To get you started on your game development career, here we present some ideas for websites, books and freely downloadable software that may be of help. Please note that this information is intended purely to give some pointers to get you started, inclusion of any entry does not imply any connection to or endorsement from Blitz Games Studios for the product, website or resource.
This book offers practically the only comprehensive insight into getting into the industry. Includes detailed job roles, art and programming tips, interview advice and much more. Well worth taking a look at.
This book, and companion CD, provide all you need to create your own games for Microsoft Windows using Game Maker. It introduces beginners of all ages to the art of creating computer games.
A great site that shows you ALL the games developers on a map of the world with contact details.
In February 2011, NESTA published a report co-written by Ian Livingstone for the games industry and Alex Hope for the VFX industry. The report drew on a huge consultation with developers and VFX artists; it gives an alarming picture of the state of creative digital skills in the UK and makes important recommendations for the future.
There is an accompanying video (currently 3rd on the page, titled 'Livingstone-Hope Skills Review trailer, Next Gen'), featuring the best of the UK’s games and VFX talent.
The Computer Games Journal exists to publish and allow discussion on research and related work on computer games development. It contains communications and review papers, essays, selected papers and posters from conference proceedings, and selected chapters from BSc/MSc/PhD dissertations.
The source of up-to-date information on training and education, tips for getting started and news of any upcoming initiatives in the Computer Games industry.
E-skills UK's site for digital careers, focusing here on the games industry.
A really useful website with news and information on careers in games.
Quite a good personal website containing advice about getting into the industry from Dave Perry who formed Shiny Entertainment and created the Earthworm Jim series of games.
Games Development section on the Government's careers advice website.
An unofficial but informative round-up of American games courses.
Tiga is the trade association representing the business and commercial interests of games software developers in the UK and Europe.
The International Game Developers' Association website.
The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the British computer and video game industry.
Daily newsletter for the games industry (one of several).
European Games Industry News site.
One of the best consumer video games sites around.
European Games Industry News site, linked to the print version of MCV.
This site has lots of excellent articles about all aspects of development. Linked with Game Developer magazine, this site has a wealth of interesting information and news for programmers, artists, musicians, producers, etc with some great coding tutorials.
Very useful site with loads of well-written articles on how to do just about anything game related. Also has a very active forum with many competent and helpful readers. This is one of many places where you can get addresses for game developers.
A website dedicated to games development, the site is best known for its Game and Graphics Engines Database.
If you want to get into games you need to be familiar with graphics. OpenGL is a very good multi-platform graphics system and has articles and a forum frequented by most of the OpenGL community. OpenGL is also widely taught in colleges and universities and is well worth learning.
This online bookstore features books covering all aspects of computer graphics including animation, modelling and rendering.
The WorldForge Project is developing a complete, distributable framework for massively multiplayer online roleplaying games. The system will include a number of fully developed roleplaying worlds with unique maps, histories, creatures and legends.
Gamer Dad - a blog about video games, parenting, violence and children. American Andrew S. Bub reviews games (and films and television), and provides a forum where parents can ask questions and discuss issues of concern to them and their children.
The site offers tools and hints and tips to help create a dialogue between parents and kids regarding "smart" videogame playing.
Monthly UK magazine looking at 3D graphic tips and techniques as well as developments in computer generated imagery for film, TV, games, online, etc.
UK monthly trade magazine with news and reviews of development tools/processes etc.
Monthly UK magazine covering industry developments and trends as well as game previews and reviews.
US magazine featuring articles on development, post mortems etc.
Monthly UK magazine covering industry developments and trends as well as game previews and reviews.
Weekly PR and marketing trade paper with all the latest news and events from the games industry.
Andrew Loomis. (Fun With a Pencil (1939), Figure Drawing For All It's Worth (1943), Creative Illustration (1947), Successful Drawing (1951), this book was also republished in a revised edition as Three Dimensional Drawing, Drawing The Head And Hands (1956), The Eye Of The Painter (1961))
Excellent anatomy, with a useful "books to get" list.
30/60 second "Virtual" Life Drawing poses
Useful colour palette site.
Another useful colour palette site.
For useful Zbrush tutorials.
Forum for digital artists.
General 3D website and good for reference. Plenty of tutorials, discussions and news on the industry - if you need a first point of contact as a 3D artist this is a good start.
A great resource full of a wide range of concept art examples. Check the competition, learn new techniques and get brutal feedback on your work.
Definitive guide to all things 3D. Post your work on the message boards and receive critique - or critique other's work for useful feedback. You can submit models and artwork in competitions most months.
Explains the fundamentals of 3D graphics (lights, textures, viewports, etc).
A great article from CG society on Blitz art.
