The Death of Computer Games (magazine)

by on Mar.27, 2007, under books, games industry, geek culture

A series of business miscues… and the last vestiges of a rational gaming press have finally succumbed to the forces of stupidification.

Computer Games Magazine, my favourite magazine in the industry (and quite possibly, ever) has fallen. It takes with it another promising venture, Massive Magazine.

Tom Chick, Henry Jenkins, Cindy Yans, and a host of other fantabulous writers and illustrators will now presumably move to other places to share their insights (or hilarity, depending on which you’re looking for).

It’s hard to describe what a stunning loss this is for me. I even shipped a select boxload of back-issues to Australia. And up until this month, a nice treat would arrive monthly in my email – the digital edition.

It was a magazine that reinforced the notion that games are not just for teenagers and nut-jobs, but “normal” adults like you and I (yeah right!).

Many people have had their say, so I’ll just post a couple comments from CGOnline’s forums.

CG, ye will be missed. Massive, we barely knew ye.

(continue reading…)

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Reading 2005

by on Dec.24, 2005, under books

Looking back over my observations resultant from a consistent troll of gaming RSS feeds, e-zines, news and even irc chat. Things are happening so fast out there, its so much fun.

As this year is done, I thought it fun to share a sampling of reading of my last 12 months! Yes, yes, fun I know. But it serves as a decent record of my zealous absorptions. It is also a point of interest for me personally, as I look back over the last year with some shock. I not only read these, but traced through them as completely as possible. The list of meat books (as opposed to the online sources I’ve consumed), in no particular order…

1. Designing Virtual Worlds
Author : Dr. Richard Bartle

Truly a fantastic tome! As a game-player and hopeful designer I was impressed. Bartle, is an pioneer of online multiplayer dungeon games, and possesses a unique and academic interest in the issues of online gaming. His model of player archetypes is a useful tool across all genres, and I found the topics to be engaging and informative. And I found myself often leaping away from the text to formulate my own ideas about persistent worlds and gameplay. Good books will tend to do that.

2. Game Architecture and Design
Authors : Andrew Rollings,

Somewhat less fantastic than Bartle, this is a more technical approach to game development. I agree this is such a hard topic to write or educate others about, since every instance has its own challenges. But an entire chapter on Project Management didn’t seem to educate or inspire. The basics are covered, especially within the models of gameplay atoms, so the text serves its purpose.

3. 3D Math Primer

If you’re interested in 3D graphics and how they are conjured, this is a great book. If math scares you, then stay away. This book is entirely focussed on teaching you the mathematics behind 3D graphics and rendering. I learned a great, great deal from my study of this book and will heartily recommend it to anyone out there interested in this vast subject.

4. Learning UML
The UML is fast becoming an excellent tool for software designers to capture and communicate the intracies of complex systems. Although the book lives up to the fine O’Reilly tradition of documenting technical topics, I found the real-worldness of it to be somewhat lacking. I had a difficult time applying the concepts before finding my own CASE tool to make the job easier. Anyone know of UML plugins for OpenOffice or MS-Word??

5. Game Design
Authors : Andrew Rollings

Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. I loved this book so much I cannot recommend it enough. My highlight marking runs the entire text, front to back.

6. OpenGL Programming Guide

This is a reference book, and is essential for any graphics programmers. Several chapters go into significant detail on the rendering pipeline, and the writing is clear and thoughtful. I enjoyed reading most of this book. Space on your shelf should definitely be set aside for this and its companion, The OpenGL Reference Guide.

7. Role-Playing Games

I really liked the pretty graphics in this book. I’m not joking. After so many technical tomes, it was refreshing to just pore over a handy survey of “whats out there” from a RPG developer’s point of view.

8. Good to Great
Author : Jim Collins

If you’re starting out a new business, this is the book to read above all others. Most companies aspire to this, but few actually achieve it. And it covers aspects that you can utilize in all aspects of your life and business. Its fun, and its the future. If you haven’t read this, I would highly urge you to do it.

Pulpy Fiction

1. “The Scar”
Author : China Mieville

This is the most depressing piece of fiction that I’ve ever read. But if you’ve read my rants about innovation in gaming, you’d know that I’d appreciate innovation in writing. This is it. Its fresh and a pleasure to read the book from the writing style alone. Its no surprise that this author is winning numerous awards. I will definitely be reading more of Mieville.

2. “Marked for Death”
Author : Matt Forbeck

The Forgotten Realms has been a cash cow for WOTC for a great long time. And for good reason, since its the height of hero-dom for the D&D genre. So now comes Eberron, a new fantasy universe for WOTC, and also the result of the worldwide “setting search” contest (of which I participated). I enjoyed the writing of this novel on a surface level, and the pulpy aspect is easy to digest. This is a chill-down book, when your brain is too tired from the day, and a fun read.

Thank-you Amazon! 🙂

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