The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses
The “bible” of the game design from Jesse Shell. Fundamental and practical game design book, must read for any designer.
Game Design Concepts
Basic game design course from Ian Schreiber, must read for beginners.
Game Design Theory I Wish I had Known When I Started
Good lecture for beginners from Daniel Cook about loops, arcs, skills and other game systems design elements.
100 Questions, 97 Answers, 56 Minutes
GDC lecture from Brenda Romero (Brathwaite) with a lot of useful advice for beginners in the game industry.
Theory of Fun for Game Design
Classical game design book from Raph Koster about the concept of “fun”.
Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design
Fun, well-illustrated and easy to read game design book from Scott Rodgers, very useful for beginners. Also contains a lot of explaining of the specific design elements (Character, Camera, Controls, HUD, etc.).
Challenges for Game Designers
Very practical game design book from Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber. Contains a lot of fundamental knowledge and a series of ‘challenges’ that help to learn the book material. One of my favorite game design books.
Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals
Old, but good book with a broad overview of the most important theoretical game design concepts.
Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games
Great game design book for beginner-medium level from Tracy Fullerton. Focused on game design creative process, playtesting and prototyping.
Designing Virtual Worlds
Classical game design book from MUD creator Richard Bartle. Book was published in 2003, and some parts might be outdated, but it is still must read for anyone who interested in MMORPG design.
Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities
A classical book about online community building from Amy Jo Kim. The book is old, and technical part might be outdated, but most of the principles from this book are about social psychology and still relevant today.