Paperback: 960 pages
Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (November 3, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.8 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #743,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #109 in Books > Computers & Technology > Games & Strategy Guides > Game Design #256 in Books > Textbooks > Computer Science > Object-Oriented Software Design #501 in Books > Computers & Technology > Hardware & DIY > Personal Computers
Most of the game-writing books you find will cover a little bit of everything Ã¢Â* some Windows programming, some C++ (or Java), some basic graphics knowledge, and a little bit about how to put it all together. My main complaints about those sorts of books is that much of it is not specific to games.This book covers a different set of topics. It isn't about the programming aspect, but about the entire development process. There are three sections:A. Game Design. As a non-professional game programmer, I found this section to be the most interesting. It covers things like game balance, skill levels, and making the parts of a game fit together nicely.B. Project Management. This section covers aspects of game development that hobbyists will find overkill, but that professionals will want to read. It includes both history and prescriptions for managing a project. Some of it seems to be excessively specific, like descriptions of exactly how teams "should" be structured, why you should not allow inflatable furniture at the office, and what signs you should look for to identify "problem" developers.C. Architecture. This section is a mix of stories about existing games and techniques to use when writing game code. It covers things like class hierarchies, state machines, game engines, design patterns, commenting style, whether you should use "goto", and other coding issues.The first section was great. I think most game developers (both hobbyist and professional) would find it interesting. I did not find the second section interesting, probably because I'm not involved in the industry.
In a nutshell, everyone in the games industry should read this book! It doesn't matter if you're a designer, programmer, artist or producer, a beginner or a veteran - if you don't find something in the book that justifies the asking price and time invested then either a) you're too stubborn to learn or b) why haven't you written your own book yet?OK, that's the good bit, and it's broad, so for the rest of the review I'll concentrate on the weaknesses that make it not quite perfect.Firstly, the name of the book is rather misleading. Whilst the book does contain some good advice on game architecture and game design, it is actually not what the majority of the book is about. A quick glance at the table of contents shows that there is a major section on project management, and actually that's what the majority of the architecture and design sections focus on to. Whilst there is some specific advice on techniques, algorithms or whatnot to add to your game, the main focus throughout is on developing an effective *process*. It's basically a manifesto for making better games. That's what makes the book so strong... the games industry is full of people with great ideas for games, and great programming skill etc, but as a rule we have the management skill of a dead slug. This book seeks to address that problem. Even if you're not at management level, the advice and ideas in the book will be very useful to you in your self-management, and hopefully will help you to streamline your team.That said, sometimes the ideas will be useful by giving you better ideas when you disagree with them.
I began reading this book expecting to learn something about game programming and architecture but what I came out with was less about programming and specific technical advice (though there was some of that) and more about the process of creating games, including how someone might attempt to manage a game development project. Even though my expectations were not met I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. The book was very well written and thorough in many ways (e.g., project management, "what is a game?") and weak in others (e.g., programming tricks, guidelines).The first half of the book was dedicated to the process of creating games. The project management side of game creation. There are plenty of books about gaming programming with API X with Language Y. In my opinion these books are frequently unfulfilling because they concentrate on tiny details (such as a specific method in DirectX). Things you should be able to glean from help documentation such as the MSDN or user forums. They rarely show the larger picture. Game Architecture and Design introduced me to a side of game development I had never considered and this was easily the most interesting and well thought out portion of the book. I've often thought about what kind of game I would like to create but I never asked myself: What is a game? What makes a game fun? How do I design a game specification document? What sort of project management pitfalls might I come across and how can I void them? This book constantly asks these sorts of questions. Interestingly, while reading through this section I found myself asking the same questions when playing through some professional big budget games and found that even the professionals could have used this book to improve their games.