Game Creation and Careers: Insider Secrets from Industry Experts


Get expert advice on all aspects of game creation from the masters of the games. Saltzman reveals expert advice via interviews with the industry's best-known and most admired game designers like Wil Wright, Peter Molyneux, and Tommy Tallarico, just to name a few. Throughout Masters of the Game, Marc Saltzman chats with more than 150 of the world's most-connected, top-notch game designers about how to create stellar games and break into the business today. Topics covered include creating games for the new ...

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Get expert advice on all aspects of game creation from the masters of the games. Saltzman reveals expert advice via interviews with the industry's best-known and most admired game designers like Wil Wright, Peter Molyneux, and Tommy Tallarico, just to name a few. Throughout Masters of the Game, Marc Saltzman chats with more than 150 of the world's most-connected, top-notch game designers about how to create stellar games and break into the business today. Topics covered include creating games for the new generation platforms such as X-Box, Playstation 2, and GameCube - including online console game design tips and techniques. Massively multiplayer computer games, PDAs, and cell phone game development are also addressed. Saltzman discusses in detail the business side of the game industry, and the pros and cons of working with well-known franchises. Additionally, readers learn how to successfully sell their own shareware via the internet and how to produce PR and marketing on a shoestring. There is also a section on game design schools and courses, plus key conventions, organizations, and publications. Finally, readers find dozens of rare, never-before-seen sketches, storyboards, 3D renders, and documents. This in-depth reference is a "must read" for anyone in the game industry.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
How do you create great games? And, in an industry that’s become serious “big business,” how do get the chance to create great games? In Game Creations and Careers: Insider Secrets from Industry Experts, longtime game industry journalist Marc Saltzman covers every corner of the business, bringing together the insights of no less than 150 of its leaders.

The names will be familiar to any serious gamer. There’s Nintendo’s legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, who conceived characters such as Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, and Link from the Legend of Zelda series. There’s Square’s Hironobu Sakaguchi (the Final Fantasy Series). Jason Rubin from Naughty Dog (Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter). Shinji Mikami, Studio 4, Capcom (Resident Evil). Brendan McNamara, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe/Team Soho (The Getaway).

You name the topic, Saltzman has found folks with a real track record and a willingness to speak candidly. Here’s insight into developing for Playstation 2, Xbox, or GameCube...and PDAs or cell phones. Practical guidance on music, audio, game art, and animation. Hard-won expertise on building intuitive user interfaces and game controls. The fundamental game programming theory every developer needs. The essentials of artificial intelligence. And plenty more.

Saltzman starts with pre-production -- especially the critical game design project phase. “All the glitz and glitter poured into games these days -- expensive art, animation, real actors, the best musicians -- can’t cover up for poor gameplay.” To that end, he brings together articulate, enlightening, usable design advice for every genre. There’s a full chapter on designing action/arcade games; another on strategy games; as well as detailed coverage of design sports games, simulations, adventure games, puzzles, RPGs, and persistent online worlds.

You’ll learn what it takes to create truly memorable characters. For example, as OddWorld’s Lorne Lanning (creator of protagonists like Abe and Munch) observes, “You need to know as much about them as you can conjure up: What they like and dislike, what their dilemmas are, what makes them tick. These are the things that give characters depth.” And you need that depth before you even begin to design your character’s appearance.

Saltzman and his interviewees explain how to create design documents and storyboards that help you instead of hindering you. (There’s even a 15-page Master Design Document Template you can use as a starting point.) You’ll learn how to write great interactive scripts; master the complicated and specialized arts of mission and level design; test your game; plan for technical support and customer service, and more.

For many readers, the most useful section is the one on breaking in. Here, Saltzman covers all your options: creating shareware games, finding game agents and headhunters, formal education at design schools; web-based resources, and more. Saltzman knows the industry inside out, as a columnist, and author of ten books on gaming -- everything from the Game Design: Secrets of the Sages series to Gamer’s Web Directory: Sites, Cheats and Secrets. You can’t get more “inside” than this. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735713673
  • Publisher: New Riders
  • Publication date: 6/10/2003
  • Series: New Riders Games Series
  • Pages: 707
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Saltzman has reported on the bourgeoning consumer technology industry for the past seven years as a freelance journalist, author, lecturer, consultant, and radio and TV personality. His specialties lie in video gaming, computer software and hardware, Internet trends, gadgets, and consumer electronics. Along with his weekly syndicated columns with Gannett News Service,, and, Marc contributes to more than three dozen prominent publications, including USA Today, LA Times, Newsweek, Modern Maturity, Playboy,, Golf Digest, National Post,, Access magazine, and Tribute magazine.

Gannett News Service is the USA's largest newspaper group in terms of circulation. The company's 99 daily newspapers throughout the U.S. have a combined daily paid circulation of 7.8 million.

