Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development: From Concept to Playable Game with Unity and C# Paperback – Jul 11 2014
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Praise for Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development
“Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development combines a solid grounding in evolving game design theory with a wealth of detailed examples of prototypes for digital games. Together these provide an excellent introduction to game design and development that culminates in making working games with Unity. This book will be useful for both introductory courses and as a reference for expert designers. I will be using this book in my game design classes, and it will be among those few to which I often refer.”
Professor of Practice in Game Design, Indiana University, former Creative Director at Rumble Entertainment, and General Manager at Kabam
“Prototyping and play-testing are often the most misunderstood and/or underutilized steps in the game design and development process. Iterative cycles of testing and refining are key to the early stages of making a good game. Novices will often believe that they need to know everything about a language or build every asset of the game before they can really get started. Gibson’s new book prepares readers to go ahead and dive in to the actual design and prototyping process right away; providing the basics of process and technology with excellent “starter kits” for different types of games to jumpstart their entry into the practice.”
Associate Director, RIT Center for Media, Art, Games, Interaction, and Creativity (MAGIC) and Professor, School of Interactive Games and Media
“Jeremy Gibson’s Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development deftly combines the necessary philosophical and practical concepts for anyone looking to become a Game Designer. This book will take you on a journey from high-level design theories, through game development concepts and programming foundations in order to make your own playable video games. Jeremy uses his years of experience as a professor to teach the reader how to think with vital game design mindsets so that you can create a game with all the right tools at hand. A must-read for someone who wants to dive right into making their first game and a great refresher for industry veterans.”
Senior Game Designer, Zynga
About the Author
Jeremy Gibson is a lecturer teaching computer game design for the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and is the founder of ExNinja Interactive, LLC. From 2009 to 2013, he was an Assistant Professor teaching game design and protyping for the Interactive Media and Games Division of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, which was the number one game design school in North America throughout his tenure there. Jeremy serves the IndieCade independent game festival as the Chair for Education and Advancement, where he is responsible for the IndieXchange and GameU conference tracks, and he has spoken at the Game Developers Conference every year since 2009.
Jeremy earned a Master of Entertainment Technology degree from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center in 2007 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. Jeremy has worked as a programmer and prototyper for companies such as Human Code and frog design, has taught classes for Great Northern Way Campus (in Vancouver, BC), Texas State University, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Austin Community College, and the University of Texas at Austin, and has worked for Walt Disney Imagineering, Maxis, and Electronic Arts/Pogo.com, among others. While in graduate school, his team created the game Skyrates, which won the Silver Gleemax Award at the 2008 Independent Games Festival. Jeremy also apparently has the distinction of being the first person to ever teach game design in Costa Rica.
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I found Part One of the book, Game Design and Paper Prototyping, to be the most difficult of the three sections. It reads like a college text book with lots of theory and philosophical discussions. Part One begins with a lengthy discussion of what a "game" actually is, discussing the conflicting definitions presented by several people. Next comes a discussion on Game Analysis Frameworks. Mr. Gibson discusses three Frameworks developed by other individuals, and then presents his own Framework. He compares and contrasts his new framework to its predecessors, and explains how they are different and alike. Heavy stuff. Honestly I only made it through Chapter 4 before I put Part One on hold, and moved on to Part Two. I will get back to Part One day, I promise.
Part Two begins with more definitions, a summary about the advantages of using Unity and C#, and a brief introduction to the C# programming language, but you quickly move on to the Unity installation and running Unity's demo game: Angry Bots. Next comes a very, very brief (1/2 page) explanation of Unity's various windows. Your first Unity program is the standard "Hello World!", but then you get to "Unity-fy" it by adding some falling cubes. Snazzy! The rest of the Part Two - Chapters 19-27 - include hard-core lessons/lectures in various computer programming topics: variables, Vector3s, Quaternion, boolean operations, conditionals, loops, lists, arrays, functions, object-oriented classes. My favorite chapter was the one on Debugging. You need to learn to love debugging if you are going to be a programmer.
Part Three (page 419) starts the fun stuff: building games using Unity. The first game is Apple Picker, and I found it liberating when Mr. Gibson talks about using "programmer art" which is just a placeholder for the "real" art that will be incorporated later. He stresses that you don't need fantastic art to get your game up and running. I know it is common sense, but it was nice to hear those words from an expert. My new mantra is, "Don't worry about the art, just start coding." As for the actual code instructions, they are clear and concise, but they are not what I would call the step-by-step hand-holding variety. How to do something is fully explained once, and after that it is assumed that you will remember the steps. If you don't remember you are directed to the index so you can look up the instructions. If you are new to programming AND Unity this method of instruction might get a little frustrating. The examples/prototypes in this book also have a level of code complexity which is much greater than in other absolute beginner Unity books. You will learn a lot more fancy coding tricks, and not so obvious ways to accomplish a task. Again, this may be intimidating if you have never coded before.
