One of the best ways to get an insight into the games industry is to look at the books that were available to developers at the time, both game-specific books, programming books and digital/creative books have a wealth of information.
As this is a site about retro games, we are mainly aiming to add books that were published around the time of retro consoles or books about retro game development.
This page is split into the following categories:
This section will cover books available at the time when retro games were being created, for added context this section is broken down by year.
The list of books in this section is not an exhaustive list and mainly includes books that would have been notable at the time. We only list the book based on its first edition date in order to keep the lists a bit cleaner.
Some of the most note-worthy publishers for game development related books on this list are:
Some of the most prolific authors in the game development genre were:
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1976, the year when the home game console market was just starting to take off with the release of the Channel F. It was also the year that Zilog would launch their Z80 microchip which would be used in many consoles and home computers in the future.
|F8 Guide to Programming||Fairchild||F8 Assembly||Official guide to programming the F8 cpu used in the Fairchild Channel F|
|Zilog Z80-CPU Technical Manual||Zilog||Z80 Assembly|
This was the year the Fairchild Channel F was released, the first ever games console with interchangeable cartridges (ROMs) and the first to be based on a microprocessor (Fairchild F8).
Fairchild released a development kit which came with a book titled F8 Guide to Programming, if you were a developer at the time who wanted to write games for the Channel F then this would be the go-to book!
We start with the Z80-CPU Technical Manual from Zilog as it was used in so many early games consoles and home computers, it was very likely that you would have an iteration of this book if you were a developer for any of the following:
Of course by the time those consoles came out there were newer editions of the book and a few people had written their own Z80 textbooks but it remains a very important book int he history of game development.
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1978.
The Apple II and Atari 2600 VCS had just been released in the previous year (September 1977) which was using a variant of the popular 6502 CPU (6507) and books were starting to spring up on the topic of programming for this family of chips.
|Programming the 6502||Zaks, Rodnay|
|The Z-80 Microcomputer Handbook||William J. Barden|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1979. This was the year that the Intellivision was released from Mattel which used the CP-1600 CPU from General Instrument.
The Intellivision was the only production use for the CP-1600 CPU and thus as far as we can tell no books were released on developing for the Intellivision or its CPU. Although there were a few strategy books about playing Intellivision games and a few modern books have been released about Intellivision game development.
|6502 Assembly language programming||Lance A. Leventhal|
|Electronic games: design, programming and troubleshooting||WALTER H. BUCHSBAUM||8080 Assembly|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1981. This was the year that the SINCLAIR ZX81 was released which used the Zilog Z80 microprocessor. It was the go to choice for bedroom programmers as it was very cheap and games could be written to cassette tapes and distributed. Towards the end of the year the BBC MICRO was released in the UK and became hugely successful and was one of the first computers for many future programmers in the UK Games Industry.
|Build your own Z80 computer: design guidelines and application notes||Steve Ciarcia.||Assembly and Hardware|
|The Dr. Watson book of assembly-language programming for Commodore PET||Peter Holmes||Assembly language|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1982. The year that Sinclair released the ZX spectrum, CBM released the Commodore 64 along with the Dragon 32 which came with Microsoft BASIC.
|Apple Graphics & Arcade Game Design||Jeffrey Stanton|
|Fundamentals of Interactive Computer Graphics||James D. Foley and A.Van Dam||Pascal||Uses Core System of standard graphics subroutines from ACM SIGGRAPH|
|Games for the Atari 400/800: or how to program your own games||S. Roberts||Atari BASIC and 6502 Assembly||Only has one game in assembly called Gunfight which requires the Atari Editor/Assembler cartridge|
|Understanding Atari Graphics||Michael Boom||Atari BASIC|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1983, the year that the Vectrex was released worldwide based on the Motorola 6809 cpu.
It was also a big year for Japan with the release of the MSX which for many was their first experience having a programmable home computer. With a Zilog Z80 cpu and a variant of BASIC (MSX BASIC) it was ideal for bedroom game development in Japan.
As for consoles it was also the year that Nintendo released their Famicom based on a 6502 CPU, but Nintendo has strict licensing agreements which limited third-party development. Despite this famous developers such as Satoshi Tajiri of Pokemon fame cobbled together his own Famicom development kit from old circuit boards obtained in Akihabara junk shops 5.
|Compute!’s Second Book of Atari Graphics||COMPUTE|
|Microcomputer Graphics: Techniques and Applications||Donald Hearn|
|Programming the Dragon for games and graphics||Geoff Phillips||BASIC||For the Dragon series of systems|
|Z80 assembly language subroutines||Lance A. Leventhal, Winthrop Saville||Z80 Assembly|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1984.
|Assembly language for arcade games and other fast Spectrum programs||Stuart Nicholls||Z80 Assembly|
|Commodore 64 assembly language||Bruce Smith||6502 Assembly language|
|Commodore 64 game construction kit||William L. Rupp, Patricia A. Hartman||Commodore BASIC|
|Games programming||Eric Solomon||Assembly langauges, Pascal, Fortran||Lots of good game programming concepts|
|Getting started with 8080, 8085, Z80 and 6800 microprocessor systems||James W. Coffron||Assembly|
|The art of computer game design||Chris Crawford||Game Design||One of the all time great books on game design|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1985.
