One of the best ways to get an insight into the games industry is to look at the magazines that were available at the time, both game-specific magazines and digital/creative magazines have a wealth of information.
Occasionally you can be lucky enough to find a whole magazine specifically dedicated to Game Development but they can be few and far between.
Unfortunately, most are now defunct but one excellent title remains until the time of writing: Wireframe magazine, if you are in a position to support this magazine I would strongly recommend it.
|Develop||NewBayMedia||UK Magazine which was published from August 1996 Until November 2017|
|Game Developer||UBM Tech||US Magazine which was published from March 1994 until July 2013|
|GameMaker||Future Publishing||UK magazine dedicated to Game Modding and Development. Only 1 issue was published in October 2003 before it became a supplement for the PC Format magazine (which also didn’t last long)|
|Journal of Computer Game Design||Self Published||From June 1987 until 1993 when it rebranded to Interactive Entertainment Design|
|Wireframe||Raspberry Pi Press||From November 2018 and lasted until January 2023 (70 issues)|
The “Journal of Computer Game Design” was founded by Chris Crawford, a well-known game designer and developer, in June 1987 1. The journal’s primary focus was on computer and video game design. It was one of the first publications to provide insights and discussions on the art and science of game design.
The journal featured articles, essays, and discussions about various aspects of game design, development, and theory. It covered topics such as game mechanics, narrative design, player engagement, and industry trends.
The “Journal of Computer Game Design” attracted contributions from influential figures in the game industry, including both seasoned designers and emerging talents. It provided a platform for developers to share their knowledge and ideas with a growing community of game creators.
The journal served as an educational resource for aspiring game designers and developers. It offered insights into the game design process and helped establish a foundation for the formal study of game design.
The journal was influential in shaping the early understanding of game design principles and the importance of player experience in video games. It played a role in advancing the field of game design and fostering a sense of community among game creators.
The “Journal of Computer Game Design” ceased publication in the early 1990s. While it had a significant impact during its existence, it was succeeded by other publications and academic efforts dedicated to game design and development.
The “Journal of Computer Game Design” was an important early resource for the game development community, contributing to the growth and maturation of the video game industry. While it may no longer be in print, its legacy continues through the ongoing discussions and academic studies surrounding game design and development.
Wireframe is an excellent magazine that blends developer interviews with practical tutorials such as how to implement various game mechanics in programming languages such as python or even C programming for the original Game Boy!
They even release all the issues they make free on their website in pdf form for everyone (not just subscribers).
Thankfully Wireframe magazine is still producing issues in 2022, we highly suggest you support the publication by subscribing to them, this isn’t a sponsor slot honest, it is the only remaining print magazine related to Game Development!
You can view all the issues on their official website: Issues — Wireframe Magazine
It is worth reading the entire Wireframe issues cover-to-cover but here is a table of the articles most relevant to game development:
|1||City Craft - The design Theory behind video game cities|
|1||Source Code - How particle physics turned Defender into a coin-op classic|
|1||Maths of balance - Examining the curves and formulae behind the games we play|
There are many magazines related to Gaming both past and present, however only a few of them have interesting articles about game development, the ones we know about are listed in the table below.
|Computer Gaming World||USA Magazine that ran from 1981-2006|
|EDGE||UK magazine that contained interviews with game developers and even adverts for Development Kits|
|GamesTM||UK Magazine that contained interviews with Game developers|
|GameBytes||MS-DOS based application for an interactive magazine released on BBS between 1992-1994 https://www.dosgames.com/gamebytes.php|
|PC Gamer||Long Running UK Magazine dedicated to PC Gaming, sometimes has game developer and modding content|
|PSi2||Published by Thin ice media (Datel) this occasionally contains top quality articles about Homebrew and Game Development for the Playstation 2|
|Retro Gamer||Long running UK Magazine dedicated to Retro games, often has interviews with game developers|
GameBytes was a very unique magazine as it wasn’t published in a traditional sense, it was released for free online on Bulletin Board Systems, it was also unique in its format as it was an actual interactive MS-DOS Application!
