There is a huge library of books out there that provide reference guides to programming, and there’s a smaller selection dedicated specifically to techniques used by game developers. Recently, however, we’ve come across a book written by a Mac game programmer for folks interested in a bit more of an esoteric topic: that of actual game design itself. The book is called Game Design: Theory & Practice, and it was written by Richard Rouse III. It’s published by
Wordware Publishing Inc., ISBN 1-55622-735-3.
Rouse is the creator of a MacSoft title called Damage Incorporated, a game developed using the Marathon engine and incorporating real-time strategy elements involving team play — a predecessor to games like Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear, utilizing some of the same core concepts. Rouse is now lead designer at Surreal Software, and has an extensive resumé that includes work on Centipede 3D, Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis, and the PlayStation 2 conversion of Drakan. Rouse has also seen work published in Game Developer Magazine and other publications.
In writing about the art and science of game design, Rouse calls upon his own experience, and also leverages the experience of some giants in the field. In his book (23 chapters and more than 500 pages long), Rouse interviews giants in game design like Sid Meier, creator of Civilization and Railroad Tycoon; Jordan Mechner, designer of Prince of Persia and The Last Express; Chris Crawford, who designed Balance of Power; Ed Logg, of Asteroids, Centipede and Gauntlet fame; Will Wright, designer of Sim City and The Sims; and others. Rouse also invokes examples culled from many games available for the Mac — in fact, many of the screenshots are clearly take from Mac versions of games.
The book also includes a handy CD-ROM that contains useful stuff to the beginning Mac game designer, such as trial copies of Adobe software like Illustrator, PageMaker and Photoshop. Other items include Hugo, which can be used to generate interactive text adventures; Erasmatron, an interactive storytelling system developed by Crawford; Ari Feldman’s SpriteLib library; and TADS, the Text Adventure Development System. A PDF version of the book is also included on the CD-ROM.
For more info about this book, check out
Wordware’s Web site.