Click here to buy Designing the User Experience of Game Development Tools



  • Introduces the concept of user-centered design and explains how it applies to game tools development
  • Shows readers how to effectively get buy-in from their teams
  • Teaches readers a variety of techniques to improve the user experience, along with before-and-after examples


Most tools developers want to improve the user experience but are not given the time, lack the techniques, or don’t know where to begin. This book addresses these issues to empower tools developers to make positive steps toward improving the user experience of their tools.

Designing the User Experience of Game Development Tools explains how to improve the user experience of game development tools. The first part of the book details the logic behind why the user experience of game tools must be improved. The second part introduces the concept of user-centered design, a process that revolves around understanding people’s goals, watching them work, learning the context in which they work, and understanding how they think.

Ideal for anyone who makes, uses, or benefits from game development tools, the book presents complex concepts in a manner that is accessible to those new to user experience design. The book illustrates many proven concepts and techniques using before-and-after examples from tools development to supply you with the real-world understanding you need to become a better game developer. It also describes how to get buy-in from your team.

Although concepts have been simplified for those who are learning about user experience for the first, the text also includes resources in the footnotes for those who want more details.



What you are reading now is the result of David Lightbown’s first big mission on [a] very long quest. The rest is a co-op campaign and he has brought along these weapons to get us started.

From the Foreword by Mike Acton, Engine Director, Insomniac Games


[David’s] acclaimed lectures, now demonstrated and elaborated in this book, are brilliant and very appropriate to our industry.

Jason Parks, Owner, Continuity AI (former Technical Artist for SCEA, THQ, and Volition)


Lightbown tackles some complicated cognitive and scientific concepts, but does so in a completely conversational manner that is not only approachable, but fun and interesting to read.

Jim Brown, Epic Games


All developers owe it to their future selves to learn to apply the process presented in this book to their tools.

Corey Johnson, Unity Technologies


If you build games tools and are not familiar with user-centered design, then you should read this book.

Tom Hoferek, Principal User Experience Designer, Autodesk


David not only delivers the concepts and techniques that can be used to improve the user experience of game development tools, he also outlines … the return on investment for doing so. A must read.

Liam Grieg, Senior UX Designer, Atlassian


In this easy-to-read, comprehensive guide, David Lightbown applies classic principles of user-centered design to the tool-building process. … A must-read, even if you’re not in the games industry.

AJ Kandy, Co-Founder/Director of Design, Peterson/Kandy


About the Author


After spending most of his formative years in his parents’ basement trying to clone 8-bit console games on an Apple IIGS, David Lightbown got a job in the games industry. Since then, he has dedicated the majority of his career to working on content creation tools and pipelines.

In addition to contributing to a variety of games as a technical director, David has delivered presentations at the Game Developers Conference, Montreal International Game Summit, and SIGGRAPH, in various cities within Canada, the United States, and Europe.

He has also collaborated with Autodesk to create product reviews, training manuals, tutorial videos, and masterclasses. In 2010, he received the Autodesk Master Award for his contributions to the 3D community.

David currently holds the title of technical director at Ubisoft Montreal.