|48K Spectrum and Spectrum+: Assembly language course||M E Thompson||Z80 Assembly language||Spectrum & Spectrum+ Assembly Language Course at Spectrum Computing - Sinclair ZX Spectrum games, software and hardware|
|Assembly language programming on the BBC and Acorn Electron||R B Coats|
|Macintosh Game Animation||Ron Person||Microsoft BASIC, Macintosh BASIC, Macintosh Pascal|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1986.
|68000 assembly language programming||Osborne McGraw-Hill||Assembly|
|Computer Graphics||Donald Hearn, M. Pauline Baker|
|Programming in C on the Amstrad||Ian Sinclair||C Programming|
|The C++ programming language||Bjarne Stroustrup||C++ Programming|
|The Magic Of Macintosh Programming Graphics and Sound||William B Twitty||Pascal and QuickDraw|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1987.
|Advanced Graphics in C||Nelson Johnson||C Programming|
|Learning C: programming graphics on the Amiga and Atari ST||Marc B. Sugiyama and Christopher D. Metcalf||C Programming|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1988.
|Graphics Programming in C||Roger T. Stevens||C Programming|
|Microprocessor programming, troubleshooting and interfacing: the Z80, 8080 and 8085||James W. Coffron||Assembly Language|
|The C programming language||Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie||C Programming|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1989.
|Advanced MS-DOS programming: the Microsoft guide for assembly language and C programmers||Ray Duncan||Assembly and C||DOS programming bible|
|Fractal programming in C||Roger T., Stevens||C Programming on MS-DOS|
|Graphics programming with Turbo C 2.0||Ben Ezzell||Turbo C|
|SIGGRAPH 1989 Conference Proceedings: Computer Graphics Annual Conference Series||ACM|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1990.
|Graphics programming with Microsoft C and Microsoft Quick C||Kris Jamsa||Microsoft C|
|Graphics programming in C: a comprehensive resource for every C programmer||Roger T. Stevens||CGA, EGA, and VGA|
|High-resolution computer graphics using C||Ian O. Angell||C Programming|
|The game maker’s manual : Atari ST and STOS BASIC||Stephen Hill||BASIC|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1991.
|Advanced graphics programming in C and C++||Roger T. Stevens and Christopher D. Watkins||C/C++|
|Graphics programming with Microsoft C 6||Mark Mallett||C Programming|
|The data compression book: featuring fast, efficient data compression techniques in C||Mark Nelson||C Programming|
|マシン語ゲーム・プログラミング : PC-9801シリーズ (Machine language game programming: PC-9801 series)||Manabu Aoyama, Tooru Hidaka||Assembly Programming for PC-98||Japanese Book (Available on Archive.org)|
|マシン語ゲームグラフィックス : PC-9801シリーズ (Machine language game graphics: PC-9801 series)||Tooru Hidaka; Manabu Aoyama||PC-98 GDC and EGC Programming||Japanese Book (Available on Archive.org)|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1992.
|Archimedes game maker’s manual||Terry Blunt||Archimedes BASIC|
|Assembly language for the PC||Peter Norton||Assembly language|
|Visual basic game programming for Windows||Michael J. Young||Visual BASIC|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1993.
|Flights of Fantasy: Programming 3D Video Games in C++||Christopher Lampton||Borland C++|
|Programming games for beginners||Christopher A Howard||Visual Basic|
|Programming Windows games with Borland C++||Nabajyoti Barkakati||Borland C++|
|Ray Tracing Creations: Generate Photorealistic Images on the PC||Drew Wells, Chris Young|
|The Commercial Games Programmer’s Guide: Guide to Working for the Games Industry as Either an Artist, Musician, Designer or Programmer||David Gibbon|
|QBasic games and more!||Fred Sexton||QBasic|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1994 when C and Assembly language were king.
In books it was the year of Andre LaMothe who published multiple books that would become must-read for MS-DOS game programmers.
|3D Modeling Lab - Create Beautiful 3D Photorealistic Models On Your PC||Philip Shaddock||Imagine 3D Modeller|
|Animation how-to CD||Jeff Bowermaster||MS-DOS|
|Arcade games programming (for IBM compatible PC’s)||Shaun Herd||MS-DOS||Very little information about this book on the web|
|Graphics Gems||Andrew S. Glassne||C Programming|
|Game Programming Starter Kit||Sams Publishing||Visual C++||Contains the eBooks Teach yourself Game Programming in 21 Days and Teach Yourself Visual C++ in 21 Days along with a 2D Game engine and a copy of Visual C++ 1.0|
|Gardens of imagination: Programming 3D Maze Games in C/C++||C/C++|
|Modeling the Dream Cd: Walkthroughs and Flybys II||Phil Shatz||Autodesk 3d studio|
|PC game programming explorer||Dave Roberts||C Programming for VGA|
|Sound Blaster the Official Book||Sound Blaster|
|Teach yourself Game Programming in 21 days||Andre LaMothe||C Programming for MS-DOS||lagdotcom/tygpi21d: Teach Yourself Game Programming in 21 Days|
|The Revolutionary Guide to Bit Mapped Graphics||Efin Podvoisky and Julian Dobson|
|Tricks of the Game Programming Gurus||Andre LaMothe||C & x86 Assembly for MS-DOS||Tricks of the Game-Programming Gurus - The Doom Wiki at DoomWiki.org|
|Zen of Graphics||Michael Abrash|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1995, which is the year the Virtual Boy was released in Japan and the Saturn and Playstation were released in the US & Europe.
