Recommended Links

Recommended Reads.
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Find links to resources on game design and programming of MMORPGs that are most helpful. Make sure not to miss these gems of knowledge and see the faces behind the genre!


Game Design

Books

The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

by Jesse Schell

It´s a standard book on game design theory. In my opinion, rightly so. The author looks at game design from every possible direction (these are the lenses).

For me, the book was a slow read, because almost every paragraph triggered new ideas. So the best is, to read this book during a project, possibly many times. Make sure to get the latest version.


Theory of Fun for Game Design

by Raph Coster

A good general lecture on game design for beginners. The central thesis is that playing games are a form of learning. The book is a short and entertaining read. Due to its thesis, the book is debated. Form your own opinion.

Raph Koster is known for his work as a lead designer for Ultima Online, one of the first MMORPGs. Make sure to get the latest version.


MMOs from the Inside Out

by Richard Bartle

This book about MMOs is very insightful. The author has a strong personal record in creating the predecessors of today’s MMOs.


The WoW Diary

by John Staats

John Staats did many of World of Warcraft instances and has been with WoW for almost a decade since the very beginning of the project.

For MMORPGs enthusiast, the book is a fascinating lecture. Don´t expect scandals or revolutionary revelations. Rather you learn that creating WoW was pretty much similar to any other big software project with a lot of overtime and effort put in by many talented people.

On the side, you will gain a little insight into how design decisions were made, how many people are needed to create a big MMORPG, the challenge of the Asian market, and some technical details on the first WoW servers.


Story

by Robert McKee

It is a popular misbelief, that story is a priority in games. Good stories make good books, plays, or movies. Good stories can greatly support a game when they are well integrated. After all, most games work best with very simple stories.

However, when you are interested in writing stories for games, Robert McKee is a must-read. This book shows how to dissect stories to their basic elements. And these elements are always the same. Even more, there are fixed rules for good stories, that are independent of culture and time.

The books by Rober McKee are available in many languages and versions.


Game Architecture and Design

by Andrew Rollings & Dave Morris

The book is written in 2003. This was a time where a single book could hope to successfully cover the topics of the title.

The strength of the book that makes it still worth reading or at least browsing is the extensive chapters on project management. The chapters on team motivation and communication are timeless.

Besides, it is insightful to see today’s problems mirrored on a different scale in the past. For instance, the reader learns that C instead of assembler was first considered too slow for 3D games. Until Doom proved the opposite. The book suggests that even C++ might be fast enough for games.

Blogs

Lostgarden

by Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook is a senior game designer who maintains a rich blog on game design. There are a lot of gems to be found inside the blog archive.


Raph Koster´s Site

by himself

Raph Koster is a senior game design that was involved in creating MMORPGs and their predecessors from the very start. He maintains an extensive blog where he shares his design insights.


Programming

Game Programming Patterns

by Bob Nystrom

You can write okay code without ever knowing about patterns. However, if you want to push the limits a little and write very good code, there is no way around them.

And this book is the best way for game programmers to get to know them. Patterns are independent of the programming language. The presented examples are in C++.

The author has a professional game programming background. The writing style is as entertaining as a specialist book can be. Nevertheless, the book is not for beginners.

You will probably never use even a quarter of the patterns described here. However, it is very useful to know about them. The author not only describes the patterns but also makes clear when to use them and what alternatives or tweaks are around.

It is very worth buying this book. Nevertheless, the author has put the complete book online for free.


Clean Code

by Robert C. Martin

You can do small projects and get away with dirty code. However, the bigger your project, the more clean code is essential. Not for style or personal reference, or to feel like a “better programmer”. Rather for pure survival of the project.

The person that will read most of your code is you. So do yourself a favor: write clean code.

The book contains rules, patterns case studies in java. If you are not familiar with java, that shouldn´t be a problem The book addresses general terms that apply to every programming language, for instance, naming conventions.

The book has been translated in several languages.


Blogs

Gabriel Gambetta is a senior game developer. His articles about pathfinding and client-side prediction are so well presented that almost everyone just links to them. So do I.


Game design considerations.
Design Doris
Server Sid
Server Sid

Really appreciate hearing suggestions for more resources!

(Last Updated on May 10, 2021)