5 Useful Books for Game Developers
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by richard@volcanicgames.com
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5 Useful Books for Game Developers
12 January, 2016
Opinion

Developing games is hard work. It takes time, money and a lot of courage. The worst thing is that a project can fail because of so many various factors. It could be a bad game mechanic, unsuccessful marketing or bad money management. To help you with the development process we’ve found some books, which may answer the most frequently asked questions and save some of your time.

A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing

guide-to-game-marketing

Marketing is a very popular topic among game developers. You can find these “wizards” in Facebook or Reddit. They are promising you incredible sales, lots of traffic and other wonders. However, the author of “A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing” Joel Dreskin is different. He’s an experienced marketing officer, who worked with Telltale Games, Lucas Arts and Adobe. Joel is an avid writer and speaker, so I bet you’ve heard him talk during PAX or GDC.

His book A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing is a great addition to any game developer’s library. It’s a simple manual on how to achieve great results with a very limited budget. There are a lot of great examples there, as well as planning tips.

It’s not cheap ($37) but it’s well worth the money. You can check out some of Joel’s posts on Gamasutra. For free!

The Definitive Guide to Taxes for Indie Game Developers

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Taxes is not the kind of topic you want to meddle with, when you are developing games. It would be safe to assume, that most of the developers go into the game industry to avoid forms, calculators and deadlines. However, real life is different.

To keep your business afloat and pay your employees, you pretty much have to pay taxes and learn how to work with them. Here’s where The Definitive Guide to Taxes for Indie Game Developers comes along.

This book by Rachel Presser – tax law specialist and game developer from Bronx – talks about the tax issues in an easy and comprehensive way. It’s a great read for business owners from USA and tax specialists, who want to work with game industry professionals.

Probably it’s not the most desired book, but it’s definitely useful if you’re planning to run game development as a business.

The Indie Game Developer Handbook

The Indie Game Developer Handbook

Richard Hill-Whittall wrote a general overview of game development process for indies. It’s a great book for people with little business experience and for those, who just want to learn how to run a game development studio. This book does not only touch on the questions of game development. It also helps to figure out the marketing, deadlines, release and the support plan for your game. It’s not a direct how-to manual, but it’s got a lot of information about funding, QA, publishing, marketing, engines (although this section is a bit dated). One of the greatest things about this book is the abundance of cases and examples, plus some interviews from industry professionals. We suggest getting a e-copy of the book, since there’s a bunch of links inside.

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

extra-lives

While this is not a direct indie game development book, it’s a great book about videogames. Probably one of the best books on this topic. Written by Tom Bissell – a game critic and a scriptwriter (Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End , Tales from the Borderlands, Battlefield: Hardline, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Batman: Arkham Origins) – this book looks deep into the games of the last decade and tries to figure out the main ideas and forces that drive developers to build better and more advanced interactive stories. While you may not find a lot of advice here, this book will most definitely help to revive your passion for high quality gaming.

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

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Jane McGonigal wrote one of the best games in gamification of our everyday lives. It’s a great look into the nature of games and the way you can use our craving for games in your development. It has a lot of great examples and cases, which show how modern games are being build and how do they influence the perception of this type of medium.

McGonigal actually did a lot of talks about gamification (TED is brobably one of the best known ones). She’s precise, she always gives a lot of details and goes deep into the human psychology to show how games and game mechanics work. Probably one of the best games about the nature of games. Essential for any game developer.

If you think we’ve missed something (we obviously had) or if you want to add some more books, please mention them in the comments section and we’ll add them to the list.

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