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Game Architecture and Design: A New Edition [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Andrew Rollings , Dave Morris

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Kurzbeschreibung

24. Oktober 2003 NRG - Programming
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.

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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.

Synopsis

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.

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Amazon.com: 3.7 von 5 Sternen  13 Rezensionen
24 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A good book if you want to go into the industry 23. November 2003
Von Amit Patel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
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. Parts of the third section were good, but at some point it descended into 40 pages addressing little things like the use of braces in C++ code, using goto, why you should comment your code, and so on. That's the kind of thing that's already covered by software engineering texts, and doesn't change just because you're writing games.
Overall, I liked this book because it tackles the important issues in game development. However, I found that parts of it just weren't interesting, because I had read about those topics in books unrelated to game development.
29 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Everyone in the games industry: read this book 12. Juni 2004
Von The 14 Amazons - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
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. The book preaches a method called the "software factory", which does have many merits and probably is a very efficient way to make solid games - but I doubt it could ever lead to an exceptional one.
Although it occasionally denies the fact, the book does seem to promote a notion that is very common to people outside the industry, and occasionally present and harmful within it - that of a solitary game designer heroically bringing his unique vision and genius to life, either with the aid of a team of artists and programmers eager to lap up his sage advice or (more commonly, one expects) struggling against the team that fails to appreciate his special skills. The book may give the wannabe game designer the idea that he will be responsible for creating the story, characters, game mechanics, level features, art direction and even code architecture for his project, leaving the rest of the team to fill in the details. Well, maybe there's a dozen people in the world capable of filling all those roles on a modern game project - and at most that many development teams willing to work with them.
The book states at one point that "the future belongs to the visionary, the dreamer". Not in the games industry it doesn't - it belongs to those designers with the technical skill and knowledge to turn a vision or a dream into a solid, consistent and satisfying set of game mechanics and level designs. Contrary to popular belief, good ideas are extremely common, and can come from any member of a development team. The skills to take those ideas and turn them into a real fully fleshed out system that results in player satisfaction are much rarer, and much more direly needed. BUT, this book does give any game developer a better chance of developing those skills, I think. However, I think the creation of a modern AAA title needs to be a much more collaborative process, drawing on the creativity and passion of the whole team, not just a few individuals on it. If nothing else, the team will produce much better work if they're involved on the creative level.
Back to the problems with the book - organisation is another. The book is grouped into 3 sections - design, production and architecture. Logically, the order should be design, architecture, production, and the book would read a lot better for it (and a bunch of production-related ideas that end up in the architecture section could be put in the appropriate place).
Lastly, although the book claims it is "not a programming book", it spends an inordinate amount of time on issues like bracing styles and commenting conventions. This information is very specific to programmers, unlike the rest of the book, and does not really belong here will it will doubtless make non-programmers stop reading. Furthermore, the issues and information are covered better in a myriad of other books, so the authors would have been better to simply refer the reader to one of those.
Another comment, though this book suffers less from it than most books written on games - the authors often seem to think of pc games as the only games, and the "real time strategy" types of games are the most frequently used as an example. It seems to be that programmers on these types of projects are the most likely to write about it, as a huge amount of the literature on games seems to have this bias that is unfortunately not reflective of the real distribution of the games on the store shelves. It hurts this book less than some others though.
OK, so there are some flaws with the structure and some of the advice needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, but hopefully those will be fixed in the next edition - and even with the warts, the book is a very readable source of invaluable ideas, written by people that clearly have battle-won experience in development. As such, unless you've just shipped your 10th million seller and have nothing left to learn, I guarantee that it is worth your time to read this book. Your next game will be better for it.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Not what I expected but certainly worth the effort. 27. August 2007
Von Ryan Taylor - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
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.

The latter half of the book touched upon the actual game architecture. I found this part rather weak. Though it promotes the idea of abstraction, modules and flexibility these are not new concepts to software development in general and are covered in better details in books dedicated to software design patterns, techniques and technologies. Some of the suggestions are more suited to company policy such as variable naming guidelines, commenting etc. That's not to say that these things aren't important (I personally try to adhere to a particular style), but I'm not convinced these sorts of opinion driven items will fit everyone's coding style.

Overall I found the book incredibly engaging, especially the first half of the book. I've always thought about game development in terms of classes, variables, source control etc and I never questioned what happens before coding begins. I would highly recommend this book to any budding game developer in so far as understanding the entire game development process, from inception to documentation to creation. Though not the Rosetta stone for game developers it is an excellent resources for beginners and experienced developers alike.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen pretty worthless for design 12. Juli 2010
Von Tony V - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I bought this book 7 years ago when I was trying to get into the industry. I'm a game designer now with six years of experience and I can tell you, this book really had very little to offer. Only part of the book covers actual game design and it doesn't go into much depth; I don't remember reading anything I didn't already know. Game design is a combination of creativity, user psychology and fundamental mechanics but this book seems to treat it almost as if it were a branch of programming that an engineer could pick up with a little extra study. If you want to understand games, study them -dissect what makes some fun and others not. If you want a book that gives an interesting perspective into game design, get Rules of Play.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting Insight into the Game Industry 17. März 2005
Von Brian Borman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I found this book to be very interesting in designing a game from start to finish. However, finished in this case means the design document. The book sparcely covers the technical and programming aspects of game design and instead considers designing the game completely on paper.

It covers various topics including concept, character creation, play balance, and working with the programming team. The examples included are simple rock-paper-scissor rules with other interesting variations. It covers how to document object attributes and the game effects they have. By following the book the new developer should realize the author's ideal development environment, where the developer(s) make a design document that is sufficient for the programmers to code without requiring constant attention from the designer(s), and thus freeing designer(s) to work on a new game (with a new programming team) while the current one is programmed. This approach is explained more fully in a rather lenghty section near the end of the book. Additionally, the author comments on the industry's currently development model, and compares it to his model.

There appear to be several flaws with the book. For example, the author favors first-person perspective shooters as the most interactive type of game and therefore the most fun. The emphasis placed on interactivity seems to be mostly in the form of different ways of doing the same task (i.e. shooting different guns, etc.). To me this seemed to be adding features that did not radically affect gameplay, something the author warns not to do. Also, it is mostly written in the form of experience and ideas applied to real world examples and not general game theory. While general game theory is not completely neccessary, serious developers should learn general game theory and not just a few working examples, if they want to innovate and not derivate.

Overall, this book succeeds in its goal to provide a beginner with a basic idea of game development and does it without complicated theory and math.
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