It’s easy to know when you mess up a math problem, because there’s a right and wrong answer.

When it comes to artistic pursuits, figuring out how to create emotions, create feelings and create stories that keep the reader / viewer is very difficult.

But I’m still going to try and learn how to do it.

Gold Tier (None so Far)

Items in this tier wowed me.

Purple Tier

Items in this tier provided me supreme value for the cost and time invested

  • On Writing Book – $10 – Even though it’s about writing, a lot of the lessons he teaches can translate over to making games.  Great read.
  • The Visual Story Book – $25 – I understood how musical sounds can be moving, but never about how to do it visually.  This gives practical, in-depth examples of how to arrange visual elements of a scene to generate emotion.
  • Designing for Emotion – $25 – A small book about design for websites.  I think some of the principles can be applied to IndieDev as well.
  • Don’t Make Me Think Book – $30 – Another great book on Web Design.  I still think that many of these principles transfer to game design.

Blue Tier

Items in this tier provided me a good amount of value for the cost and time invested

  • Of Games and God Book – $15 – I want my faith to shine through in the design of my games, but I don’t want it to be like a bunch of failed / corny Christian games.  This book addresses that, as well as other design ideas like morality systems and glorifying violence.
  • Universal Principles of Design Book – $15 – Just principles. More of a dictionary really, but for someone who knew nothing about design, some of them are pretty useful, even in making video games.

Green Tier

Items in this tier provided me some value for the cost and time invested

  • How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card – $10 – My next game will be Science Fiction or Fantasy.  This book helped a bit to give ideas on how to tackle it.
  • Level Up Book – $10 – This book talks a lot about things experienced gamers already know, but never think about it because it’s ingrained in us.
  • Made to Stick Book – $10 – How do you make ideas stick?  This book addresses it.  You can use these techniques in both marketing, and game design.
  • Story Juice Book – $10 – Every game has a story.  Whether it’s killing pigs with kamikaze birds, or saving the Heroes of Azeroth.  This book gives tips on storytelling.

White Tier (None So Far)

Items in this tier provided me little to no value for the cost and time invested

Grey Tier (None So Far)

  • Things I have learned in my life so far – $25 – Not really a design book even though design websites say it is. Maybe I just don’t get it, but it’s pretty much a bunch of creative pictures.

Items in this tier felt like value was taken away from me for the cost and time invested

Continuing Education

I plan to make a lot of games, from small games to big budget games (I’ll get there!).

I’m going to continue to learn so I can make the best games possible.

Join Lion Root to stay up to date with my learning and game development!


In the interest of transparency, many of the links are affiliate links.  Some things I’ve read aren’t the strongest books out there, so I’ve left those out so you don’t have to waste your time or money on them like I did.