Game Interactivity Theory
Publisher: Charles River Media
- RRP US$49.95
Reviewed: 11th January 2003
games are big business currently, and they are
only expected to get bigger. At the time of
writing, games like Star Wars: Galaxies have
entered testing - receiving huge interest from
potential testers. Online frag-fests Quake and
Unreal have been popular for years, Unreal
Tournament seems to be heading for a yearly update
- the market must be there.
in tune with other books in the Advances In
Computer Graphics And Game Development series
we have one of the first books dedicated solely to
the design and theory of these types of games.
book is, as the titles suggests, theory. It is not
about programming - there are no code listings for
DirectPlay or WinSock. You can hope to learn
fundamental lessons in how to design the
programming libraries, but you're not going to
learn the actual source code that does the job.
is quite interesting as, to my knowledge, no books
are currently in print that handle the practical
side of this subject, and this is the first book
to handle the theory. From my own limited
experience of programming multiplayer games it is
often the design that is by far the hardest part.
a solid design for the online communication
engine, and getting your game to correctly use it
is paramount - but it is more about understanding
the issues and theory than actually rushing out
pages of DirectPlay9 source code.
all the bases
book is nicely divided (in the 2nd part) up to
cover the major interactivity types -
player:player, player:game, player:computer... It
also covers the other necessary theory - tools and
the development process. These are done well - it
is useful to have it written-in-stone (so to
speak) the alpha/beta/release cycle.
also neatly covers the pure theory behind why
humans play games in the "anthropology and
playology" section. On face value, it's
something you're more likely to see in a
psychology/philosophy text book. It's not really a
necessary topic, but it does provide an
interesting extra-level to the theory presented in
only area that is a bit thin on the ground is that
of transmission security, stopping cheats and
maintaining a safe community/environment for
honest & decent players. It's a potentially
huge topic - one that could easily benefit from
more attention; named examples and some usable
strategies should have been discussed here.
Instead we get more of an explanation of what
can/does happen and not so much information about
what we can do about it.
of the best features of this book is the inclusion
of examples. In the tools section there are
several recognizable illustrations of recent
popular games. These are also referenced in the
actual text. It's amazing how much clearer a book
on theory can become if you can relate the text to
a real-world experience.
other tie-in here is the brilliant 5th section of
the book: interviews and opinions. You can think
of it as being the place (after the author has had
his say) where he invites other prominent figures
to offer their views and experiences on the
subject. It completely opens up the floor to the
theory of not just one, but many individuals.
is an interesting book partly because it is the
first of it's kind, and partly because it's a very
well thought out and very well executed text. Not
only does it go a little further with the
fundamental theory, it opens up the floor to let
other experience developers have their say on the
matter. I strongly recommend this book to anyone
who wants a more solid foundation in designing a
multiplayer game, It may be the first of it's
kind, but I don't think it'll be beaten for quite
First book to do this subject justice
Security is not covered brilliantly
Wide ranging theories discussed, from the
basics up to the more complex.
Case studies could be used better in some
Very clear about it will/wont teach.
Well organized and put together