REVIEW - Game Architecture and Design


Game Architecture and Design


Andrew Rollings, Dave Morris



Coriolis Group (2000)




Francis Glassborow


June 2000



There is a dictum much hated by some that goes: 'If you cannot do, teach. If you cannot teach, teach teachers.' This book brings that to mind.

Curiously the book inverts the title by dedicating the first part to design. Here we come face to face with the marked differences between software design and what the authors have elected to write about. Even if you are a novice you probably have some sense that good games have to be designed, you may even recognise that a certain artistic flair is needed for a good game. What you will have little idea of is the concept of program design. This book will leave you none the wiser.

The second third of the book is titled 'Team Building And Management'. I find if hard to believe that the newcomer to Game programming has any need for this section, and when you get to the stage where the topic becomes important there are other much better books on the subject. There is nothing game specific to this area and the authors are only regurgitating the lessons that have been spelled out elsewhere. Of course it is possible that the readers of this book will take more notice because of where they are reading it, but my guess is that those who could do anything about it will not be reading this book.

The last third of the book is entitled 'Game Architecture.' All I can say is that much of this section bears little relationship to what I consider architecture.

I picked up this book anticipating a good and beneficial read. I soon became bored and wondered where it was all going. There are plenty of anecdotes and many of them actually do have useful lessons. However the potential reader of a book like this probably expects to learn how to become a games developer. I doubt that at the end of the book they will be much wiser. They may understand why some organisations do not work well and they may even get a glimmer of why so many games have little to offer but they are unlikely to be much further forward as games designers and implementors.

It is possible that my mindset is entirely wrong for this book, so I would gladly pass this book on for a second review from someone who feels they are in the target readership -- someone who wants to learn the craft of design including gameplay and game balance, team structure and software architecture, as well as more elusive creative concepts such as storytelling and style.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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