On the Windows front, for graphics programming the API WinG was released by Microsoft in 1994 so in 1995 we started to see our first books about programming games in this API. Although the API was short lived as it was replaced by the Windows Games SDK in 1995 and later renamed to DirectX.
|Assembly language master class||Wrox Press||Intel Assembly (Pentium)|
|Black Art of 3D Game Programming||Andre LaMothè||C Programming|
|Black Art of Visual Basic Game Programming||Mark Pruett||Visual Basic|
|Black Art of Windows Game Programming||Eric R. Lyons||C/C++, WinG and Cartoon Engine||Has chapters on WinToon and OpenGL! (Windows 3.1, Windows NT and Windows 95)|
|Building a 3D game engine in C++||Brian Hook (@HookTM)||Borland/Watcom C++ and AST3D library||Also contains Thrust Master drivers programming information|
|C++ games programming||Al Stevens, Stan Trujillo||C++, MS-DOS and Theatrix|
|The Doom game editor||Joe Pantuso||DOOM Editor||Software: https://doom.fandom.com/wiki/The_Doom_Game_Editor CD: https://archive.org/details/cdrom-doom-game-editor|
|Dungeons of Discovery: Writing Dazzling Windows Games With WinG||Clayton Walnum||WinG API|
|Engines of Creation - Programming Virtual Reality on the Macintosh||Jonathan Blossom||REND386, C programming|
|Game Graphics in C++||Len Dorfman||Borland C++ (DOS VGA)||Free to Borrow on Archive.org|
|Graphics Gems V||Alan W. Paeth|
|NetWarriors in C: programming 3D multi-player games in C||Joe Gradecki||C Programming||Very little info about this book online|
|More Tricks of the Game Programming Gurus||Andre LaMothe||C & x86 Assembly for MS-DOS|
|Tricks of the Doom Programming Gurus||Brunl Benner|
|Tricks of the Mac Game Programming Gurus||Jamie McCornack||Mac Game development|
Imagine being a book author during this time frame when WinG was only really applicable for about a year, replaced with the Windows Game SDK which was then renamed to DirectX.
This happened to the author Clayton Walnum who released Dungeons of Discovery: Writing Dazzling Windows Games With WinG in 1995 only for it to be deprecated.
He then released Windows 95 Game Sdk Strategy Guide just as it got renamed to DirectX, how unfortunate!
How well do you remember your 90s Windows game programming books? pic.twitter.com/k2LRpzLDkN— 𝔸𝕟𝕒𝕥𝕠𝕝𝕪 𝕊𝕙𝕒𝕤𝕙𝕜𝕚𝕟💾 (@dosnostalgic) February 3, 2022
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1996, which is the year the Nintendo 64 was released.
There were some excellent books released by Waite Group Press 4 such as the Black Art of Macintosh Game Programming and the OpenGL SuperBible which were both cutting-edge at the time.
Also the author Joe Gradecki released two books this year in the NetWarriors series, one an update to his book last year but this time in C++ and the other a guide to online resources, which would be very interesting to read nowadays, although most links would now be long dead.
|3D game Alchemy for Doom, Doom II, Heretic and Hexen||Steve Benner, et al.||Doom Level Editor||Available on RetroMags.com|
|Black art of Java game programming||Joel Fan, Eric Ries, Calin Tenitchi.||Java|
|Black art of Macintosh game programming||Kevin Tieskoetter||Macintosh C|
|Build your own Flight Simulator in C++||Michael Radtke, Chris Lampton, Andrè LaMothe||C++|
|Build your own PC game in seven easy steps using Visual BASIC||Scott Palmer||Visual BASIC|
|Developing games that learn||Leonard Dorfman, Narendra K. Ghosh.||C Programming|
|Inside electronic game design||Arnie Katz with Laurie Yates||Game Design|
|The Duke Nukem 3D level design handbook||Matt Tagliaferri.||Duke Nukem 3D level Editor|
|Teach yourself Internet game programming with Java in 21 days||Michael Morrison||Java Applets||Very early book excited about the world of Java Applets for Game development|
|NetWarriors in C++: programming multi-player games for Windows||Joe Gradecki|
|NetWarriors Online: The game developer’s guide to online resources||Joe Gradecki||Very little information about this online|
|OpenGL SuperBible||Richard S. Wright, Jr.||Michael Sweet||OpenGL API|
|Spells of fury: building Windows 95 games using DirectX 2||Michael J. Norton||VC++ 4.0 and DirectX|
|Win95 graphics programming||Mathias Rasch||WinG API|
|Windows 95 Game Sdk Strategy Guide||Clayton Walnum||Windows 95 Game SDK (DirectX)|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1997.
|3D Graphics and Animation: From Starting Up to Standing Out||Mark Giambruno||New Riders|
|Developing Java entertainment applets||John Withers||Java|
|OpenGL Reference Manual||Dave Shreiner||OpenGL API|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1998.
|Visual C++ Programming Starter Kit||Macmillan Software||Visual C++|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 1999.