Over its relativly short life span it obtained some very interesting articles related to the Game development industry, including multiple reviewes of the Computer Game Developers Conference in 1994.
You can experience the magazines online through an emulator on DOSGames.com.
The magazine EDGE is famous for hiring many of the engineers at Rare due to their advertisements (such as Dr Doak).
Published by Thin-Ice Media (Owned by Datel) it was the only non-official Playstation 2 magazine to include a playable CD every issue.
Each CD would contain a few Action Replay Cheats and save games that can be applied to a few select games, it formed as a good advertisement to Datel’s Action Replay product.
Whether it was always intended to be just another advertisement route for Datel or not, it ended up having a good run of 38 issues or just over 3 years on High Street shelves!
Some of the Magazine CDs/DVDs contained Video content on behind the scenes information for upcoming games, such as interviews with developers.
|21||Trailers for Auto Modellista, Red Dread Revolver, Dino Stalker, JoJo’s Bizare Adventure and others|
|22||Behind the Scenes of V-Rally 3|
|23||Talking about the Mechanics of The Thing|
|28||Trailer of travel documentaries from Pilot Guides to places like Mexico, Spain, India (Pilot Film and Television Productions Home Page)|
|29||The Making of Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness|
Creative Magazines related to topics such as art/3d graphics and even web development are just as valuable a source as gaming magazines for the time as they would often talk about industry events and software that were often used by game developers.
|3D Artist||UK magazine published by Imagine Publishing from 2009 until December 2019|
|3D World||Global magazine from ? and still going today|
|Computer Artist||USA magazine From 1994 until at least 1997 published by PennWell Publishing Company|
|Computer Arts||UK magazine from 1995 until 2020 but was also published globally|
|Computer Graphics World||USA magazine from 1977 until 2022 published by PennWell Publishing Company|
|Digit||UK magazine that was published by IDG and lasted 112 issues until it got renamed into Digital Arts|
|Digital Arts||UK magazine|
|Linux User & Developer||UK magazine that was published for 19 years and reached issue 196|
|Photoshop Creative||until September 2018|
|Web Desginer||UK magazine from 2004 until ?|
|.net||UK magazine published until May 2020|
Computer Graphics World (CGW) is one of the longest running magazines dedicated to computer graphics, published initially in the late 70s right up to the present day (2022+).
One of the good things about CGW is that they have articles from each issue available on their web page, going all the way back to 1999.
However one of the bad things is that they seem to actively take down PDFs of pre-1999 issues from sites such as Archive.org. This really is a shame as they are one of the best resources to see the state of the art in 3D graphics at a particular point in time.
Since this website is dedicated to real-time applications of computer graphics the most useful years are from the 90s onwards when colourful 2D and 3D graphics become possible on consumer hardware.