Skillset's VFX handbook provides VFX talent with roadmap to future success.
Especially good for digital 2D art.
3D World Magazine
Easily the most detailed and comprehensive book on character animation. Essential reading. If you only buy one book on animation, make it this one
Widely considered to be one of the best books ever published on the topic of character animation. The book gives many glimpses into the workings of the animation masters at Disney's during the Golden Age of animation. It is a frequently used reference among professional animators.
The first book about acting theory that is written specifically for animators.
In this comprehensive title, famed animator Preston Blair shares his expertise on how to develop a cartoon character, create dynamic movement, and coordinate dialogue with action. Topics include character development, line of action, dialogue, timing, and, of course, animation!
Crafting a perfect render in 3D software means nailing all the details. And no matter what software you use, your success in creating realistic-looking illumination, shadows and textures depends on your professional lighting and rendering techniques.
For years, this was the textbook used by in-house artists to learn the ropes at Warner Bros.
Written by one of the best and most respected 3D artists in the First-Person-Shooter genre, and responsible for creating all the characters in Quake 3. Step-by-step detailed instructions on how to make great 3D characters from the ground up.
A 215-page comic book about comics that explains the inner workings of the medium and examines many aspects of visual communication along the way. Understanding Comics was a Harvey and Eisner winner, and was praised in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly and Wired.
Dynamic life drawing for animators by Mike Mattesi
Facial Modelling and Animation Done Right by Jason Osipa
Bend bows, stretchy IK solutions.
Sign up and download videos from here to learn how to use the packages you need to know.
Animators should go to the notes section, download the notes and read them.
Useful for seeing how a real person walks in certain moods.
Storyboarding / visualising / cinematography
Storyboarding / visualising / cinematography
Storyboarding / visualising / cinematography
This site has free mocap to download and experiment with.
Monthly US magazine looking at animation developments in TV, film, games, etc.
Quite an esoteric book and favoured by academics, but worth a look all the same.
The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema.
A multi-author book complied by Borwick
Games have become as much a genre of pop culture as film or television, but game design has yet to develop a theoretical framework or critical vocabulary. In Rules of Play, Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman offer an impassioned defence and definition of this emerging field.
This goes through the whole process from idea to final code and has several interviews with top name coders. It also goes through how to write a GDD etc. It is a theory book though, not technical, and can be very informative and useful (it also has a CD with several software development packages on it).
Game design basics.
A fascinating insight into the considerations you should be making when designing games for a non-typical audience. Full of ideas that can feel counter-intuitive to people who love video games the way they are.
An excellent guide to expressing complex ideas via diagrams for easy understanding. It's not written with game design in mind, but it's easy to see how the ideas can be appropriated and used to explain exactly how and why your game mechanics fit together. Since communication is such a crucial part of a designer's role, this book can provide you with some invaluable tools.
Decipher the arcane mysteries behind role-playing game development tools like plot trees, world bibles, design documents, and game scripts.
This book is a few years old now, but does a good job of covering the theories behind a broad range of Game Development areas including art, design, sound, programming, PR and marketing.
This was intended as a guide to writing for TV and film, but it's very applicable to the games industry. The focus is on the structure of a story and gives practical strategies for creating or improving your narratives. This may be more useful for the more experienced, rather than outright beginners.
Authored by Ralph Koster, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment, A Theory of Fun for Game Design features a novel way of showing interactive designers how to improve their designs to incorporate the highest degree of fun.
A classic introduction to the principles of architecture.
A free game creation tool.
An excellent article called "Student Illusions About Being a Game Designer"
This is an interesting new game design initiative for children, particularly as it's a free to play and create/subscription model. E-Line media is run (at time of posting) by Alan Gershenfeld, ex-Activision and currently co-chair of Games for Change which is a US-based organisation that has been lobbying for the use of games in social and educational arenas.
Slimmed-down version of Microsoft's premier development environment used extensively throughout the games industry. Learning to write C++ with Visual Studio will stand you in good stead for your career.
Software Development Kit for the DirectX libraries essential to any game development for PC platforms. Extensive documentation and samples for this ubiquitous cutting edge SDK make it an excellent resource.
Free version of the heavyweight Maya modelling, animation and rendering package, ideal for creating resources for game development.
XNA Game Studio 3.0 enables programmers to create video games for Windows and the Xbox 360 console (with an active XNA Creators Club membership) using optimised cross-platform gaming libraries based on .NET. Most large established games companies will not use XNA, because it is based on C# rather than C++, but you can learn a great deal about how games are constructed and about console development.
Cross-platform IDE for software development from the Eclipse Foundation. Not many games companies use this but it gives you an alternative to the standard that is Microsoft Visual Studio.