This year kicked off the Wordware Game Developer’s Library with the release of Real Time Strategy Game Programming Using DirectX which lasted all the way up to the last book published in the series in 2009.
|3D Studio MAX 3 Fundamentals||Michael Todd Peterson and Steve Burke||3D Sudio Max 3|
|3D Studio MAX 3 Media Animation||John P. Chismar and John Chismar||3D Sudio Max 3|
|AI for computer games and animation: a cognitive modeling approach||John David Funge.|
|Computer Graphics & Geometric Modeling|
|Developers guide to computer game design||John Scott Lewinski|
|Game design: secrets of the sages||Marc Saltzman||Game Design|
|Inside TrueSpace 4||Frank Rivera||Truespace 4|
|Real-Time Rendering||Tomas Akenine-Möller, Eric Haines|
|Real Time Strategy Game Programming Using DirectX||Mickey Kawick||C++ and DirectX 6.0|
|Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus||Andre LaMothe||C & C++|
|Understanding Motion Capture for Computer Animation and Video Games||Albert Menache|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2000.
This year started to see books covering Direct X 7.0 and it would also be the start of the very successful Game Programming Gems series of books which would result in 8 sequels!
|3D Graphics programming: Games and beyond||Sergei Savchenko||C Programming and 3Dgpl|
|3D Game programming with C++||John De Goes||C++ Programming and Direct3D|
|3D Games: Real-time Rendering and Software Technology, Volume 1||Alan Watt, Fabio Policarpo||C++ and OpenGL||Fly3D Game Engine, shows how to use SIMD instructions for Maths|
|Advanced 3-D Game Programming With Directx 7.0||Adrian Perez, Dan Royer||DirectX 7.0|
|Delphi graphics and game programming exposed! with DirectX for versions 5.0-7.0||John Ayres||Delphi and DirectX|
|Designing Arcade Computer Game Graphics||Ari Feldman||Pixel Art|
|Developer’s guide to computer game design||John Scott Lewinski||Game Design|
|Learn Computer Game Programming with Directx 7.0||Ian Parberry||DirectX 7.0|
|Game Architecture and Design||Andrew Rollings, Dave Morris||Game Design|
|Game Programming Gems||Mark A. DeLoura||C/C++ Programming|
There were a few books on 3D game programming released in 2000, one of the best has to be 3D Games: Real-time Rendering and Software Technology.
Although not an easy read and fairly Maths heavy, it is very in-depth and shows some very advanced concepts, even shows SIMD assembly programming in the first chapter.
The book is split up into 6 sections each with their own chapters:
Although part of the book is taken up by the Fly3D SDK reference which was also on the CD (pages 617-749), this might have been useful as a physical reference in the past but not useful nowadays.
The Appendices have some tutorials for how to use the FlySDK including building levels with 3D Studio Max and exporting to the BSP format used by the engine. These appendices end with you having a controllable 3D model space ship driving around a map, they are the easiest to understand and the most enjoyable section of the book.
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2001.
This year Prima Tech released tons of very specialised game development books all aimed at Indie game developers. They were so successful that in August 2001 3 they got sold and changed their name to Premier Press and thankfully continued to churn out book after book on game development!
This year started to see books covering DirectX 8.0.
|3D Game Creation||Luke Ahearn||The Games Factory, Pie 3D Game Creation System|
|3DS Max 4: From Objects to Animation||Boris Kulagin||3ds Max 4.0|
|Advanced 3D Game Programming using DirectX 8.0||Peter Walsh and Adrian Perez||DirectX 8.0|
|Advanced Linux 3D Graphics Programming||Norman Lin|
|Beginning Direct3D game programming||Wolfgang F. Engel, Amir Geva||Direct3D|
|Computer Game Design: Theory and Practice||Richard Rouse III|
|Designing 3D Games that Sell!||Luke Ahearn||Game Design|
|Developer’s Guide to Multiplayer Games||Andrew Mulholland, Teijo Hakala|
|Game Design: The Art & Business of creating games||Bob Bates||Game Design|
|Game Developer’s Guide to Cybiko||Ernest Pazera|
|Game Modeling Using Low Polygon Techniques||Chad Walker and Eric Walker|
|Game Programming Gems 2||Mark Deloura||C++|
|Infinite Game Universe: Mathematical Techniques||Guy W. Lecky-Thompson|
|Inside Lightwave 7||Dan Ablan||Lightwave 7|
|Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0||Ian Parberry||DirectX 8.0|
|Isometric Game Programming with Directx 7.0||Ernest Pazera||C++ and DirectX 7.0|
|Java 2 game programming||Thomas Petchel||Java|
|Linux game programming||Mark “Nurgle” Collins||C and OpenGL|
|Macromedia director game development from concept to creation||Epic Software||Macromedia Director|
|Mathematics for 3D Game Programming & Computer Graphics||Eric Lengyel|
|Modeling a Character in 3DS Max||Paul Steed||3DS Max|
|Multiplayer game programming||Todd Barron||Visual C++ and Direct X 8|
|OpenGL game programming||Kevin Hawkins and Dave Astle||OpenGL|
|Pocket PC game programming||Jonathan S. Harbour||Windows CE for Pocket PC||Compiles for MIPS, SH3 and ARM|
|Swords & circuitry: a designer’s guide to computer role playing games||Neal Halford, Jana Halford||Game Design|
|The zen of Direct3D game programming||Peter Walsh||Direct3D|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2002.
