Book notes: The Art of Computer Game Design

I bought this book in the early 80’s, when I was a neophyte video game programmer trying to squeeze as much performance as possible from the Microsoft BASIC that came bundled with the TRS-80 Color Computers. I was looking for a book that taught programming techniques (sprites, bit blitting, etc.), and Crawford’s book was not exactly what I was looking for. I set it aside for the time being.

As I matured, however, I started reading TAoCGD with a more open mind and realized that here I had an amazing resource that taught conceptual design, as opposed to pure technique. It quickly became one of my favorite books in the world, and it remains, along with Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language, one of the books that has most influenced my development as a designer. (In the broadest sense; as an architecture student in the early 90’s, I proposed to the dean of our school that TAoCGD be adopted as a first-year architectural design text. What was I thinking?!)

TAoCGD has been out of print for a long time, but now you can read it in electronic format. Some of the concepts have not weathered well, but the conceptual approach is still valid.