Design: The Art & Business Of Creating Games
Publisher: Prima Tech (Now Premier
- RRP US$29.99
Reviewed: 28th May 2002
design in the more technical sense is one area in
game development that really seems to be
overlooked by some people/teams. You could go as
far as saying that many of the rubbish titles
released could have been drastically improved if
the team had spent a little bit more time on the
conceptual side of development.
many smaller teams and solo developers don't often
bother with a full-blown design document; instead
they just play it by sight and sound - hoping they
get it right as they go along. I'll be the first
to admit that several of my previous games have
started from a few scribbled notes on a single
piece of A4 paper, and more than enough of them
were eventually cancelled due to the code becoming
a complete mess because of no fixed plan/feature
I think it should be made compulsory that all
serious game developers do some research into how
to design their games, and then actually put this
into practice. To my knowledge, this is only the
second book to cover the topic - with the first by
Rollings and Morris, reviewed here.
and to the Point
is not a big book, nor does it need to be.
Weighing in at 300 pages, 5 parts and 14 chapters
there is more than enough meat in here.
book is generally designed to follow the progress
of a game - from absolutely nothing through to
selling 10 million copies (well, maybe not quite
that many!). Each of the five parts focuses on one
stage of the game development cycle:
Design - putting the initial design together
2. Teams - who and how to manage your team
3. Development - managing the technical
aspects and actually completing the game
4. The Business - publishing and promoting
5. Conclusion - summing everything up
Talkin' To Me?
book, unlike the majority of the others in the
series, isn't directly aimed at the programmers.
This book is of most benefit to those who want to
design, manage and/or produce the game - and have
other members of the team do most of the technical
said that, it would still be a good book to read
no-matter what your position in the team is, and
if you are the top-dog then it would
probably be worth making the rest of the team read
it! It is far easier to become an expert at your
particular field and pay very little attention to
how others ply their trade than to be an expert at
your own subject and appreciate how the whole
system works together.
The book is
essentially bite-sized, often presenting an idea
or ideas and then applying them to different
genre'; or vice versa. The majority of the tips
and comments in this book are fairly common sense
- I'm sure anyone intelligent enough to make it
onto a game development team would be able to come
up with a list of similar points. However, it is
very refreshing and very useful to have it all in
one place - in one handy little resource.
this book I found myself almost nodding with
agreement at many of the arguments raised. There
is quite a lengthy part on puzzles/challenges -
what to use, how to use it and more importantly
what NOT to use in order to entertain a player.
Having made more than enough simple desktop
puzzles over the years I now realize the number of
foolish puzzles and challenges I've used in the
past. Yet at the same time, I'm still nodding at
the plain-common-sense behind it all - and hence
kicking myself for not just using my head when
writing these games!!
I mentioned at the beginning of this review,
Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris wrote another very
similar book entitled Game Architecture and
Design (Coriolis). This book is both bigger
and in more depth than the one reviewed here.
Rollings and Morris's book takes a much more
text-book/academic approach to the subject, and
isn't quite as readable. However, it is probably
the better text simply due to it's depth.
don't hold that against this book. As I said, Game
Architecture and Design is written much more
formally and is therefore not as entertaining a
read as Game Design: The Art & Business of
creating games is. Also, as far as bite-size, to
the point content this book wins hands down.
only real advantage that Game Architecture and
Design clearly has is it's use of case studies -
even if not all of them were "real-life"
studies. They're use of case studies to illustrate
points was very effective. This book does not
explicitly use case studies in the same way, there
are still contextual examples - but just not to
the same degree.
conclusion this is still a book worth having, even
if Game Architecture and Design does have
several advantages over this one. One point I
didn't mention earlier was that this is part of
the "Prima Tech's Game Development
Series" (only visual difference is a few
different logo's and headers); whilst the newly
formed "premier press" which now handles
this series seem to be continuing the series just
the same, it may well be that these older books
are the first to go out of print. If you're
contemplating buying this book, it may well be
worth getting it sooner rather than later...
Well written, too the point
Game Architecture and Design may well be
the better book for some
Not much use if you already own Game
Architecture and Design
A more enjoyable read than Game
Architecture and Design
Published on the older
"Prima-Tech" label, so may not
be around for much longer
Works well as a resource
Author definitely has plenty of experience
in the industry
Reasonably Priced for what it is (cheaper
than Game Architecture and Design)