|2D Artwork and 3D Modeling for Game Artists||David Franson||3DStudio Max and trueSpace|
|3D Math Primer for Graphics and Game Development||Fletcher Dunn|
|AI Game Programming Wisdom||Steve Rabin|
|AI techniques for Game Programming||Mat Buckland||Genetic Algorithms and Neural Networks|
|Animating Real-Time Game Characters||Paul Steed||3ds Max|
|Direct3D ShaderX: Vertex and Pixel Shader Tips and Tricks||Wolfgang Engel||DirectX|
|ShaderX2: Introduction and tutorials with DirectX 9.0||Wolfgang Engel||DirectX 9.0|
|Focus on 2D in Direct3D||Ernest Pazera||Direct3D|
|Focus on Mod programming for Quake III arena||Shawn Holmes||C/C++|
|Infinite Game Universe: Level Design, Terrain, And Sound||Guy W. Lecky-Thompson||C++|
|Focus on photon mapping||Marlon John||C++|
|Focus on SDL||Ernest Pazera||C++, SDL|
|Game Audio Programming||James Boer||C++ DirectX|
|Game Development and Production||Erik Bethke|
|Game Programming All in one||Bruno Miguel Teixeira de Sousa.||C++ and DirectX|
|Game Programming Gems 3||Dante Treglia|
|Game Programming tricks of the trade||Lorenzo D. Phillips||C++, DirectX and OpenGL|
|Game Scripting Mastery||Alex Varanese|
|Get in the Game!: Careers in the Game Industry||Marc Mencher|
|Lightwave 3D 7 Character Animation||Timothy Albee||Lightwave 3D 7.0|
|Mac Game Programming||Mark Szymczyk||C++ and QuickDraw|
|Micro Java game development||David Fox and Roman Verhovsek||J2ME MIDP|
|Microsoft Visual Basic game programming with DirectX||Jonathan S. Harbour||Visual Basic|
|Modeling Digital Dinosaurs||Ken Brilliant|
|Non-Photorealistic Computer Graphics: Modeling, Rendering, and Animation||Thomas Strothotte, Stefan Schlechtweg|
|Online Game Interactivity Theory||Markus Friedl||Game Design|
|Palm OS game programming||Nicholas Pleis||C PalmOS API and CodeWarrior IDE|
|Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative||Mark Stephen Meadows||Game Design|
|Programming Dynamic Character Animation||David Paull||C++, DirectX, OpenGL|
|Programming role-playing games with DirectX||Jim Adams||C++ and DirectX|
|Real-time rendering tricks and techniques in DirectX||Kelly Dempski||C++ and DirectX|
|Special effects Game Programming with DirectX||Mason McCuskey||C++ and DirectX|
|Vector Game Math Processors||James Leiterman|
|Visual Basic Game Programming with DirectX||Jonathan S. Harbour||Visual Basic, DirectX|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2003.
In the year 2003 started to see a lot more game development books focussed on non-programming related topics such as production and Business.
The year 2003 was the start of New Riders Games (NRG) a subset of New Riders Publishing purely focussed on Game Development topics. While New Riders Pub had dabbled with a game development book in the form of Get in the Game! from 2002 along with previous books on software such as Photoshop and 3D Studio, this year they jumped all in with a series that would last more than a decade until 2014!
|Advanced 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0||Peter Walsh||DirectX 9.0|
|Ai Game Development: Synthetic Creatures With Learning and Reactive Behaviors||Alex J. Champandard||C++|
|AI Game Programming Wisdom 2||Steve Rabin|
|Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design||Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams||Game Design|
|Beginner’s Guide to DarkBASIC Game Programming||Jonathan S. Harbour and Joshua Smith||DarkBASIC|
|Chris Crawford on Game Design||Chris Crawford||Game Design|
|Core Techniques and Algorithms in Game Programming||Daniel Sanchez-Crespo Dalmau||C++ with OpenGL and DirectX|
|C++ For Game Programmers||Noel Llopis||C++|
|Complete Maya Programming: An Extensive Guide to MEL and C++ API||David Gould||MEL, C++|
|Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering||David Freeman and Will Wright||Game Design|
|Data structures for game programmers||Ron Penton||C++|
|Designing Virtual Worlds||Richard A. Bartle||Game Design|
|Developing Games in Java||David Brackeen, Bret Barker , et al.||Java|
|Developing Online Games: An Insiders Guide||Jessica Mulligan and Bridgette Patrovsky||Game Design|
|DirectX 9 Audio Exposed||Todd Fay||Direct X 9.0|
|Elementary Game Programming & Simulations Using Jamagic||Sergio Perez||Jamagic game creation software|
|Essential Lightwave 3D 7.5||Timothy Albee||Lightwave 3D 7.5|
|Focus on curves and surfaces||Kelly Dempski||C++|
|Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0||Frank D. Luna||DirectX 9.0|
|Introduction to Level Design for PC Games||Andrew Charles Clayton||gMax, Photoshop|
|The Indie game development survival guide||David Michael||Soft Skills|
|Game Coding Complete||Mike McShaffry||C++ DirectX|
|Game Design Foundations||Roger E. Pedersen||Game Design|
|Game development and production||Erik Bethke||Project Management|
|Game Programming Gems 3||Dante Treglia|
|Game Programming With Python||Sean Riley||Python|
|Games That Sell!||Mark Walker||Game Design|
|Java 1.4 Game Programming||Andrew Mulholland and Glenn Murphy||Java 1.4|
|Learn Vertex & Pixel Shader programming with DirectX||James Leiterman||Direct X|
|Lightwave 3D 7.5 Lighting||Nicholas Boughen||Lightwave 7.5||Re-released as LightWave 3D 8 Lighting in 2004 and LightWave V9 Lighting in 2007|
|Massively multiplayer Game Development||Thor Alexander||C++ and Python||Borrow on Archive.org|
|Mel Companion: Maya Scripting for 3D Artists||David Stripinis||Maya, MEL|
|Online game interactivity theory||Friedl, Markus||Game Design|
|Postmortems from Game developer||Austin Grossman|
|Real-time 3D terrain engines using C++ and DirectX 9||Greg Snook||C++ DirectX 9|
|Secrets of the Game Business||François Dominic Laramée||Soft Skills|
|Strategy Game Programming With DirectX 9.0||Todd Barron||DirectX 9.0|
|The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness||George “Fat Man” Sanger||Audio/Music|
|The gmax Handbook||Clayton E Crooks||gMax|
|Wireless game development in C/C++ with BREW||Ralph Barbagallo||C/C++ and BREW|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2004.
