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Game Development Essentials: An Introduction Paperback – Print + CD, August 9, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1418042080 ISBN-10: 1418042080 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeannie Novak is the lead author and series editor of the widely acclaimed GAME DEVELOPMENT ESSENTIALS series (with over 15 published titles), co-author of PLAY THE GAME: THE PARENT'S GUIDE TO VIDEO GAMES, and co-author of three pioneering books on the interactive entertainment industry--including CREATING INTERNET ENTERTAINMENT. She is also co-founder of Novy Unlimited and CEO of Kaleidospace, LLC (dbaIndiespace), providing curriculum development and consulting services for corporations, educators, and creative professionals in games, music, film, education, and technology.Novak served as director of the Game Art & Design and Media Arts & Animation programs at the Art Institute Online and has taught game courses at UCLA, Art Center College of Design, DeVry University, Westwood College, ITT Technical Institute, and the Academy of Entertainment & Technology at Santa Monica College. She holds a B.A. in mass communication/business administration from UCLA and an M.A. in communication management from the Annenberg School at USC. She also serves on the Online Gameplay Committee for the Academy of Interactive Arts &Sciences and has served on the executive boards of the International Game Developers Association (Los Angeles) and Women in Games International. An accomplished composer and performer, Novak was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people in technology by MicroTimesmagazine and has been profiled by CNN, Billboard Magazine, the Sundance Channel, Daily Variety, and the Los Angeles Times.
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Product Details

  • Series: Game Development Essentials
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 2 edition (August 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1418042080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1418042080
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 8.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeannie Novak is the Lead Author & Series Editor of the widely acclaimed Game Development Essentials series (with over 15 published titles), co-author of Play the Game: The Parent's Guide to Video Games, and co-author of three pioneering books on the interactive entertainment industry -- including Creating Internet Entertainment. She is also Co-Founder of Novy Unlimited and Founder/CEO of Kaleidospace, LLC (d/b/a Indiespace, founded in 1994) -- where she provides services for corporations and creative professionals in games, music, film, education, and technology. Jeannie oversees one of the first web sites to promote and distribute interactive entertainment and a game education consulting division that focuses on curriculum development, instructional design, and professional development for higher education and secondary school.

As Online Program Director for the Game Art & Design and Media Arts & Animation programs at the Art Institute Online, Jeannie produced and designed an educational business simulation game that was built within the Second Life environment--leading a virtual team of more than 50 educators, students, and industry professionals. She has also been a game instructor and curriculum development expert at UCLA Extension, Art Center College of Design, Academy of Entertainment & Technology at Santa Monica College, DeVry University, Westwood College, and ITT Technical Institute--and she has consulted for several educational institutions and developers such as UC Berkeley Center for New Media, Alelo Tactical Language & Culture, and GameSalad. Jeannie has also worked on projects funded by the National Science Foundation and Google Grants for Lehigh Carbon Community College and the University of Southern California (USC) Information Sciences Institute.

An active member of the game industry, Jeannie has served as Vice Chair of the International Game Developers Association-Los Angeles chapter (IGDA-LA), executive team member at Women in Games International (WIGI), Game Conference Chair for ANIMIAMI, advisory board member at the Game Education Summit (GES), and session chair at SIGGRAPH. She has participated on the Online Gameplay selection committee for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' DICE awards since 2003 and has developed game workshops, panels, and breakout sessions in association with events and organizations such as the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), Game Education Summit (GES), International Game Developers Association (IGDA), GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin), Macworld Expo, Digital Hollywood, USC's Teaching Learning & Technology Conference, and the Los Angeles Games Conference. Jeannie was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people in technology by MicroTimes magazine - and she has been profiled by CNN, Billboard Magazine, Sundance Channel, Daily Variety, and the The Los Angeles Times.

Jeannie received an M.A. in Communication Management from USC's Annenberg School (where her thesis focused on using massively multiplayer online games as online distance learning applications) and a B.A. in Mass Communication/Business Administration from UCLA (where she graduated summa cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa and completed an honors thesis focusing on gender role relationships in toy commercials). A native of Southern California, Jeannie grew up in San Diego and currently resides in Santa Monica with her husband, Luis Levy. She is also an accomplished composer, recording artist, performer, and music instructor (piano/voice).

