The path to more wisdom

Yesterday i noticed that Andy Patrick placed a nice blog on the five books you must own if you are writing XNA games. So i’ve looked over them and found it funny to see Game Coding Complete: Second Edition on there as it was one of my first books as well. I don’t have the other ones except for the game developer magazine, but I ordered Riemer Grootjans’ book XNA Game Programming Recipes right away as it looks like a nice book giving somewhat more in depth information and not the basics. I’ll post a review ofย  it when I’ve read through it.

So next to his five books, i would propose five others of which I think should be on the shelf as well for you being a game developer.

  • The first is 3D Game Engine Design, Second Edition. This book covers all kinds of topics concerning game engine development and is very in-depth. Unfortunately, the only thing it doesn’t cover well enough is the software engineering process of game engine development.
  • The second is Design patterns : elements of reusable object-oriented software. When writing games, usually you will have to apply several design patterns. Understanding how they work and recognising them when you write games is absolutely a must. This THE book to have on design patterns.
  • The third is Object-oriented Programming in C++. When you want to learn C++ in general, this is the book to have. It thoroughly covers every aspect of the C++ language very clearly, period.
  • The fourth is actually a series of books called AI Programming Wisdom. Each of the books is a collection of articles on all kinds of AI subjects like path finding, neural networks, Bayesian networks and more. All of these articles are either written by industry professionals or academic researchers, but are mostly fairly easy to understand.
  • The fifth is Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. In my opinion every game developer should have read a book about game design. It might sound obvious, and most of it covered by the book probably is when you’ve played a lot of games, but this is also the kind of stuff you tend to forget when you are creating games.

Ludum Dare

Ludum Dare is upon us once again, as the twelfth edition is going to take place next weekend. Ludum Dare is a regular community driven game development competition. The goal is, given a theme and 48 hours, to develop a game from scratch. Ludum Dare aims to encourage game design experimentation, and provide a platform to develop and practice rapid game prototyping. I’ve not yet competed in a previous edition because of occupance and a bad theme (minimalist), but I might try competing this time. There are some really nice themes like Dimensional Shift, Lose to Win, Procedural and Misdirection.

Gabriel: Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Well he wasn’t like today’s magicians who are only interested in television ratings. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.
Stanley: What the fuck are you talking about?
Gabriel: Misdirection. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.

www.ludumdare.com for more info ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some nice blogs

I’ve added some nice blogs to links, all of them are game development related and most of them are about Microsoft XNA. Microsoft XNA is a free to use framework for aspired and professional game developers to give a head start on developing games for Windows and XBox 360. It basically came as a replacement for managed directX and thus it is .net based. Note that I’m not saying that its easy, because its not an engine. This means that you will still have to program things the same level as like frustum culling, batch rendering and up when you want to do a decent 3D game.

I use XNA at work where I’m writing an engine for use in future XBLA titles, and these blogs either have come in handy for in depth information on certain topics or are just an interesting read. Shawn Hargreaves for one is a developer on the XNA framework itself, and Catalin Zima and Benjamin Nitschke are Microsoft XNA MVP’s. Andy Patrick is a guy who used to work at Rare, but abandoned professional game development and is now using XNA to make games as a hobby. He shares some nice inside tips and tricks which are not commonly known, which is really cool. Clinton Keith’s blog is all about Agile Game Development, which to me is an interesting topic.

Blog

So I’ve created this blog like a year ago and didn’t do anything much with it, until i found out i still had this blog just this week. I’m going to try and blog some stuff here about game development, which was actually my initial idea when i created this one. I hope it is going to be useful, and i hope I’ll keep it updated regularly, which is normally the hardest part with blogging.

Next to challenges that I come across at work and education, I also am going to try to do some stuff in my spare time. I allready have got some ideas for that, of which the first idea is to create a content loader for Microsofts XNA based on fractal terrains. From there I will try to continually add new features.

When it is successful i will try and move it onto a private server to accommodate some extra idea’s I’m having (for one, I hate the fact that I can’t modify the CSS), but we shall see for now how it turns out ๐Ÿ˜‰