Calling all teachers/instructors/professors; you need this
While certainly not technical as a programmer’s guide to game development, or Jones & Bartlett Learning’s other book about game engines (Steven McGehee will be getting that online shortly), this book covers every gambit of the gaming industry. It breaks it down to simple terms that will help anyone wanting to find out more about certain jobs in the industry. If you’re interested in becoming a producer or an executive producer the book breaks it all down for you. It specifically outlines what type of jobs make up the video game industry and even explains, through different industry leaders/analysts what it means to be a part of the ever growing video game world.
What’s even more impressive is that the book gives you examples of production lists, quality control checklists and case studies. This book really wants you to understand on a basic level what you need to do and what is expected of you when you enter the industry. This reminds me a lot of my early undergrad books on television as a whole. The books I read early in college gave me basic examples/samples of the television industry from producers to writers to editors to directors and so on and so forth. These basic books provided me with Nielsen book samples and how to read a Nielsen Rating. Fundamentals of Game Development does the exact same thing. It takes almost all the elements that make up the industry and provides an introduction to each facet. It’s quite an easy read and something that impresses me from beginning to end.
I’m not a programmer folks. I know Perl, BASIC (OYE) some Objective C, but I don’t have the tools to program a game. Guess what? I don’t aspire to be a programmer, but I’m very interested in what other jobs exist out there. More importantly, I’m very interested (especially as a reviewer) on what it takes to put a game together. Having this knowledge and seeing the steps of what it takes from beginning to end to produce a game is invaluable. This type of stuff belongs in a beginner level university classroom for gaming. You better believe that I’m going to recommend this book to my good friends at the University of Kentucky who are trying to start up a gaming initiative on campus. Yes, this book is that good.
So are there any drawbacks? Well, it depends on what you want out of the book. For me having a view of the industry at the basic level and going through the steps of game development and having an explanation of the roles inside the industry is fantastic. I want to know who the Lead QA Tester is and how they do their job. I want to know the difference between the developer and the publisher and what is at stake for each. I want industry leaders and folks to come in and give their two cents about specific steps in the game development process.
I want to know all of this and I don’t want things to get overcomplicated.
Again, this is a book made for people very interested in game development, but not sure what they want to do.
For folks that know what they want to do, this may not be the book for you. This is more of a guide and less of specific focus. It gives you great basic level details on steps you need to be involved with, but if you’re looking for specific job information then this may not be the book you need to read. That’s the only drawback, but what’s great about this drawback is that the people that know what they want should still get to know other parts of the industry; even at a basic level.
Heather and Rafael Chandler guide their readers in the right direction taking special care not to scare the crap out of the younger audiences out there that are still exploring their ‘perfect fit’ inside an ever growing industry. For freshmen and people just wanting to know what it takes, Heather and Rafael Chandler make an easy read to provide guidance.