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I need to Write Something

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Focus on SDL was published in 2003. Focus on 2D in Direct3D was published in 2002. Game Developer's Guide to the Cybiko was also published in 2002. Isometric Game Programming with DirectX 7.0 was published in 2001.

I haven't written anything in quite a while. My last attempt was in mid-2003 with the DirectPlay book that I barely got 25% of the way through before deciding that I *REALLY* didn't want to write that book.

At this point, I'm almost ready to put the word "Former" before the word "Author" in my journal title. I am still, of course, a Programmer and Bag of Wind(tm).

Perhaps a good question to ask is "why haven't I written any books since FOSDL?", and let us not count the DirectPlay book.

There are a few reasons:

One, there are just too many game development books out there, and there are more every month. The market is oversaturated, and most of the books (even a couple of the ones I wrote) are junk.

Two, I am jaded about publishers. Publishers are not in business to put out good books. Publishers are in it to pay the wages of people who work for the publisher. An author doesn't work for the publisher, he is a contractor.

Three, I have become disgusted with the romantic notions associated with game development books. They sell you on the idea that *YOU* are going to be a brilliant game developer who will make millions of dollars and own a ferrari. More likely than not, you will not do this. Yes, I know... lighting does strike occasionally, but for more than 95% of the readership, it's just not going to happen.

Four, I have a "real job" now, unlike before where I worked only three months a year and could spend the rest of my time writing books.

Five, the topics I have written about have been on the "fringe". Fringe books, while they acquire their cult following, do not sell well. Authors without books that sell well don't continue writing books. No, it doesn't matter how well the author can write, and I must say that I know full well that I do a rather good job of writing.

But I do miss some things. I miss fan e-mails. I always made sure to respond whenever I got an e-mail about one of my books, even if it was one of the may "the CD-ROM is broken, what do I do?" e-mails I got. I still get a few of these now and again. I'm glad that people are helped out by my books.

A couple of times, I've wanted to, or even tried to go back and finish what I have begun. I still have quite a few of these things. IGPWDX7 was a decent book, but it didn't quite fully explore the topic. Also, a number of the concepts in that book were developed while I wrote it, and I didn't have the time to refine them. Suffice it to say, all of that stuff has solidified in my mind and matured into topics concerning "tile based world representations using orthographic projections"(OrthoTile). OrthoTile, however, isn't nearly as neat of a word as IsoHex was.

Also, I have other topics that interest me, like "what makes a game a game?" (alternately called Gameology or Ludology), game analysis, game metrics, game design, the philosophy behind game design, and so on.

Maybe I should go back to writing articles, and try not to "ball of mud" them. Books are balls of mud. Articles, if done correctly, can be diamonds. Something that doesn't overexplain anything, contains no off-topic rambling material that is unnecessary (some is always necessary, like personal stories and whatnot), and at the same time does not skimp on any portion of the topic.

Yeah, maybe I should do that...
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