed a bit bitter about something, but maybe that's just me being sensitive. GPL licensed.

Back to the Table of Contents

Graphics/Artwork

Character Pack #1 - Visual Basic Explorer at http://www.vbexplorer.com/charpack1.asp
A collection of portraits and tiles by artist Hermann Hillmann that you are free to incorporate into any non-commercial game. I'd love to use the tiles in my game.

Free Textures at http://www.bladestextures.com/free_textures.htm
Another collection of tiles and patterns. Also has tutorials on modifying images which could be handy for re-sizing, changing colours, etc.

http://sua.virtualave.net/ at http://sua.virtualave.net/
Shareware United Association. Apparently has a good collection of sprites you can download. Don't know if there are any pixies available though --

Blade's Textures and Tiles at http://www.bladestextures.com/
You can buy collections of textures and tiles on CD from this guy. Some demos available for free on his site.

Back to the Table of Contents

Miscellaneous

KuesterLaw Technology Law Resource - Patent Copyright Trademark at http://www.kuesterlaw.com/index.html
Gives the basics of intellectual property so you can make sure the creators of your ``inspiration'' don't sue you.

GamesBasic.Com - The (free!) art of games creation..High Speed!! at http://www.gamesbasic.com/
A gaming-specific programming language that uses modular basic.

3D Rad at http://www.3drad.com/index.htm
The Rapid 3D Application Development System Interactive 3d worlds and 3d games creator.

Dark Basic Software at http://www.darkbasic.com/home.html
This is another gaming-specific programming language. This one seemed to generate a fair bit of attention in the newsgroups.

COMMAND DECISION MODELING: at http://www-leav.army.mil/nsc/warsim/reason/assess/section2/section2.htm
From the military, this is a very serious thorough outline of some heavy-duty wargame AI techniques. Very dense. You have been warned.

Automatic World Builder at http://www.best.com/~jendave/builder/world/index.html
I wasn't able to access this page (he's on some server that limits him to 500 hits a day or something -- don't ask me -- ) but it was described in a newsgroup posting that this lets you run a simulation similar to a game of civilization that produces a world with history, cultures and traditions. Seems like an interesting concept and I'd like to check it out (maybe I'll try at midnight ;-).

Xtreme Games LLC Web Site at http://www.xgames3d.com/
Helps amateur game designers sell their product for a 50/50 split. Neat site layout and also has some technical resources and industry news (not the focus of the site though).

Back to the Table of Contents

Please feel free to e-mail me if you find any dead links or have suggested additions.

Please feel welcome to visit the game I'm currently working on at http://qlink.queensu.ca/~4jc24/cisc499.