The magazine is formed of 80+ pages of content, some of which are adverts (interesting CG tool adverts however!) and the following main content sections:
The table below focuses on the articles related to Game Development, the list is still a WIP:
|1990-06||Visualizing Math||Lisa Stapleton||May give interesting information used by early 3D game developers|
|1990-06||Stereo 3D||Phillip Robinson||Very early article on Stereoscopic 3D (does it mention Master System 3D?)|
|1990-12||Silicon Graphics Straddles PC\Workstation Market||Unknown||Early SGI articles are always interesting|
|1991-02||A Real-Time Stroll||Unknown||Early real-time graphics from 1991|
|1991-03||The Video Toaster||Unknown||Later became Lightwave3D|
|1991-05||3D from the Ground Up||Unknown||Might have interesting technical details|
|1991-06||Algorithmic Advancements||Peter Sorensen||These algorithms influenced CG and game developers|
|1991-10||Painting in 3D||Barbara Robertson||Early 3D painting technology|
|1992-03||Virtual Reality||Arielle Emmett|
|1992-03||Multimedia Development||Unknown||Games are multimedia so might be an interesting article for a 1992 perspective|
|1992-05||Let the Games Begin||Diana Phillips Mahoney|
|1992-05||The market for virtual reality||Unknown||Early VR tech|
|1992-07||SIGGRAPH ‘92 Preview||Unknown||Would be good to see what was shown at SIGGRAPH 1992|
|1992-11||Modeling Made Easy||Caren D. Potter|
|1992-12||Galactic Graphics||Patricia Barnes-Svarney|
|1993-01||Prime-Time Proving Ground for 3D Graphics||Barbara Robertson|
|1993-06||Kicking the Tires of VR Software||Louis M. Brill|
|1993-07||Hell-Bent on Adventure||Gaye L. Graves|
|1993-08||The Amiga: Is it Time You Took a Second Look?||Rick Cook|
|1993-09||Terrain Modeling||Laura Lang|
|1993-10||Evaluating 3D on the High End||Tim Forcade|
|1993-12||The Games People Play||Laureen Belleville|
|1994-09||Interacting With the Gods||T. Reveaux|
|1994-10||Inside the Game Developer’s Toolbox||D. Coco|
|1994-11||Exploring the Options Beyond 3D Studio||D. Pope|
|1994-12||Fresh Paint: Like word processing, page-layout, and image-editing programs, 3D painting software-which enables artists to paint texture maps directly and interactively onto 3D models-is one of those technologies that seems impossible to imagine ever having been without||B. Robertson|
|1995-02||3D conquers the PC||Donna Coco|
|1995-04||User Snapshots - Animations help sell cereal. Creating cartoon characters for new CD-ROM game.||Unknown|
|1995-05||Driving VR||Diana Phillips Mahoney|
|1995-05||Plug-Ins Electrify 3D Studio||Barbara Robertson|
|1995-05||Model Shop - Designing a watch with Alias Studio||Unknown|
|1995-12||Real-Time 3D Games Take Off||Donna Coco||CGW: Feature: Real-Time 3D Games Take Off (12.95)|
|1995-12||Capturing Motion||George Maestri||Only in Physical Magazine|
|1995-12||Architecture for the Fun of It||Diana Phillips Mahoney||Only in Physical Magazine|
|1996-01||3D Graphics Accelerators for PC Game Development||Audrey Doyle||CGW: News: 3D Graphics Accelerators for PC Game Development (01.96)|
|1996-03||Graphics for Games - Workstation||Laureen Belleville||CGW: Products: Graphics for Games - Workstation (03.96)|
|1996-04||A Window of Opportunity?||George Maestri||Takes a look at the three Windows NT compatible 3D animation suites (Softimage, Lightwave and 3DS Max)|
|1996-12||New Tools for 3D Gamers||Donna Coco||CGW: Feature: New Tools for 3D Gamers (12.96)|
|2006-12||Middle Ground - The use of third-party middleware within the entertainment realm is expanding||Michael Arrington|
Computer Artist was a monthly magazine published every 2 months by the PennWell Publishing Company in the US and dedicated to Digital art creation Computer Artist – PennWell Publishing Company. It is currently unknown when the first issue was published but the last issue was in June 1997 when it merged into Electronic Publishing magazine.
