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Game Architecture and Design: A New Edition 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0735713635
ISBN-10: 0735713634
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Game writers have a hard lot. In order to compete, they're expected to write fantastic works of art and action that feature spectacular visual and physical effects, and which can render those effects with great speed. If they don't write for the latest hardware (which is often barely stable), the designers end up with something that looks antiquated. In the end, as well, there is the target market: Mostly males between the ages of 15 and 30, who have sharpened their volatility of taste to a fine edge. Game Architecture and Design is a protracted meditation on what makes a game (and a game development company, and a game developer) good.

This is not a programming book; it is a design book. Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris do talk about game architecture, and pick apart some top games with state diagrams and sketches of class hierarchies, but that sort of content is in the minority. Mostly, the authors provide informed opinions about bigger engineering decisions, such as the question of whether to use Microsoft DirectX or OpenGL, or how to spread processor cycles across artificial intelligence and rendering operations. They make frequent reference to successful (and failed) games, explaining why each might have worked out as it did. --David Wall

Topics covered: How to write good games, and other entertainment software. Overall, emphasis is on developing an idea into a product, with long and carefully considered digressions into architectural decisions (such as gameplay and visual effects), implementation choices (languages, libraries, and algorithms), and team management.

From the Back Cover

Game Architecture and Design: A New Edition is a revision of the classic that you have been waiting for! This is a detailed guide to game design and planning from first concept to the start of development, including case studies of well known games. Originally published in 1999, Game Architecture and Design, has been updated by the original authors Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris. They tap back into what they teach so well and update this classic with skills and techniques found in the industry today. With more than just re-usable code, it's a comprehensive study that deals specifically with the issues of game design, team building and management, and game architecture. Through the use of real-world experiences and case studies, Andrew and Dave share it all. They show you what's worked and why as well as what to avoid and how to fix any errors. This intelligent and well-argued book is a glimpse into the often-disordered world of game development. Readers will gain solid advice and know-how that can bring some order to the often-chaotic world found in game development.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (November 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735713634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735713635
  • 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)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most of the game-writing books you find will cover a little bit of everything 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.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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1 Comment 30 of 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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