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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.
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on 15 July 2000
If you enjoyed and agreed with the books by Steve McConnell, where good sound principles of software engineering and development are advocated over the typical hack and fix mentality so prevalent in the software industry as a whole and especially indulged in by game developers, you will enjoy this book.
If you are a game developer (as I am) or trying to become one, do yourselves and your colleagues a favour, buy and read this book and more importantly apply the principles it gives. I fail to understand how any developer can reject the reasoned arguments and practical advice put forward, unless of course you are one of the prim-dona or maverick developers portrayed in the book, believing it is your god given right because you have spent long hours alone learning C++ inside out and the latest 3D graphic techniques to work exactly as you please. In which case I recommend a long unsuccessful career as a one man developer.
Just because you are working to a well thought out design where the code subsystems are planned in advance and are discouraged from hacking up some great new special effect you've suddenly got the urge for, does not mean that your creativity has been replaced in the name of discipline. As Steve McConnell says in his book, After The Gold Rush, "We've all seen ugly buildings in which artistic considerations lost the battle with engineering economy, or in which aesthetics appear not to have been considered at all. Engineering without art can be ugly, but art without engineering may be impossible. Engineering does not constrain artistic possibilities. The lack of engineering constrains artistic possibilities."
In short this work is a must have if you have any aspirations at all of rising out of the game development pit of mediocrity and calling yourself a proffesional.
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on 10 January 2001
If you wanna got a clear idea about all areas involved on designing a real game, here you'll find everything you need. Don't miss the advices about every process steps.
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on 4 January 2011
This book is well written and provides many useful insights into game design, but few into real game architecture. The authors briefly discuss object oriented design techniques but only really address a few Group of Four patterns and how they can be applied to game development. They do not address any real architecture like how to structure scene drawing, optimisations like culling, or memory management. Most of the problems with this book merely stem from its age, as it was published around 2003 and the software world (and game world) have developed a lot since then.
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on 17 January 2000
This book details the life cycle of games development with accurancy, but more than that it helps anyone who needs to deal with developing new applications in fast changing environments. Much of this book applies to me as a mainstream Java developer as well as a part-time computer game designer and I feel the authors have , without watering down any section, appealed to a wide audience. Get this book if you want to know more about professional process, architecture or design of games or any kind of technology whose hardware and software change every month.
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on 28 February 2000
This book is a must for anyone interested in the games industry, be it as a hobby or as thier job. I work in the games industry myself, as a Designer, and this book has helped me tighten up my design a lot, and help other members of the team. Infact, I recommeneded they each get thier own copies. It covers the whole cycle of your games development, from creating your design doc, to packaging and patching. It also shows you case studies with many of the pitfals to avoid. If you work in the industry, and you don't have this book..your mad.
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