Whether you’re a game developer or in the gaming industry, there is some essential literature you have to get your hands on if you’re interested in game development. While the online world offers countless online courses, masterclasses, and tutorial videos, these books are essential companions to get a deeper understanding of the magical process of video game creation.
We compiled a short list of the fundamental books every game developer and passionate gamer should indulge in. Whether it is for you or someone you love, any of these books would make a great investment or equally fantastic holiday gift.
The Gamer’s Brain by Celia Hodent
Written by Celia Hodent, a UX expert with a PhD in psychology who has been working in the entertainment industry for over 10 years — including at prominent companies such as Epic Games (Fortnite), Ubisoft, and LucasArts — this books revolves around the importance of User Experience for the success of a video game.
User Experience is about understanding the gamer’s brain: human abilities and limitations to anticipate how a game will be perceived, the emotions it will elicit, how players will interact with it, and how engaging the experience will be.
Designed to equip student readers as well as professionals, this book offers useful insights about cognitive science and user experience guidelines and methodologies.
The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell
This book was written to convey one simple message: you don’t need to have technological expertise to understand the fundamentals of game design.
The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses shows how basic principles of psychology that work for card and board games are also key to making a top-quality video game.
At the heart of this book is the belief that magic happens when you can view your game from different views and perspectives, also called lenses.
This book gives readers one hundred of these lenses in the form of questions the reader has to ask themselves to make the game better. Anyone reading this book will get inspired to become a better game designer, understanding the art of how to do it.
No-Code Video Game Development by Michael Kelley
We all remember those times when not being able to program meant not being able to make video games. Today, if you can draw a flow-chart, you can become a game developer.
No-Code Video Game Development using Unity and Playmaker teaches you how to substitute flow-charts for code. This book comes with free resources such as Unity Packages, Playmaker Templates, Animations, Materials, and more. Readers will also learn game design documentation and theory, mecanim, UI, and Particle Systems, among others. By the end of the book, you will be equipped with all you need to design your own video game, all without code.
Programming Game AI By Example by Mat Buckland
This book is about the so-called bread and butter AI techniques used in the video game development industry. It leads the reader through the process of designing and programming a game while using the C ++ programming language. It covers techniques such as state- and goal-based behavior, individual and group steering behavior, inter-agent communication, team AI, search, path planning, scripting, fuzzy logic, and many more.
Foundations of Game Engine Development Volume 1: Mathematics and Volume 2: Rendering by Eric Lengyel
The first volume is a great book for anyone interested in the 3D programming world. It’s a relatively short book, but it manages to explain and cover everything in a very concise manner. The last chapter looks into Grassmann algebra, a subject not easy to find everywhere else. The second volume explores the subject of real-time rendering in modern game engines. It goes deep into color science, world structure, shaders, lighting, and visibility methods. The book also discusses advanced rendering techniques including volumetric effects, atmospheric shadowing, ambient occlusion, motion blur, and more. A special focus is placed on practical implementation, including code.
Mastering iOS Game Development by Miguel DeQuadros
In this book, readers will learn an easy and fun approach to game development, with step-by-step instructions of each block of code. The topics explored range from easy to advanced for a fast-paced and enticing ride.
This book was written for those who have already created an iOS game and want to hone their skills in. A good understanding of the basics would be helpful to make the most of it.
Readers can expect to learn how to create a complete game with advanced techniques thanks to in-depth, hands-on instructions, as well as how to multi-task and improve performance optimization in their game playing experience. It was written by Miguel DeQuadros, who boasts over a decade of experience in iOS game development using xcode. He has released over 10 games to the Apple AppStoreMaster player movement.
The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985-1993 by Jordan Mechner
Before becoming a best-selling video game franchise and a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, Prince of Persia was an Apple II computer game created and programmed by one individual, Jordan Mechner.
This one-of-a-kind book gives readers an insight into his precious journals, which span from the time he lived in his parents’ home to the fast-growing 1980s video game industry. He talks about his personal struggles that helped him conceive the story of the Prince of Persia, which later became one of people’s favorite games of all time, making its way into the homes of millions of people worldwide.