This is a collection of different materials I’ve found extremely helpful in my game dev journey. I hope you may find them useful as well!
Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen Rules of Play is an excellent book that I wish I read earlier in my game dev career. It breaks down game design into its core principles and provides great definitions for key terms such as play, interactivity, rules, and systems.
Discussing Design: Improving Communication and Collaboration through Critique Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry Communication is one of the most important skills for a designer to develop. This book coveres two of the most overlooked communication skills a designer needs in their day-to-day: 1. Articulating a design in your head so that it is clear to the others 2. Critiquing and being critiqued
Practical Creativity, GDC 2014 Raph Koster, Playable Worlds Creativity is not a spontaneous stroke of genius. Like a muscle it can be trained and improved! In this 2014 GDC presentation, Raph Koster goes over what creativity is and different techniques that can be utilized to harness it.
Into the Breach Design Postmortem, GDC 2019 Matthew Davis, Subset Games This is an amazing GDC talk to see the evolution of Into the Breach. Matthew Davis goes over critical game design practices that are applicable to any game project. Recognizing genre limitations, working with constraints, and listening to the design, are just a few of the principles discussed here.
The Freedom Fallacy: Understanding Player Autonomy in Game Design, GDC 2017 Scott Rigby, Immersyve The PENS model is a popular framework to help understand player motivation. In this GDC talk, Scott Rigby goes into deeper detail on Autonomy: it is not simply about the player having freedom to do what they want, it is about volition!
Systems Are Everywhere, GCAP 2016 Aleissia Laidacker, Mill Channel What is a system? What is a system in a video game? These are crucial questions that Aleissia Laidacker answers in this talk. Furthermore, this talk goes into detail on designing a great system as well as some tools to improve the overall depth and elegance of a game's overall systems.