So in summary if you have never opened a programming book before, it might be better to start with a book like Unity by Example or Unity in 24 Hours and save this one till you are a little more comfortable with navigating Unity. If you have used Unity before or if you have programmed in the past, this book is a great place to start.
Part 2 introduces C#. If you've programmed before, you can skim most of it. Chapter 18 ("Hello World") is a must-read, though, as it introduces Unity and demonstrates how to create a project and add elements to it. (Not having used Unity before, I was shocked that I could create a particle storm with only two-lines of code.)
Part 3 walks the reader through creating eight games of increasing complexity.
I recommend this book to you if you'd like to learn how to create well designed games using Unity and C#.
When i was looking for a book that covered Unity programming (C# that is) i found a few books that seemed like they could very well get the job done. This book is brand new and full of good research. It does not teach you how to program until about page 250. The amount of text on each page is enormous, full of information. Im on chapter 4 already and i feel like before i get to the programming side of this book i will have a better understanding of what i will even be needing to program. There is 8 games that you program near the last part of the book after a thorough intro to C# script in unity. The logic that he programs into the games is broad and clever enough to get you on your feet, and there are many tools and tricks that follow.
In conclusion: This book goes deep into game design and getting your ideas into code.
I have a large library of books covering animation, programming, art, game design.... and this book seems like one i will be happy to finish.
Cheers! 5 out of 5 for how much research is in this book alone Plus how clear he talks in his text.
The first part is devoted to Game Design theory. It's quite clear, full of examples and gives you the tools to approach a very complex topic like Game Design is. It also contains some exercises to try your own design, following the topics explained and forcing you to experiment on your own. While there's no programming in this phase, it's really important for starting your journey on making your first video game.
The second part is devoted to programming. It teaches you the basic concepts and uses one of the best languages for doing so: C#. This is also the preferred scripting language used by Unity 3D so everything you learn here will come extremely useful going forward with the development of your first game. It's well structured, it lets you experiment coding and programming practices using Unity 3D and creating very small applications that deal with the topics explained. It's perfect for anyone who never programmed, but if you already know your way around with C# or with programming in general, you can skip most of this part (though Chapter 18 should be read anyway as it is the foundation of the Unity 3D editor usage).
The final part was my favorite. While I enjoyed the first part as well (and gained much knowledge on important design patterns), part three is when everything comes together as you create 8 game prototypes of completely different scopes. You will find this extremely useful. You will learn how to make games in Unity 3D, how to create gameplay, how to operate the editor and most of all you will try so many different genres that you will be comfortable starting your own game shortly after.
All in all, this is a GREAT book for beginners and for anyone who wants to try designing and developing his first game using the excellent Unity 3D engine with C#.
This book begins with a good portion of game history&theory. Maybe somebody finds it non-relevant, but I definitely like it very much. What I like is how author for each statement gives real game examples, which wanted me to play those games one more time and see games from another perspective - potential game developer.
Then it starts to dismantle game into various layers. It helps to set your (developer's) mind and think how to create the game not interesting only for you as a dev but also and in first place to be attractive for players and if you will do a good job you can build an environment attractive even for a community around your game(ie. quake mods ;).
There is also interesting section related to procedures of game ideas brainstorming. Also very interesting in game development is a possibility to do fast prototypes and test a game as soon as possible. Paper version may help in first stages of this process. There is a good load of information about that. A bit of math and game balance...
Part 2 starts topic of digital prototyping - entry point into Unity. There you would need C#. This is a good way how to learn programming by doing something you like. Of course there is a lot of C# theory which cant be bypassed like variables, loops, classes, OOP ;). You have to program somehow that game, right?:)
I hope I don't sound suspiciously too positive about that book, but I cant help myself I've been surprised what topic are here. Even introduction into such topics as agile development, time management etc.
The last part is dedicated to 8 prototypes of different styles of the games instead of one or two detailed tutorials. The author himself states he chose this approach to cover as much game area as possible. You will experience a development of such games like Solitaire, first person shooter like game, shoot-em up etc.
I must admit I haven't read any other book related to game development, so cant really compare to other books, but the complexity of that book and the way how it was presented was very satisfactory and if you are really looking for entry point into game dev, you won't be dissapointed.
ps: oh, how could I forget about excellent Appendix. The part you will be looking into most frequently - the base of essential information you will find handy in everyday process of game development.
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