Good Game Reads 12 - March 31st 2017

This week, for the first time in my life, I spent more time making games than playing them. A few weeks ago I purchased Chris DeLeon's excellent "Hands-On Intro To Game Programming" and have been working through it. You learn to make games in plain JavaScript and HTML which is refreshing and for me, stress relieving. I find that most other tutorials want you to start by downloading a framework, or an engine, or learn a tool. I always got bogged down in trying to learn those things instead of learning to make games. With this book I was writing code five minutes after I started reading. So far all I've made is a Pong and Brick Breaker clone, but I'm still blown away by the interesting problems that need to be solved to get those games working. I'm excited to complete the book and hope to have some blog posts devoted to my development experiences soon.

Free Roaming — Real Life
If real life is a simulation, what can games teach us about how to "play" it? Does getting closer to real life mean a game is becoming more "free"? Robert Minto tackles these questions and argues that designers are pursuing a false sense of freedom in their open-world games.
Robert Minto

Why more video games look and feel like text messaging with friends
In certain situations, regular texting can feel like a game. It makes sense then that more people are making games with texting as the main interface. Priestman analyzes some examples from the burgeoning genre of smartphone text adventures.
Chris Priestman

The designers of Dishonored, Bioshock 2 and Deus Ex swap stories about making PC's most complex games
The "immersive sim" is usually a first person game with interlocking systems that give the player choices in how to approach problems. In this long discussion some great stories are told about designing, testing, and playing these "FPS-RPG hybrids".
Wes Fenlon

Round Table - Mass Effect: Andromeda
You might have heard there are some...issues with the animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda. It might make you wonder how a marquee AAA game could get goofed up like that. A group of animators offer their thoughts on what could have happened while providing insight into the complex feat of game animation.

How Hitman’s Hokkaido level was made
When you expect players to spend hours in a single level of your game, those levels better be worth exploring. Two designers of last year's episodic Hitman talk about their philosophy of level design in the game as well as the creation of an unlikely luxury hospital in Japan.
Alex Wiltshire