Due to their age Computer Artist issues are hard to find, but the ones we can find had the following articles listed in the table below:
|1996-08||Profile: Louis Fishauf - When this award-winning Canadian graphic designer picked up digital tools a decade ago, his illustration work came to the fore.|
|1996-08||Lean and Clean Art - Vector illustration programs are the preferred tool of some of today’s most original and creative digital artists.|
|1996-08||Clip Art’s New Life - Digital tools and ever-tighter schedules have re-energized one of design’s most venerable resources.|
|1996-08||Soft Shadows in QuarkXPress - Depending on the effect you’re after, one or more of these workable approaches may fill the bill.|
|1996-08||Shapes Functionality Empowers Painter 4 - Resolution-independent “Shapes” add new dimensions to Painter’s flexibility.|
|1997-02||Editorial: The Algorithmic Artist|
|1997-02||Behind the Art; Creators of Children’s Books Go Digital - Exploring Textile Design|
|1997-02||Makeready: The Fifth-Color Follies - A fifth color on press can enhance images, too.|
|1997-02||Review: Fractal Design Takes Painting to 3D|
|1997-02||Profile: Ken Musgrave - This landscape artist, who paints by programming, has just moved from an East Coast academic setting to Hollywood’s hottest special-effects house.|
|1997-02||The Computer Artist’s Studio - Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating your digital tools, these guidelines include the latest considerations for artists and designers.|
|1997-02||Bit by Bit: Taking it to the Web - FreeHand 7 offers a variety of ways to put images on the Web, as this exercise shows.|
Computer Arts was a popular UK magazine dedicated to 2D and 3D creation on PC/Mac, it contained a wealth of information related to asset creation for game development.
It lasted 305 issues before the pandemic in 2020 stopped production of the magazine, if you can find back issues of this magazines they are well worth picking up 2.
Computer Arts was initially published as a one off in December 1995 but then became bi-monthly in July 1996 and eventually switched over to being Monthly in September 1997.
|1||1995-12||Seeing is Believing|
|2||1996-07||The Secrets of Digital Art|
|3||1996-09||Get the hang of Scale|
|4||1996-11||100 Photoshop Tips|
|7||1997-05||Techniques for Textures|
|8||1997-07||Increase your Photoshop Skills|
|9||1997-09||Develop your 3D Skills with Extreme 3D|
|10||1997-10||Compositing with xRes|
|122||2006-05||The Money Issue|
|123||2006-06||50 Ways to Become a Better Designer|
|130||2006-12||Create Perfect Characters|
|136||2007-06||Be The best|
|137||2007-07||Illustrate » Animate|
|141||2007-10||The Inspiration Issue - Young Guns|
The accompanying CD for Computer Arts often had extracts from popular industy books in PDF format, this was a great way to both advertise the book in question and supply useful content for artists. Much of these are extracts from books that game artists would almost certainly have in their collection.
|130||Reinventing Music Video|
|130||Advertising is Dead: Long live Advertising|
|137||ESSENCE: The Face||Chapter on simulating tissue damage for Face Textures by Paul Fedor. Pages 142-150|
|137||Character Animation: 2D Skills for Better 3D||Extract for taking a 2D Dog walking animation and turning it into a 3D animation. Pages 152-157|
|137||Sticker City: Paper Graffiti Art||Pages 118-119, 130-131, 142-143, 147-147|
|140||Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-on-One||Pages 302-355 but it’s missing the actual images!!|
|140||Painter X Creativity: Digital Artists Handbook||Pages 19-34 and 229-248|
|141||Secrets of Digital Illustration|
|143||Choosing and Using Paper||Book by RotoVision, free pages 0-21|
|143||How to Cheat in Adobe Flash||Pages 2-5 and page 33|
|143||The Adobe photoshop Layers Book||Pages 1-5|
Often the CDs would contain free resources from around the Web, such as a few sample hours of Video training courses or templates/images. One awesome thing they started doing was including full PDFs for issues from 2 years prior but sadly this didn’t last very long.
