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Game Development and Production (Wordware Game Developer's Library) Paperback – January 25, 2003

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Erik Bethke is the CEO of Taldren, where he holds the position of executive producer and lead designer on Taldren’s Starfleet Command series published by Interplay and Activision, as well as the upcoming title Black9 published by Majesco. Bethke has held a variety of positions in the game industry including senior group producer at Interplay. He has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and has worked in the Space Sciences division at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Product Details

  • Series: Wordware Game Developer's Library
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wordware Publishing, Inc.; First Printing CD Included edition (January 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556229518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556229510
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Fristrom on April 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Eric Bethke gives us the actual battle-tested techniques his team uses to develop games. Most of his wisdom I completely agree with, and he makes some points that had not occurred to me that I will have to think long and hard about. His central, recurring "less is more" thesis is persuasively argued. He has confirmed my suspicion that we may have to rethink our plan for the current game we're working on. I recommend everybody in game development read this book and take it either as a springboard for developing their own methodology or as a sounding board on the quality of their methodology, if one is already in place.
So why only four stars? I have the feeling that Erik isn't being completely honest with us. On my team chaos is the norm even though we scored an AA on Erik's "Game Project Survival Test." Erik makes his team sound like a smoothly running factory, and I have trouble believing it's due to those extra ten points his team is getting on the test. Give it up, Erik: either admit that business is chaos and let us reconcile ourselves to that cold truth, or tell us the deep dark secrets that makes your team work so well.
Also, stuff is missing here: how do you hire great talent? How do you prevent your team from breaking the build on a regular basis without slowing them to a crawl? (That's the question that has been keeping me up nights.) How can you be productive if you're waiting until alpha to fix all your bugs? I bet Erik has some insight into these questions, but he didn't get it on the page.
Still, don't let my nitpicking stop you from reading this book. I'm going to try to make everyone on my team read it. And I'll be eagerly awaiting a sequel.
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Format: Paperback
This book provides an excellent resource from a veteran game developer. Have a game idea and wonder what it'll take to bring it to life? Running a small game dev startup and want the honest truth about what will make or break your project? Already in the field and want to know more about the process of bringing a game from concept to completion? I would highly recommend this book.
GD&P serves as a guidebook to game development, covering all aspects of the design and development process. Here you will find an overview of essentially every job type in the industry, and a detailed look at the jobs more prominent in the development process.
Bethke's text is also adorned with sage advice on some basic principles of designing a successful game, as well as some advice for the industry as a whole. This brings some excitement to a book that, while informative, would be little more than an instruction manual for the game biz. His writing style kept me interested from start to finish.
Buy this book for the opening chapters alone. They are filled with straightforward advice on how to design a successful game (of any budget), but beware: the cold, hard truth may have you thinking twice about your chances of making the next Quake killer on your own in the next two months. GD&P is decorated with the battle scars of a tough industry and pulls no punches in its presentation of success & failure. That said, the text is overall very positive and you will find yourself, as I did, wanting to put the book down just to rush off and start working on the various design documents outlined herein.
Buy this book if you want to start making games, and not just play them.
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Format: Paperback
Erik Bethke, CEO and co-founder of Taldren, has written a book about the design and development of a game. According to Erik and others, this is one of the first, if not the only book that discusses the over-all design, planning and production of a game. I am sure you can find many other books that deal with specific parts of game programming, like using Lightwave, but this is the first one that talks about the actual business and production part.
In his book, Erik talks about many different elements of the business. One of which is the question of should you or should you not make a game. Do you really want to go to the hassle of finding funding, developing the game and then trying to find a way to get it to the market? If you decide you want to, then he gives examples of the different steps to making a game and what they require. An example of this is his lengthy discussion of the planning and design aspects and how the more in depth and specific your planning is, the better the chances will be that your game will turn out well. One topic that is threaded throughout the book is different management techniques that are used at Taldren. An example of this is how he gets people motivated and focused on the different tasks that are necessary for proper completion of the game.
There were a number of areas that really stood out to me personally. There are a lot of topics that I have studied in my college career that Erik covers in this book. One example is how Erik discusses that in every project, there are three main areas or constraints that need to be considered: Time, Scope and Performance. A project leader is good to achieve one of these constraints and very fortunate if they achieve two.
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