Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
THE book on game design.
on 26 June 2000
This book is truly excellent. It doesn't focus on a specific kind of game, but covers general principles and good development practices, with some case studies to learn from previous mistakes and successes.
The first section is about game design, i.e. what will it be like to play the game. Here you can find useful information about balancing games, gameplay, the relationships between different units and developing the look and feel of the game. It also examines the systems used in existing games. It also includes some insights from influential game designers.
Then, there is a part about team management. For me, game programming is a hobby so this part wasn't very useful. Still, it contained some useful comments about the importance of planning ahead and having a good systematic approach for the development.
The third part is about game architecture. This describes techniques for creating complex game software so that it remains manageable and extensible. Some very practical insights about reuse of standard components can be found here, and several ways to make the programming easier, such as design patterns and encapsulation of complex functions. This part doesn't show you how to put a polygon on the screen or get a sound from the speaker, for that you'd need a different book. What it does show, and where many other game programming books fail, is how to take the technologies and then actually combine them into a working game.
Finally, there are design documents for some games, to illustrate the concepts used in the book by applying them to real projects.
While many game programming books are limited to a certain type of games, primarily first-person shooters, and aren't very useful when doing something different, this one contains material that will be useful to anyone making games. It doesn't matter if you're making a shooter, flightsim, strategy game or even a new genre, this book will have some useful information.
In my opinion, it's the best book on game development I've read. High-quality reading material.