|1||Viewpoint and Nvision Datasets||3D models in Alias and Wavefront formats including a scorpion, skyscraper, dinosaur, lazer equipped truck and even an army general|
|1||Truespace 2.0||Animation and Rendering suite|
|1||Adobe Premiere 4.0||Save disabled version of the movie editor|
|1||Calamus 95||Windows 95 version of the popular Atari ST Desktop Publishing (DTP) package, save-disabled demo version|
|1||Photoshop 3.0||Fully featured demo version of photoshop but save is disabled|
|121||50 photoshop plugins for Digital Darkroom|
|121||Lynda.com Dreamweaver 8 Essential Training|
|121||50 iStockphoto images|
|121||16 Typephases fonts|
|122||Lynda.com Flash 8 Professional Essential Training|
|122||4 Fontoville fonts|
|122||3 Media Artist Secrets podcasts|
|123||Maxdox Mobile Publisher Personal Edition||Freeware mobile publishing software|
|123||5 ShowStoppersFX motion backgrounds||5 Royalty-free videos|
|123||Lynda.com After Effects 6 Essential Training|
|123||30 PhotoObjects images||30 Royalty free images used in the tutorial for Adobe Bridge|
|123||Issue 100 PDF||PDF for each page of the 100th Issue of Computer Arts|
|130||50 Fotolia images|
|130||The Designer Series Three: Studio Output|
|130||Lynda.com Illustrator CS2 and Flash 8 Integration training|
|130||10 Icon Republic icons|
|136||Issue 113 PDF||PDF for each page of the 113 Issue of Computer Arts from September 2005|
|136||100 royalty-free Fotolia images|
|136||Ten Project Dogwaffle tutorials|
|136||Lynda.com After Effects 7 Essential Training|
|137||Issue 114 PDF||PDF for each page of the 114 Issue of Computer Arts from October 2005|
|137||Lynda.com Flash CS3 Professional Essential Training||1 hour 13 minutes of content (chapters 2-4) from Lynda.com’s 8 hour Flash training course Flash CS3 Professional Essential Training - lynda.com Online Training Library®|
|137||FlashVillage.com Flash Template||Free Television Template, this was also free on their website: FlashVillage.com - FREE Flash Templates|
|140||FlashVillage.com Flash Template||Orbital Template, this was also free on their website: FlashVillage.com - FREE Flash Templates|
|140||Issue 117 PDFs||PDF for each page of the 114 Issue of Computer Arts from Christmas 2005|
|140||Lynda.com Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques||1 hour of content from Smart Objects (chapter 21) of the 9.5 hour training course|
|141||26 Diomedia royalty-free photos|
|141||Issue 118 PDF||PDF for each page of the 118th Issue of Computer Arts|
|141||Lynda.com Actionscript in Flash CS3 professional Essential Training|
|143||Free CG Wallpapers||4 Desktop Wallpapers from CGWallpapers.com in different resolutions|
|143||Issue 120 PDF||PDF for each page of the 120th Issue of Computer Arts|
|143||50 Free Fonts||Free Fonts available on the web from: ultimatefontdownload.com, haroldsfonts.com, iconian.com, larabiefonts.com|
|143||200 Free CSS Templates||CSS Templates that are free on the web from freecsstemplates.org|
|143||68 free deviantART Photoshop brushes||68 free brushes available on chain.deviantart.com such as fingerprints, footprints and paper|
|143||35 free vector images||Creative Commons Vector art from a wide range of different sites such as LAFKON and Ben Blogged|
|143||7 Go Media Spray Paint brushes||Seven 2500px Photoshop brushes provided by gomedia.us|
|143||Lynda.com Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques||1 hour of content from the Adjustment Layers chapter (number 22) of the 9.5 hour training course|
Occasionally as an incentive to buy the magazine there would be a few paid products that are offered “free” as long as you have bought the magazine. Not all issues included free full products but the ones that did were generally worth picking up, but of course it was always an older version of the products as an incentive to upgrade to the latest versions.
|1||Monitest||Windows 3.1 Application to highlight areas of phosphor damage to a CRT|
|1||Picture Publisher 3.1||2D Image editor by MicroGrafx|
|1||WinImages: Morph V1||Tool by Black Belt that allows you to morph a 2D image into an animation as a standard .AVI movie or .FLC file that can be played with AAPLAY|
|1||Imagine 3.0||Complete 3D program worth £500|
|121||Shade 7 Designer LE|
|122||Carrara Studio 2.1|
|123||Cleanerzoomer 1.0.1||PC only, removes artifacts from images|
Web Designer Magazine was a popular UK magazine purely dedicated to Web development, it was a relaunch of a previous magazine called Practical Internet and was known by the lengthy title Practical Internet Web Designer from issue 86 until dropping the prefix altogether by issue 95 in 2004.