Customer Reviews

This book is as good an introduction to the game development process as I have come across.
Amazon Customer
I'm used to reading technical books on programming and even I found this format to be useful and it fit well with the subject.
Scott Shell
I would recommend Ms. Novak's book to anyone who wants to learn the basics of the game development process.
Game Designer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Estefano Palacios Topic on December 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, who is this book for?

When I first bought this book I thought I was in for a mind breaking tutorial or insight into game development, and considering all the great reviews, I think these expectations were completely normal. Reality is: the book will only teach you very, very essential stuff. So, if you already have any sort of experience in game development, or you have been a hardcore gamer looking to become a game developer, you probably know this stuff already. This book is great for teenagers who would love to become game developers or professionals in other areas looking to cross over. Still, if you are knowledgeable in gaming or game development, you may want to buy this book for formalize your knowledge into comprehensible data sets in your mind (this is how this book has served me the most), for the writing is clear, easily digestible, and the presentation of the whole deal is beautifully done.

What does this book talk about?

A lot of things! And this is one of the very best features of the book: it will guide you to every detail of game development, even if offers very little information on some topics, so you won't stay completely ignorant with this book. It talks about: the target market, history of games, gameplay, storytelling, characters, marketing, development process, the development team, etc... By the end of this book you will feel good about your understanding of games, even if it is at a small extend, because now you fell that you have your feet on the ground. This is another great feature: it never talks about game development as something easy.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Alan Emrich on December 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I teach Survey of the Game Industry, Game Design & Game Play, and Project Management at the Art Institute of California: Orange County. Being a frugal person myself, I have not required my students purchase a textbook for any of my classes until now. Ms. Novak's book has become the single source of required reading for ALL 3 of my classes. Breezy, intelligent, and designed from the first sentence as an instructional tool, you will learn a great deal about the game industry from it. I could not possibly recommend this book any higher than to commit my classes to it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is as good an introduction to the game development process as I have come across. Incredibly current, peppered with wonderful interviews and comments from major professionals in the field. I especially like the CD-ROM which includes a wealth of demos and development tools.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Game Designer on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm a professional game designer with 7 years experience and found Ms. Novak's book to be a great introduction to the process of game development. It is well-organized and covers a wealth of relevant topics. The lucid writing and full color screenshots make it easy to read.

Unlike many other introductory books, Ms. Novak's text does not mislead the reader into thinking that becoming a game developer is an easy path, where a great idea and good pitch can allow you to create your dream game. It is a responsible and accessible text that anyone interested in game development would find helpful and insightful. Obviously, as an introductory text, its content is not particularly useful to industry professionals, though I found the profiles and the section on history to be enjoyable.

I don't understand Mark Baldwin's objection to the profiles, because I feel that they provide insight to the industry that is immensely valuable to those new to the field. Ranging from industry greats, such as Louis Castle and Richard Garriot, to current students, a wide variety of perspectives and thoughts are presented. As an aside, I can understand some of Mr. Baldwin's comments from an academic perspective, but from a practical point of view, I must disagree with his harsh appraisal.

I would recommend Ms. Novak's book to anyone who wants to learn the basics of the game development process.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Hensley on July 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Game Development Essentials: An Introduction" really is just that, an introduction to the other books in the series. If you want a general outlook on multiple angles of game development and the multiple occupations associated with it, as well as how they interact, then this is a good book for you.

The book is divided into 12 chapters in three main sections:

Part 1: Setup, Building the Foundation
Part 2: Scenarios, Creating Compelling Content
Part 3: Strategy, Team, Process, and Community

Part 1 covers the basic history of gaming as well as player and game elements that a game developer needs to plan for, such as demographics and basic design. Part 2 covers creating scenarios. This includes character types, narration choices, interface options, gameplay decisions and the like. Part 3 covers creating a basic plan, pulling together resources, and marketing a game.

Interspersed throughout the book are blurbs from various mavens in the gaming industry. Most of them have interesting perspectives and short stories about what the prospective game developer will experience or will have to face during the process, depending on what facet of the game he or she chooses to participate in.

The conclusion has more of those same blurbs; I found this section to be almost inspirational.

I thought at times the book seemed to take itself too seriously. Granted, it is a textbook, but there are sections that seem a little high-handed and some that seemed just plain inaccurate. Most of these I feel related primarily to aspects of PC gaming. As it is an introduction, most of the sections did not go into much detail. At times I felt like I was reading an advertisement for the rest of the series.
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