The two most important books in the game are the first-to-market books. If it seems like we’ve just hit peak PC gaming, you’re right. There haven’t been that many books published that were actually of much importance to games for awhile now, so you should start with the “books-first” books.
Most game designers are very happy making their games with a simple system, but as technology progresses, systems have changed a bit. You’d be surprised how much time and labor is invested in making sure that the player has some knowledge needed to fully understand the systems.
Some of the best books on the business side of games are written by companies that are actually making games. It’s very rare that a book written by a publisher is as useful the game being created by that company. And it’s even more scarce to find a book that provides an alternative to the game (for example, if you’re building a racing, arcade, and platformer game). But the more time you spend researching the business side of game development, the more you realize that the books you read the most are usually the best available.
Another important factor to consider is the quality of the text or slides you’re reading. As the world becomes more computerized and automated, many computer professionals have retired from the field of traditional books. For some, this is okay. For some, this is detrimental. They have their own idea about the importance of reading a book in a specific context and they are better off learning online. But it’s important to be aware that you are not reading the books you’re reading on the same level as you read books in bookstores.
I’d generally recommend spending 5–10 minutes a day learning about how games are printed, printed in the United States, and printed in different parts of the world. After that, the rest would be about understanding the mechanics of the game. You wouldn’t necessarily start with “How can I make my friends kill each other?”, but you’d probably start with “How can I figure out how to make friends who would really kill each other?”
When’s something I should buy?
This is something that is very easy to over-spend at the start or in the initial years of game development. However, it’s important to keep an open mind and learn a lot to the “how-to-make-hundreds-of-people-feel-good-and-buy-stuff” parts. After all, it
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