|3D game engine programming||Stefan Zerbst with Oliver Düvel|
|Advergaming developer’s guide: using Macromedia Flash MX 2004 and Director MX||Rod Afshar, Duke Banerjee, Clifford Jones|
|Advanced Lighting and Materials with Shaders||Kelly Dempski, Emmanuel Viale|
|AI game development: synthetic creatures with learning and reactive behaviors||Alex J. Champandard|
|AI Game Engine Programming||Brian Schwab|
|Awesome 3D game development: no programming required||Clayton E. Crooks II||Multimedia Fusion, The 3D GameMaker and MilkShape 3D|
|Beginning C++ Game Programming (Game Development Series)||Michael Dawson||C++|
|Beginning Game Boy Advance Programming||Jonathan Harbour||C Programming, GBA|
|Beginning Math and Physics for Game Programmers||Wendy Stahler , Dustin Clingman, et al.||C++|
|Beginning OpenGL Game Programming||Dave Astle, Kevin Hawkins||OpenGL|
|Character development and storytelling for games||Lee Sheldon|
|Creating the Art of the Game||Matthew Omernick||Maya, 3ds Max|
|DirectX 9 User Interfaces: Design and Implementation||Alan Thorn||DirectX 9.0|
|Game Console Hacking: Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, Game Boy, Atari and Sega||Joe Grand, Albert Yarusso||Hardware|
|Game Character Development with Maya||Antony Ward||Maya|
|Game Development essentials: An Introduction||Jeannie Novak|
|Game Development with Lua||Paul Schuytema, Mark Manyen||Lua|
|Game Programming Golden Rules||Martin Brownlow||C++|
|Game Programming with Python||Sean Riley||Python|
|Game Programming Gems 4||Andrew Kirmse|
|Introduction to Game Development||Steve Rabin|
|LightWave 3D 8 Texturing||Leigh Van Der Byl||LightWave 3D 8.0||Re-released as LightWave V9 Texturing in 2007|
|LightWave 3D 8 Cartoon Character Creation: Modeling and Texturing||Jonny Gorden||LightWave 3D 8.0|
|LightWave 3D 8 Cartoon Character Creation: Rigging and Animation||Jonny Gorden||LightWave 3D 8.0|
|Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Development||Glen Rhodes||Flash MX 2004|
|Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Programming||Craig S. Murray, Justin Everett-Church||Flash MX 2004|
|Massively Multiplayer Game Development 2||Thor Alexander|
|Massively multiplayer game development 2||Thor Alexander|
|Mobile device game development||Clayton E. Crooks II|
|Object-oriented game development||Julian Gold|
|Official Butterfly.Net Game Developer’s Guide||Mulholland, Andrew|
|OpenGL Game Development||Chris Seddon||OpenGL|
|OpenGL ES game development||Dave Astle, Dave Durnil.||OpenGL ES|
|Patterns In Game Design||Staffan Bjork and Jussi Holopainen||Game Design|
|Physics modeling for game programmers||David Conger|
|Practical Java Game Programming||Dustin Clingman, Shawn Kendall, Syrus Mesdaghi||Java|
|Programming Game AI by Example||Mat Buckland|
|Programming Mutliplayer FPS Direct X||Vaughan Young||C++, DirectX|
|Programming Multiplayer Games||Andrew Mulholland and Teijo Hakala|
|Programming Believable Characters for Computer Games||Penny Ballie-De Byl|
|Real-Time Shader Programming||Ron Fosner||DirectX 8/9|
|ShaderX3 Advanced Rendering with DirectX and OpenGL||Wolfgang Engel||DirectX, OpenGL|
|The animator’s motion capture guide: organizing, managing, and editing||Matthew Liverman|
|The Dark Side of Game Texturing||David Franson|
|The Game Localization Handbook||Heather Chandler||Localization|
|Wireless game development in Java with MIDP 2.0||Ralph Barbagallo||Java and MIDP 2.0|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2005.
