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Game Engine Architecture 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1568814131
ISBN-10: 1568814135
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Editorial Reviews


A 2010 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
This course resource provides an excellent, comprehensive look at every major system and issue related to modern game development … a must-have textbook for computer science, software engineering, or game programming majors, amateur hobbyists, game 'modders,' and game developers.
―A. Chen, CHOICE, January 2010

… it looks like most of the critical areas and concepts are touched on. … it looks like you’ll have some reasonably deep understanding of the elements that go into making a game engine. Quite an impressive work, and I know of nothing else in this area that is so detailed. 
―Eric Haines, www.realtimerendering.com/blog/, July 2009

Jason Gregory draws upon his many years of experience and expertise to create a complete and comprehensive textbook on the theory and practice of game engine software development. Informed and informative, replete with examples for every aspect of the game development process, and fully accessible to aspiring game engine developers as well as a very useful reference for even experienced technicians in the field, Game Engine Architecture is an invaluable, thoroughly 'user friendly', and highly recommended core addition to personal, professional, and academic Computer Science reference and resource collections in general, as well as gaming engine design instructional reading lists in particular. 
The Midwest Book Review, September 2009

The book contains a huge amount of data on specifics to consider when developing a game engine.
―Gamasutra.com, November 2009

Game Engine Architecture by Jason Gregory has been named a finalist for the Game Developer's 2009 Front Line Award.
―PR Newswire, December 2009

About the Author

Jason Gregory has worked as a software engineer in the games industry since March 1999 and as a professional software engineer since 1994. He got his start in game programming at Midway Home Entertainment in San Diego. He also wrote the Playstation 2/Xbox animation system for Freaky Flyers and Crank the Weasel. In 2003, Jason moved to Electronic Arts Los Angeles, where he worked on engine and game play technology for Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault and served as a lead engineer on the Medal of Honor: Airborne project. Jason is currently a Lead Programmer at Naughty Dog Inc., where he is currently working on The Last of Us. He also developed engine and gameplay software for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, and has taught courses in game technology at the University of Southern California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568814135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568814131
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.7 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #658,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Standish on August 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Jason Gregory's book offers a 10,000-foot view of game engine architecture, covering every system found in modern game engines, and detailing how those systems interact. It details the subjects at a level easily understood by anyone with a modest level of programming experience -- even non-programmers can gain a solid understanding of engine design from the book. This would make a great first book for anyone interested in programming game engines, either as a hobby or a future career.

However, it is important to clarify the limits of the book. I do not consider this to be a programming book, since it does not present the material at a sufficiently low-level that would permit an inexperienced programmer to implement a game engine from the ground-up. It describes how the algorithms work in enough detail that you can understand the idea, but does not present complete code examples that would demonstrate exactly how the algorithms would be implemented. There are occasional code snippets, and brief examples from engines like Ogre, Unreal, and idtech. But most of the content is entirely prose.

Experienced programmers/game devs have the coding background to implement many of the designs described in the book from the level at which they are presented. But neophyte programmers will not find enough details in this book to implement a full game engine on their own. However, no one book could do an adequate job of detailing how to implement an entire game engine: learning to program a game engine from the ground-up requires a very large stack of books (especially for physics and AI). So it would be unfair to fault this book for what it is not.
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As the other reviewer said, this is a very solid, good book. Dare I say refreshingly good. I also echo the previous reviewer's sentiment about the tone that the author takes when speaking to the reader. Some people enjoy comical books but I am not one of them. I read books for information, if I want to laugh I'll open xkcd.

Where this book really fills a void is that it assumes you have some experience and maturity under your belt as a programmer / engineer. This is good because it allows us to get down to the meat without hesitation and begin discussing more serious things. What this book is NOT is a book on how to implement a game engine. What it IS is a book on what's in a game engine and common problems and pattern that occur in game engine development. A toolbox of game engine development, if you will. For each chapter / topic, the author devotes some time to explaining the role of this aspect of a game engine and then quickly proceeds to breaking the component down into smaller pieces, discussing common issues, algorithms, and patterns that arise for said system. For example, when discussing memory usage there is a great discussion of a variety of different memory allocators that can be useful in various situations. Almost always the author supplements these discussions with real-world examples of where such a data structure, algorithm, or method was used in an actual game and why.

Another aspect of this book that I really really appreciated was the inclusion of references directly in the text. Since, after all, the book is light on implementation details often the author would conclude a section by saying "So and so has an excellent paper discussing this topic in more detail at .
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Jason has years of practical experience in the gamedev (Midway, EA, ND) and it really shows. There are too many books out there written by people who have never shipped anything bigger. This is not the case. When he writes how to do/don't something, he usually backs it up with a real-world scenario. Game engines are vast topic and it's impossible to cover everything in detail, so obviously it's a collection of general information, rather than a very in-depth analysis.
It's truly invaluable for juniors and hobbyists, because it's an unique position describing how professional engines work. It may be less useful for senior developers as they probably won't learn that much. Still, it's rare to be an expert in every area, so it's safe to assume everyone will find a chapter with new information as well. Big parts that are missing are networking and audio, both huge topics, but I feel like they deserve at least few pages.
To conclude: if you're a junior/amateur programmer or student - get it now. It should also be an obligatory buy for every company's library. If you're senior developer who'd like to broaden his view a little bit and see how it's done at other places - it's worth buying as well. It won't make you an expert, but it's a good start and gives at least a rough idea how other engine systems work.
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I have a fairly vast collection of Programming (and Computer Science) related books in my book case. Many of these I have used as a reference, as I just don't have the mental strength and persistence to read through in great detail. Game Engine architecture however, is written in a friendly conversational style, which is so very easy to follow and I have found myself on multiple occasions saying to myself "Just one more section". The authors descriptions are excellent, and he has managed to explain things that I have heard multiple times, and only finally truly understood now.

This book doesn't really seem to fit the bill of "Game Engine Architecture", and should probably be called something like "Foundations of Game Engines". The book gives only an introductory chapter on the actual architectural (from a CS point of view) side of the engine. Instead it focuses on all the issues that are necessary knowledge for creating a game (and in many cases any performance restricted software), from the very bottom up.

The author covers a great many topics, which leaves some short of details, but in these cases the author always provides great references to both books and online material for more in depth discussion. The online sources are a bit of an issue, as they may not be available. I found one instance where the source provided no longer existed.

This book is VERY C++ centric. I would definitely suggest (as does the author) that you learn C++ before tackling this book (I suggest Accelerated C++ or C++ Primer Plus). It'd still be a good resource for someone interested in Game programming, but you will get 5 times as much out of the book with a solid C++ grounding underneath your belt.

Despite the few issues with the book, I cannot give it any less than 5 stars, it was just that good of a read for me.
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