Magazines (Games Industry)

Edit on Github | Updated: 22nd May 2022

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.


Games Industry Magazines

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.

Title Publisher Notes
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)
Wireframe Raspberry Pi Press From November 2018 and still going strong in May 2022!

Wireframe Magazine

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

Relevant Articles

It is worth reading the entire Wireframe issues cover-to-cover but here is a table of the articles most relevant to game development:

Issue Name
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

Games Specific Magazines

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.

Title Notes
EDGE UK magazine that contained interviews with game developers and even adverts for Development Kits
GamesTM UK Magazine that contained interviews with Game developers
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

PSi2 Magazine

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!

PSi2 Magazine CDs

Some of the Magazine CDs/DVDs contained Video content on behind the scenes information for upcoming games, such as interviews with developers.

Issue Number Content
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

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.

Title Notes
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 (USA)

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:

  • Editor’s Note - Also available fully on their Website
  • Letters - Published user letters sent to the magazine (Only in physical Magazine)
  • Spotlight - News and Products (Also on Website)
  • Tech Watch - Interesting articles (Only in physical Magazine)
  • Portfolio - Presumably Not got copyright permission from individual authors for publishing on their website
  • User Focus
  • Products - Also available on their Website

Relevant Articles

The table below focuses on the articles related to Game Development, the list is still a WIP:

Issue Title Author Notes
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 (USA)

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.

Articles

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:

Issue Article Title
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 (UK)

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 1.

Computer Arts Issues

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.

Number Date Title
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
5 1997-01 3D Rendering
6 1997-03 Photo-manipulation
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
13 1997-Winter  
121 2006-04 Design Hotspots
122 2006-05 The Money Issue
123 2006-06 50 Ways to Become a Better Designer
130 2006-12 Create Perfect Characters
135 2007-05 Branch out
136 2007-06 Be The best
137 2007-07 Illustrate » Animate
140 2007-09 Global Challenge
141 2007-10 The Inspiration Issue - Young Guns
143 2007-12 Logo Secrets
148 2008-05  
150 2008-07  
151 2008-08  
152 2008-Summer  
153 2008-09  
154 2008-10  
155 2008-11  
156 2008-12  
157 2009-01  
162 2009-06  
168 2009-11  
172 2010-03  
173 2010-04  
175 2010-06  
177 2010-08  
178 2010-Summer  
179 2010-09  
180 2010-10  
181 2010-11  
182 2010-12  

Free Book Extracts

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.

Issue Book Name Notes
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 EXPOSE 5  
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

Free Resources

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.

Issue Free Resource Notes
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 Pentagram documentary  
121 Lynda.com Dreamweaver 8 Essential Training  
121 50 iStockphoto images  
121 16 Typephases fonts  
122 MyPictureMarc Freeware
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  
130 Jeremyville videos  
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 CG Wallpapers  
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

Free Full products

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.

Issue Free Product Notes
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  
122 TaxCalc Lite  
123 Cleanerzoomer 1.0.1 PC only, removes artifacts from images
136 Bryce 5.0  

Web Designer Magazine (UK)

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].

Total-Web-Design

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

Editors

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.

Issues

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:

Number Date Title
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
93 2004-05 ?
94 2004-05 ?
95 2004-06 The Perfect Web Site Makeover
96 2004-07 Make your site sticky
97 2004-08 Photoshop Secrets
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
106 2005-05 RSS
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.

Issue # Category Author Title
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.


References