|3ds Max 7 Fundamentals||Ted Boardman||3ds Max 7||Re-released as 3ds Max 8 Fundamentals in 2008|
|Advanced game development with programmable graphics hardware||Alan Watt, Fabio Policarpo|
|Advanced Graphics Programming Using OpenGL||Tom McReynolds, David Blythe||OpenGL|
|Beginning game graphics||Evry, Harry J||Caligari gameSpace|
|Chris Crawford On Interactive Storytelling||Chris Crawford||Game Design|
|Complete Maya Programming Volume II: An In-depth Guide to 3D Fundamentals, Geometry, and Modeling: Volume 2||David Gould||MEL, C++|
|Cross-platform game programming||Steven Goodwin|
|Design First for 3D Artists||Geoffrey Kater|
|Director MX 2004 games: game development with Director||Nik Lever|
|Game art: creation, direction, and careers||Riccard Linde|
|Game development essentials: video game art||Todd Gantzler|
|Game Development With Lua||Paul Schuytema and Mark Manyen||Lua|
|Game level design||Ed Byrne|
|Game Programming Gems 5||Kim Pallister|
|Implementing a digital asset management system: for animation, computer games, and web development||Jens Jacobsen, Tilman Schlenker, and Lisa Edwards|
|Introduction to Game Development||Steve Rabin|
|Make Amazing Games in Minutes||Jason Darby||The Games Factory 2.0|
|Making a game demo: from concept to demo gold||Chad Walker|
|MEL Scripting for Maya Animators||Mark R. Wilkins||Maya, MEL|
|OpenGL Game Development||Chris Seddon||OpenGL|
|Open source game development: QT games for KDE, PDAs, and Windows||Martin Heni, Andreas Beckermann||C++|
|Patterns in Game Design||Staffan Bjork, Jussi Holopainen|
|Polygonal Modeling: Basic and Advanced Techniques||Mario Russo||3DS Max and Maya|
|Real-time cinematography for games||Brian Hawkins|
|The complete guide to game development, art and design||David McCarthy, Ste Curran and Simon Byron|
|The game artist’s guide to Maya||McKinley, Michael (Michael T.)||Maya|
|The game localization handbook||Heather Maxwell Chandler|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2006.
|AI Game Programming Wisdom 3||Steve Rabin|
|Artificial Life Possibilities: A Star Trek Perspective||Penny Baillie-de Byl|
|Basic Game Design & Creation for Fun & Learning||Nanu Swamy and Naveena Swamy||GameMaker 6.1|
|Business & Legal Primer for Game Development||S. Gregory Boyd and Brian Green|
|Developing Serious Games||Bryan Bergeron||Game Design|
|Game Design: A Practical Approach||Paul Schuytema||Game Design|
|Game Developer’s Open Source Handbook||Steven Goodwin||SDL, ODE|
|Game Engine Toolset Development||Graham Wihlidal||C#|
|Game Production Handbook||Heather M Chandler|
|Game Programming in C++: Start to Finish||Erik Yuzwa||C++, SDL, OpenGL|
|Game Programming Gems 6||Mike Dickheiser|
|Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0c: A Shader Approach||Frank D. Luna||DirectX 9.0c|
|Learn C++ By Making Games||Erik Yuzwa and Francois Dominic Laramee||C++, SDL|
|Level Design for Games: Creating Compelling Game Experiences||Phil Co||Game Design|
|Macromedia Flash Professional 8 game development||Glen Rhodes||Flash 8.0|
|Macromedia Flash Professional 8 Game Graphics||Robert Firebaugh|
|Modeling, UV Mapping, and Texturing 3D Game Weapons||Christian Chang||Maya|
|Programming an RTS Game with Direct3D||Carl Granberg||DirectX|
|ShaderX4: Advanced Rendering Techniques||Wolfgang Engel||DirectX|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2007.
|Computer Animation: Algorithms and Techniques||Rick Parent||Maya, C++|
|Creating Game Art for 3D Engines||Brad Strong||3ds Max|
|Creating Games In C++: A Step-By-Step Guide||David Conger and Ron Little||C++ and LlamaWorks2D|
|Creating Casual Games for Profit and Fun||Allen Partridge|
|Data Structures and Algorithms for Game Developers||Allen Sherrod|
|Designing Character-Based Console Games||Mark Davies||Game Design|
|Emergence in Games||Penny Sweetser||Game Design|
|Fundamentals of Game Design||Ernest Adams, Andrew Rollings||Game Design|
|Game development essentials: Game interface design||Kevin Saunders, Jeannie Novak|
|Game development essentials: Game Project Management||John Hight, Jeannie Novak|
|Game Physics Engine Development||Ian Millington|
|Game Writing handbook||Rafael Chandler|
|Game writing: narrative skills for videogames||Chris Bateman|
|Introduction to Game Programming with C++||Alan Thorn||C++|
|Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express creator’s guide: an introduction to XNA game programming||Stephen Cawood and Pat McGee||XNA|
|Mobile 3D Game Development: From Start to Market||Carlos Morales and David Nelson||JavaME|
|ShaderX5: Advanced Rendering Techniques||Wolfgang Engel|
|Video Game Design Revealed||Guy W. Lecky-Thompson||Game Design|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2008.