Marc Saltzman was one of the first journalists in the world to break open the MP3 phenomenon in late 1997 on CNN Interactive ( He correctly predicted this controversial audio file format would revolutionize the recording industry. His 10 books with Pearson Education and McGraw-Hill/Osborne are: Internet Games Directory (1996), Gamer's Web Directory: Sites, Cheats and Secrets (1997), Quake II Strategy Master (1998), Game Design: Secrets of the Sages (1999), Game Design: Secrets of the Sages, Second Edition (2000), Game Design: Secrets of the Sages, Third Edition (2001), Marc Saltzman's 250 Best Palm Games (2001, on CD), Marc Saltzman's Top 300 Games for the PocketPC (2002, on CD), Game Design: Secrets of the Sages, Fourth Edition (2002), and DVD Confidential: Hundreds of Hidden Easter Eggs Revealed (2002).

Marc also contributed to Supercade, Van Burnham's book chronicling the visual history of the video game industry (MIT press). Marc has also written popular in-game manuals for Quake II (id Software/Activision) and Sin (Ritual Entertainment/Activision).

Beginning in May of 2001, Marc became a technology expert at CNN, the Cable News Network. Marc is often a guest to talk about an array of high-tech issues, be it video games, the Internet, computers, or consumer electronics. He can be seen on the television show, Next @ CNN, which airs Saturdays at 3 p.m. (EST) and 4 p.m. (EST) each Sunday. The show won first place in the News Magazine category of the National Headliner Awards, announced Friday, March 16, 2001, by the Press Club of Atlantic City.

Marc also makes regular appearances as a high-tech expert on the CBS Early Show, CNN Headline News, Breakfast Television (BT!) in Toronto, and TechTV Canada. Beginning in April 2003, Marc began hosting his own TV show, dubbed TKO. Considered "Entertainment Tonight meets consumer technology," TKO appears on four national networks in Canada: Global, Prime, CH, and MenTV. More information on the show can be found at Speaking of Global, Marc is also the host of "TechWise," a twice-a-week feature on the national MoneyWise program in Canada, hosted by Peter Kent and Dierdre McMurdy. The popular show airs coast-to-coast on CanWest Global and the Prime Network.

Marc also writes for and hosts two radio shows. The first is "Tech Talk with Marc Saltzman" on Canada's largest talk station, CFRB (1010AM in Toronto). The hour-long call-in program airs live on Sunday evenings. CFRB's parent company is Standard Radio. The second radio program is heard exclusively on Canada's largest new rock/alternative station, Edge 102 (102.1 FM in Toronto). Now in its seventh year, the pre-recorded segment airs twice a day, entitled "Cyber Escapes with Marc Saltzman." Edge 102's parent company is Corus Entertainment. Marc enjoys delivering seminars on the ever-changing world of high-tech (as far as Hong Kong!) on how to best break into the interactive entertainment industry. Marc also moderates a panel each year at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on this very same topic. Marc has also been an official "Best of E3" judge for the past five years, nominating the best computer and console games and most promising hardware for the annual trade show. Marc is also a judge for the annual "Codie Awards" established by the SIIA (Software and Information Industry Association) to recognize innovative software and information products. Marc is a paid member of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), contributing to the violence committee. In August, 1997, Marc was decorated by the University of Toronto's Alumni Association as an "outstanding graduate" for his success across many mediums: print (books, newspapers, magazines), the Internet, television, and radio.

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Table of Contents

Pre-Production 1
Ch. 1 Game Genres and Playing Perspectives 3
Ch. 2 General Game Design: Action/Arcade Games 15
Ch. 3 General Game Design: Strategy Games 67
Ch. 4 General Game Design: Sports, Simulations, Adventure Games, and Puzzles 89
Ch. 5 General Game Design: Role-Playing Games (RPGs) and Persistent Online Worlds 131
Ch. 6 Creating Characters, Storyboarding, and Design Documents 171
Ch. 7 Master Design Document Template 215
Ch. 8 Level Design 229
Ch. 9 Puzzle Design 261
Ch. 10 Mission Design 269
Pt. II Production 285
Ch. 11 Programming Theory 287
Ch. 12 Artificial Intelligence (AI) 333
Ch. 13 Game Art and Animation 347
Ch. 14 The All-Important User Interface (UI) and Game Control 401
Ch. 15 Sound Engineering 421
Ch. 16 Music and Games 445
Pt. III Post-Production 457
Ch. 17 Proper Game Testing 459
Ch. 18 Technical Support and Customer Service 475
Ch. 19 Public Relations and Marketing 483
Pt. IV How to Make it Happen 513
Ch. 20 Doing it Yourself and the Shareware Revolution 515
Ch. 21 Breaking into the Industry 539
Ch. 22 Game Agents and Headhunters 575
Ch. 23 Design Schools and Courses 591
Ch. 24 Game Design Resources on the Internet 597
Ch. 25 Key Conventions, Organizations, and Awards 609
App.: Biographies 619
Index 663
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2006


    Worst book I've ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004

    A keeper

    This book is a necesity for those highschool students who want to get into the gaming industry. It explains the different steps in game creation, as well as character creation, and gives information on where to recieve an education on this subject , (what college to go to).

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