A new book by Northeastern faculty member Christopher Barney, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art + Design, works to show students, teachers, and game development professionals how to derive best practices in all aspects of game design. Pattern Language for Game Design builds on the revolutionary work of architect Christopher Alexander and uses a series of practical, rigorous exercises, designers can observe and analyze the failures and successes of the games they know and love to find the deep patterns that underlie good design. The book, which seeks to transform how we look at building the interactive experiences that shape us, is published by CRC Press and is available here.
Pattern Language for Game Design includes ample background information, analysis, examples, exercises, and discussion. It has a supporting website, found here, that allows students and other developers to contribute and share the patterns that the book talks about creating. You can read more about the website here.
Chris Barney has been researching and engaging with Christopher Alexander’s work for some time. He wrote a course based on applying the ideas of Alexander to game design as a framework for covering the existing course material (more here), adapted his methods to help create the design patterns he needed to solve his personal design challenges (more here), and more.
Christopher Barney contributed his game design and programming skills to Pearson’s web based MMO, Poptropica, for six years, as well as served as the lead internal game designer for the educational games website funbrain.com. Prior to breaking into the gaming industry, he worked as a live events writer for FunCom’s Anarchy Online MMO through their ARK program, and produced dozens of live events.
As an independent designer Chris’ games include Fall of the Last City and Play Me A Story. He also has an extensive background in interactive theater, and has worked as a scriptwriter for several large New England theater groups. He has previously spoken at GDC, GDC EU, BFig, ECGC, DevCom, PaxDev, Pax West, and GaymerX. At Northeastern, Chris is teaching Level Design and Game Architecture, and Foundations of Game Design in the undergraduate program this spring. He has also taught Exploratory Game Design, Spatial and Temporal Design, as well as the Thesis in the graduate Game Science and Design program.