Welcome to Resources. Here you’ll find the tools, books, and videos I recommend for accelerating your game development and finding an audience.
If you haven’t been there already, check out the overview for all my top tips on learning to program, deciding to make a game, designing your game, building your game, adding bonus features, building an online presence, and sharing it with the world.
Please note the Amazon links are affiliate links. That means that if you use that link to purchase something, I will earn a commission. It won’t cost you any more and it helps support me and this website. Please do not buy anything unless you’re interested in the topics and believe it’ll help you.
The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master – The essential programmer’s guide. Fortunately, it’s a lot less dull than many of its colleagues. It goes over everything from class structure to testing and even meta-coding. It’s all about developing good style and practices to save you time in the long term. Read this one now.
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software – Design patterns are the tools in your tool belt. Having the right tool for the job can save you days of trying to make it work with the wrong tool.
Introduction to Computing Systems: From bits & gates to C & beyond – Programming without a basic understanding of how a computer works at a fundamental level is like driving a car without a basic understanding of how it works. You’ll get by just fine, but you might not get the best performance and when things go wrong you’ll have to call someone else in for help. Plus it’s actually really interesting. This is the book I read in college to learn how computers work.
Game Maker’s Toolkit by Mark Brown (All worth watching. Entertaining and informative)
GDC (Lots of content. Cherry-picked below)
Extra Credits (All pretty good. Check out Durlag’s Tower in Design Club)
My Favorite Videos
How I Got My Mom to Play Through Plants vs. Zombies (Perfect Your Tutorial)
Rules of the Game: Five Techniques from Quite Inventive Designers (Enemy Differentiation and other topics – George Fan is the Man)
Jan Willem Nijman – Vlambeer – “The art of screenshake” (The Art in the Details/Juice/Game Feel)
Game Feel: Why Your Death Animation Sucks
Ten Principles for Good Level Design
Sequelitis – Mega Man Classic vs. Mega Man X (Creating Tutorials without Text)
Level Design in a Day: A Series of First Steps – Overcoming the Digital Blank Page
Mike Hill – Industrial design in entertainment (2 Parts: Learning Real World Design Principles and Creating Meaning through the Design of Everyday Objects)
Unite 2016 – What Makes Great Games Great? Game Design with Gigi
Steve Swink – Deliberate Practice for Game Design (How to Improve your Puzzle Design)
GDC 2014: Florian Steinhoff – “Jelly Splash: Puzzling Your Way to the Top of the App Store” (How to Make a Successful Casual Mobile Game: Luck and Win Percentages)
Math for Game Programmers: Juicing Your Cameras With Math
Helping Your Players Feel Smart: Puzzles as User Interface (Boost puzzle completion rate)
Layton Hawkes – Perfecting Our Puzzles: Lessons in Level Design from Bears vs. Art
50 Game Camera Mistakes (by the guys that made Journey)
“Everything I learned about Level Design, I Learned from Disneyland” Scott Rogers, Walt Disney
My Favorite Articles
Free Game Assets
Marketing and PR
You’ve spent years learning how to build games and years more building them. Don’t neglect the other aspects of game development. You owe it to yourself to spend at least an hour or two a day making sure they actually get into the players’ hands and hopefully make money.
Dream Daddy (Connecting with Your Audience-ish) Highly recommended.
GDC 2018 – Capturing Great Footage For Game Trailers
The 2017 Failure Workshop (Making Games as a Business)
Marketing Fundamentals for New Developers
The 5 Pillars & Pitfalls of Indie Games PR
You Suck at Showcasing Your Game
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – An easy to follow list of simple, but important marketing laws illustrated with real world examples. A fantastic introduction to marketing that avoids the long windedness of other books in the field.
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Free (Public Domain) – This is an incredible book for anyone interested in the psychology of business and marketing. Everyone I know that has read it, loves it. Dale Carnegie is clearly clever. His practical examples, simple explanations, and his undeniable deep understanding of human psychology which he acquired of years of research make this a must read. Keep a copy on your device as it’s worth re-reading.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Another classic. It has gotten to the point where I’ll be discussing marketing or sales strategy with friends and they’ll suddenly just ask, “Influence?” I’ll just smile and nod. So much great stuff in this book. Chock-full of brilliant insights into human psychology.
I’ll give you one brilliant, if a bit evil, little tidbit. Why do toy stores go to great lengths to promote a single product and then run out during the holiday season? Turns out, it’s on purpose as it leads directly to a bump of sales in February.
Children beg their parents incessantly for that special toy that their parents promise to deliver. Then when the toy is out of stock. The parents are faced with disappointing their child on Christmas. They’ll likely spend more to make up for this disappointment. Then after the new Christmas toys have lost their luster, the child reminds the parent of their previous promise to provide the original toy and the parent must make another purchase to stand by their word. Thus a single “missed” sale provides a bump in sales at the holidays and 1-2 months later.
How to Get People to Do Stuff – Similar to Influence, but a bit less compelling. It’s a worthwhile read, but doesn’t need to be high on your priority list.
The Boron Letters – Offered for free by his son, but the site is hard to navigate. (“BoronLetterCh” 1-3 & “TChapter” 4-25)
The Boron Letters are some of the most famous marketing guides in existence. They’re written by father in prison to his son. Many recommend printing them out to notice the natural flow and how he drives readers to turn the page. This guy found the advertisements that Gary Halbert mentions. They’re always recommended to marketing newbies. I didn’t love them, but they are free!
Scientific Advertising – Free (Public Domain) – Another advertising class that was well ahead of its time.