Open source 3D modelling package with a Python-based game scripting language.
Simple DirectMedia Layer is a cross-platform multimedia library designed to provide low level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick, 3D hardware via OpenGL, and 2D video framebuffer.
Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. If you have no experience in programming it is a great way to get immediate feedback for your ideas while learning a C++ style syntax.
While the operating systems GNU/Linux, BSD and Mac OSX are very rarely used for developing code for console games, it is useful to understand how they differ from the Windows OS. Games consoles have their own bespoke operating systems and libraries which have little resemblance to DirectX or OpenGL. Many of the tools and utilities for consoles are based on GNU/Linux and have their origins in the open source community.Ubuntu Apple Developer Connection SourceForge.net
There are a plethora of ideas and concepts from which any programmer can learn and your future career may not be directly working on games for Windows or games consoles. While Java is not used in console gaming, other video games platforms such as the web and mobile phones do use this language. Web games more commonly use Adobe Flash (previously Macromedia Flash) although the development environment is not free (or cheap).Sun Developer Network - Java Adobe Flash
Ideal for learning the nuts and bolts of C++ development, primarily concerning itself with list management (searching and sorting) and circumstances under which each list type is needed.
Several people here at Blitz learnt C++ from this book and also learnt Java from Ivor's Beginning Java book. The author's writing style is easy to understand and all the code fragments are well written and laid out, teaching the reader a tidy way to write C++ programs.
Not so much a 'learn how to program' book but rather a huge C/C++ reference. It's laid out so that everything is really easy to look up making it very useful to have sat by your keyboard while you're working.
This exceptionally useful text offers Scott Myers's expertise in C++ class design and programming tips. The second edition incorporates recent advances to C++ included in the ISO standard, including namespaces and built-in template classes, and is required reading for any working C++ developer.
This book is absolutely vital and is written by the guy who invented the language. It thoroughly explains the ins-and-outs of C++.
These are quite advanced but incredibly useful, and every coder should have one. The text is very relevant, well organised, and easy to understand. Each book comes with a CD of tutorials and example code, which again are slightly advanced, but they do contain a huge number of tricks occasionally with example C source code.
It's a few years old now but the stuff it goes over is still quite useful for complete beginners. It starts you off with how to set up your compiler for DirectX, explains game loops and covers direct input and direct draw, but there's no 3D stuff in there.
The bible of computer graphics containing everything you ever wanted to know from lines to solid geometry. It doesn't just tell you the theory of each of the algorithms but also gives solid examples in C. The only down side is that some of the hardware examples are showing their age. This is one of those books that is useful to have around once you gain more experience and knowledge; you'll find yourself referring back to it with much more understanding of the subject.
A wide-ranging introductory text that exposes readers to the main themes in modern computational geometry. Each chapter introduces a sub-field of computational geometry via natural problems and basic algorithms; exercises and notes help to flesh out the chapter material.
It's hard to get away from 3D maths in computer games and this book covers all the major areas specifically aimed at the games programmer. This book explains everything maths related that you need to know - vector and matrix maths, quaternions and collision checking. Starts simple and explains how things are useful before going all the way to the full mathematical proofs.
A really useful book for getting started in games programming using DirectX. It's a little out-dated now and the book only covers 2D, but it is well written and covers all the main concepts which can be transferred into 3D games programming.
Probably the single best book for programming using OpenGL. Although OpenGL has fallen out of fashion, this book and learning OpenGL can be a good starting point into 3D as it is more initially accessible than DirectX. The book covers all the projection, culling, texturing, etc. which are relevant to any graphics API you finally use.
This is a recommended general AI text from a number of sites and is also one of the recommended texts on degree courses. It contains all the useful searching algorithms including A* and MiniMax and is covered with easy-to-understand examples.
A very good (if a little advanced) book describing how the laws of physics can be applied to a game situation. Contains annotated C code.
A good introduction for people interested in putting physics in games.
Allows you to create Android apps and games using the Scratch programming environment. It's also all cloud-hosted which is quite neat.
Alice v2.0 is the next major version of the Alice 3D Authoring system, from the Stage3 Research Group at Carnegie Mellon University. It has been completely rewritten from scratch over the past few years. The focus of the Alice project is to provide the best possible first exposure to programming for students ranging from middle schoolers to college students.
An excellent entry-level programming package that will teach you the principles of 2D and 3D programming without making you learn C++ first.
Another entry level programming system that you can use to test out simple projects without learning C++ and all the libraries first.
A useful resource for AI programmers with plenty of links to websites and book recommendations.
The site contains many tutorials for hobbyists and professionals alike, with a noticeable focus on computer programming.
This site is no longer maintained but you can get some interesting stuff from the archives though (FlipCode Archives)