|3D Games Programming: Using Directx 10 and Open GL||Pierre Rautenbach||DirectX, OpenGL|
|3ds Max Modeling: Bots, Mechs and Droids||Jon Weimer||3DS Max|
|Advanced 3D Game Programming with DirectX 10.0||Peter Walsh||DirectX 10.0|
|AI and Artificial Life in Video Games||Guy W. Lecky-Thompson|
|AI Game Programming Wisdom 4||Steve Rabin|
|Best of Game Programming Gems||Mark DeLoura|
|Cross Platform Game Development: Make PC Games for Windows, Linux and Mac||Alan Thorn||C, SDL, Director, Novashell, Ogre3D|
|Emergence in games||Penny Sweetser|
|Essential XNA Game Studio 2.0 Programming||Jim Perry||XNA|
|Essential Zbrush||Wayne Robson||Zbrush|
|Fundamentals of Network Game Development||Guy W. Lecky-Thompson|
|Game character development||Antony Ward|
|Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games||Tracy Fullerton|
|Game Graphics Programming||Allen Sherrod||C++, DirectX 9/10, HLSL, OpenGL, GLSL|
|Games on Symbian OS : a handbook for mobile development||Fadi Chehimi|
|Game Programming Gems 7||Scott Jacobs|
|Introduction to 3D Game Programming with Direct 3D 10: A Shader Approach||Frank D. Luna||DirectX 10.0|
|Nintendo Wii Flash Game Creator’s Guide: Design, Develop, and Share Your Games Online||Todd Perkins||Flash|
|ShaderX6: Advanced Rendering Techniques||Wolfgang Engel|
This section will cover books related to game development published in the year 2009.
|3D game development with Microsoft Silverlight 3: beginner’s guide||Gastón C. Hillar||creating real-time responsive online 3D games in Siliverlight 3 using C#, XBAP WPF, XAML, Balder, and Farseer Physics Engine|
|ActionScript for Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds||Jobe Makar||Flash|
|Artificial intelligence for games||Ian Millington and John Funge|
|Character Animation With Direct3D||Carl Granberg||DirectX|
|Collaborative Online Game Creation||Nanu Swamy and Naveena Swamy||Flash|
|David Perry on Game Design: A Brainstorming ToolBox||David Perry and Rusel DeMaria||Game Design|
|Game audio development||Aaron Marks, Jeannie Novak|
|Game Design Foundations||Roger Pedersen|
|Game engine architecture||Jason Gregory|
|Microsoft XNA game studio creator’s guide||Stephen Cawood, Pat McGee|
|RPG Programming with XNA Game Studio 3.0||Jim Perry||XNA|
|ShaderX7: Advanced Rendering Techniques||Wolfgang Engel|
|Ultimate Game Programming with DirectX||Allen Sherrod|
|Unity game development essentials||Will Goldstone||Unity|
We tend to only cover retro games on this site and although the term retro means different things to different people, we have decided not to list game development books from 2010 and beyond. However we would like to list books published after 2010 if they are about Retro Game Development, that is what this section is for.
Most of these books employ modern tools to create games for retro hardware such as the ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 through emulators which is a lot more accessible than using hardware and software from the time period.
This section will cover:
In Ethan Johnson’s excellent book Candid Conversations in Code he interviews eight talented game programmer from the 1970s;
The Game Programming Starter Kit was software that was released in 6 different versions by 2 different publishers (Sams and then McMillan). It was one of the best ways for new developers to learn game development with industry standard technologies. It is one of the few products that could almost guarantee to put students on the right path for the games industry.
The first version was released in 1994 by Andre LaMothe and published by Sams, it consisted of 2 CDs and a full 900 page physical copy of Teach Yourself Game Programming in 21 Days. Not only that but it contained the full retail version of Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0 along with the eBook version of Teach Yourself Visual C++ in 21 Days.
It also claims to have a full 2D DOS game engine on the CDs but we don’t know much information about it.
The Second version was released in 1997 by Macmillan Digital Publishing but I have never seen a copy to be able to detail what it contained and information online is severely lacking.
The Third version was released in 1999 by Macmillan Digital Publishing and consisted of 3 CDs and the full physical copy of Game Design Secrets of the Sages! It also includes the DirectX 6.1 SDK and an SDK called Genesis 3D but only included the Introductory Edition of Visual C++ 6.0. Genesis 3D did come with its own level editor which supported Direct3D and 3Dfx Glide drivers.
This time it contained three ebooks on the Disks:
The Fourth version was released in 2000 by Macmillan Software and only consisted of 2 CDs this time. On those 2 CDs was the same Introductory Edition of Visual C++ 6.0 as the previous version and version 3.1 of the Genesis 3D SDK. The DirectX SDK was updated to version 7.0 and it came with a new 3D animation tool called Shadow Realm Model Animator.
This time it only contained two ebooks but they were arguably better for game development as it now includes DirectX:
The physical book that was included this time was the Second Edition of Game Design Secrets of the Sages by Marc Saltzman which is a really interesting book published by BradyGames.
The Fifth version was released in 2001 by Pearson Software but we don’t currently know what was on the CDs. We can presume it has Version 8 of DirectX and most likely the same Introductory Edition of Visual C++ 6.0 as the previous versions.
It also may have included software called 3D GameStudio Standard version 5.12 but this is only confirmed by one source 6.
We know that one of the eBooks included on the CDs was:
We do know however that the physical book that was included this time was the Third Edition of Game Design Secrets of the Sages by Marc Saltzman. This books seems to be rather rare as I have never seen it for sale outside of this bundle.
The mythical sixth version may have released in 2002 but there is no photos of it existing at all online. One source claims it included DarkBASIC SE which is a large departure from the standard Visual C++ and DirectX combo of the previous versions.
Did it include a Fourth edition of Game Design Secrets of the Sages? Who Knows?