Focal Press Experts Help Game Designers Amp-up Their Tools

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Five New and Recent Books on Electronic Game Design

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New techniques and tools keep raising the bar for electronic game designers. Focal Press keeps ahead of the curve with a set of new and recent titles to help designers get their game on.

New techniques and tools keep raising the bar for electronic game designers. Focal Press keeps ahead of the curve with a set of new and recent titles to help designers get their game on.

ISBN-13: 9780240817170
Publication Date:
03/01/2011     Interactive Storytelling for Video Games
A Player-Centered Approach to Creating Memorable Characters and Stories
By Lebowitz and Klug
Format: Softcover; Price: $39.95

While writing for straight, linear media like films or novels requires certain skills, writing for video games requires a whole new set of skills. Writers need to contend with overlapping stories, different conclusions based on different actions taken by the player. It's challenging to create compelling digital storylines - and writers need help.

In video games, highly interactive stories are the way of the future, but what really makes a story interactive? What's the best way to create an interactive story? How much control should players be given? Do players really want that control in the first place? Do they even know what they really want, or are their stated desires at odds with their unconscious preferences?
All these questions and more are examined, carefully explained, and answered in this definitive book on interactive storytelling for video games. Features include clear and detailed descriptions of all major types of interactive stories, case studies of popular games (including Animal Crossing, Bioshock, Braid, Chrono Trigger, Donkey Kong, Fable, Fallout, Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, Heavy Rain, Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, The Sims, World of Warcraft) and how players interact with them, notes from notable writers and game designers, and an in-depth analysis of the results of a national survey on player storytelling preferences in games. Game writers will get the expert advice they need to generate compelling and original game concepts and narratives for games.

ISBN-13: 9780240817262
Publication Date:
03/15/2011     The Game Audio Tutorial
A Practical Guide to Sound and Music for Interactive Games
By Stevens and Raybould
Format: Softcover; Price: $49.95

Sound can make or break the visual experience of a video game. If you press a button, and you hear a click, you know you are playing a game, without the click, you are merely interacting with an image on the screen. Sound elevates the experience of a game, and is obviously a KEY ingredient to the success of a game. This book goes out to sound designers and music composers for games who may be able to pick up on the theories and concepts in other books, but will need the book that shows them just how to get their first demo reel done. Stevens and Raybould get right into the heart of sound design and implemention, providing real practical examples to learn from, so that composers and designers can quickly develop the skills they need to design sound and music for games.

This hands-on book guides students and professionals through the whole development process of how to create and implement sound and music for games. Stevens and Raybould offer a hugely effective teaching tool to engage students: a complete set of tools and interactive tutorials that are fully tested and proven to work in a University setting. The book comes with a powerful associated web site including 20 videos (10 mins each) with screen captures, voice over and interactive commentary, several hundred sound files that designers can plug right into their own games, and a unique tutorial game level for readers to play and learn in - so that they can experience, interact, and see exactly how sounds are applied in a real game. This is the best vehicle for learning how to create compelling sound and music for games - a truly unique approach that gets designers and students up and running quickly.

ISBN-13: 9780240812854
Publication Date:
09/30/2010     Making Great Games
An Insider's Guide to Designing and Developing the World's Greatest Video Games
By Wyman
Format: Softcover; Price: $44.95

How are the world's best videogames created? Are they truly hatched through marathon all-night sessions of acne-ridden, junk food-eating programmers and artists huddled in front of multiple monitors cranking out code and content? Which key decisions determine whether or not a particular game will be a hit? What's crunch time really like? Journey behind the scenes to learn the truth about how the world's greatest videogames get made.

Join videogame industry veteran Michael Thornton Wyman on a series of detailed, behind-the-scenes tours with the teams that have made some of the most popular and critically acclaimed videogames of the modern era. Drawing on insider's perspectives from teams large and small, from single-person independent projects (Linerider), to casual game classics (Diner Dash), PC titles (Spore) to AAA Console games (NBA Live), and including modern-day masterpieces (Halo, Rock Band and World of Warcraft), learn from the creators about how these games were made, and hear their stories from the trenches of videogames production.

The second part of the book provides real-world, hands-on advice you can start using immediately to make your own games better. Thorough and detailed analysis of common, proven best practices give you specific nuts and bolts tools to implement at any phase of your game project, from concept development through prototyping, production, testing and launch.
The book is an excellent resource for those working directly on game design or production, for those aspiring to work in the field, or for anyone who has wondered how the world's greatest videogames get made.

ISBN-13: 9780123819765
Publication Date:
07/23/2010     Game Physics Engine Development
How to Build a Robust Commercial-Grade Physics Engine for your Game , 2nd Edition
By Millington
Format: Softcover; Price: $49.95

The physics ENGINE is a computer program that game programmers work into your game that simulates Newtonian physics and predict effects under different conditions. In video games, the physics engine uses real-time physics to improve realism. This is the only book in its category to take through the process of building a complete game-ready physics engine from scratch. Game physics is difficult, and mathematically challenging. There is a good deal of 'master-class' level information around, but almost nothing in any format that teaches the basics in a practical way. There is a clear need for a resource that tames the subject for the 95% of game developers who aren't applied mathematicians. "Game Physics Engine Development" is that book.

The 2nd edition includes new and/or material on: collision detection, 2D physics, casual game physics for Flash games, more references, a glossary, and end-of-chapter exercises.
The companion website will include the full source code of the Cyclone physics engine, along with example applications that show the physics system in operation. The Cyclone engine has been used in commercial game development.

ISBN-13: 9780240815633
Publication Date:
10/12/2010     Creating 3D Game Art for the iPhone with Unity
Featuring modo and Blender pipelines
By McDermott
Format: Softcover; Price: $49.95

Revolutionize your iPhone and iPad game development with Unity iOS, a fully integrated professional application and powerful game engine, which is quickly becoming the best solution for creating visually stunning games for Apple’s iDevices easier, and more fun for artists. From concept to completion you’ll learn to create and animate using modo and Blender as well as creating a full level utilizing the powerful toolset in Unity iOS as it specifically relates to iPhone and iPad game development.

Follow the creation of "Tater," a character from the author's personal game project "Dead Bang," as he's used to explain vital aspects of game development and content creation for the iOS platform. Creating 3D Game Art for the iPhone focuses on the key principles of game design and development by covering in-depth, the iDevice hardware in conjunction with Unity iOS and how it relates to creating optimized game assets for the iDevices.

Featuring Luxology's artist-friendly modo, and Blender, the free open-source 3D app, along side Unity iOS, optimize your game assets for the latest iDevices including iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and the iPod Touch. Learn to model characters and environment assets, texture, animate skinned characters and apply advanced lightmapping techniques using Beast in Unity iOS.

In a clear, motivating, and entertaining style, Wes McDermott offers captivating 3D imagery, real-world observation, and valuable tips and tricks all in one place - this book is an invaluable resource for any digital artist working to create games for the iPhone and iPad using Unity iOS.

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