It was initially published by Highbury House until they went into receivership on January 20th 2006 where it was bought by Imagine Publishing, which eventually it was sold to Future Publishing and then discontinued at issue 293 [confirmation required].
Strangely for a magazine dedicated to Web Development, there was no website for the magazine or even its sister title Practical Web Projects. This changed in mid-late 2004 when they bought the domain www.Total-Web-Design.com to represent both magazines.
Web Designer issue number 97 (from August 2004) had a behind the scenes look at the creation of the website, Luckily the Wayback machine has an archive of the website which you can view here: Total Web Design
It was edited by Thomas Watson from the rename of Practical Internet in 2003 until issue 101 where it was taken over by Mark Hattersley in issue 104. Issue 102-103 did not have a named editor and was simply signed off by The Web Designer Team.
Each issue had a main focus but they all contained tutorials for a wide variety of software such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, PHP and Flash.
The issues we know about are listed in the table below:
|86||2003-10||Create Amazing Websites|
|87||2003-11||Sound and Vision|
|88||2003-12||Futuristic Web Design|
|89||2004-01||2004’s Most influential Designers|
|90||2004-02||Build Brilliant Flash Games|
|91||2004-03||Dreamweaver Power Tips|
|92||2004-04||Think like a Webmaster|
|95||2004-06||The Perfect Web Site Makeover|
|96||2004-07||Make your site sticky|
|98||2004-09||Build Amazing Sites that Work|
|99||2004-10||Power Up Dreamweaver|
|100||2004-11||100 professional Web Design Tips|
|101||2004-12||Design on a Budget (Web Designer Man!)|
|102||2005-01||Get Your work Noticed|
|103||2005-02||Hit the Web Template Jackpot|
|104||2005-03||Dreamweaver vs Golive|
|105||2005-04||Pocket Web site Design|
|107||2005-06||Stunning Website Construction|
|108||2005-06||Create an online community|
The magazine had plenty of interesting web programming and graphic creation content, but as the focus of this site is on games development here is a list of the Game related tutorials.
Most of these are for Flash game development but there are also a few Pixel Art tutorials for photoshop mixed in for good measure.
|95||Flash||Lee Groombridge||Create a cool games console interface|
|95||Flash||Robert Firebaugh||Learn how to animate characters in flash|
|95||Flash||Mark Shufflebottom||Create an intro animation with Flash MX 2004|
|96||Photoshop||Andy Stewart||Create A Perfect Pixel Art House In Photoshop|
|96||Photoshop||Zooey Ball||Build An Animated Pixel Art Cityscape|
|97||Flash||Darren Richardson||Create an interactive animated flash quiz|
|101||Flash||Mark Shufflebottom||Create a stunning flash animation with Swift 3D|
Web Designer issue 101 also had a behind the scenes look at the website for Myst IV Revelation which was implemented in Flash MX 2004 and provided a game-like experience.
There are many magazines related to the PC both past and present, however only a few of them have interesting articles about game development, the ones we know about are listed in the table below.
|PC Magazine||Occassionally had a few articles related to game development or programming|
PC magazine called itself “the independent guide to IBM-standard personal computing” and was available from April 1992 until it ceased publication in 2002.
|VOL 13; NUMBER 21 (1994)||Power Programming: Real Games for Windows||Thielen, D||Not available online|
|VOL 15; NUMBER 14 (1996)||Power Programming: Using Microsoft’s high-speed Direct Draw API in an arcade-style action game||Grell, G.|
|ISSUE 126 (1997)||Programmers World: Reviewed this month are a library of useful program source code for Delphi, a DirectX toolkit for VB game programmers, and MSDN|