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  • Book Review: Game Development Essentials

    - Brad Kane

  • Video Game Art

    There a number of useful titles out there for aspiring video game artists, and among these is Game Development Essentials: Video Game Art, by Todd Gantzler, the third entry in Thomson Delmar’s “Game Development Essentials” series.

    This book is a great starting place for learning the basics of 3D. In addition to the Key Questions and Chapter Reviews of the other books in this series, this title is designed around a series of hands-on exercises and tutorials, which are essential for anyone trying to learn 3D art. You’ll need 3D Studio Max or a similar application to get going; tutorial files and a handful of plug-ins are included on the bundled CD-ROM.

    This is a very basic introduction, aimed at introducing foundational concepts in modeling and texturing, without any discussion of topics such as animation and lighting. The author’s assumption is that the reader has little to no experience with Game Art, and the book squarely at home plate, with intros to topics such as 3D space, the geometry of points and polygons, and the basic linear transformations (e.g. translate, rotate, scale).

    The author goes on to introduce core concepts in procedural modeling – working with splines, extruding 3D shapes, lofting, and box modeling – as well as the basics of texturing and texture mapping. Most of these concepts are presented via exercises and tutorials, so you’ll get a practical handle on what you’re learning, but there’s also some useful discussion of issues such as choosing the right modeling approach for a given project.

    The strength of this book, eve more than others in the series, is its use of illustrations to demonstrate and accompany the various tutorials. Game Art is a primarily visual endeavor, and in this regard the format of the “Game Development Essentials” series works very much in this book’s favor.


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