1st Edition

The Persistence of Code in Game Engine Culture

By Eric Freedman Copyright 2020
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    With its unique focus on video game engines, the data-driven architectures of game development and play, this innovative textbook examines the impact of software on everyday life and explores the rise of engine-driven culture.

    Through a series of case studies, Eric Freedman lays out a clear methodology for studying the game development pipeline, and uses the video game engine as a pathway for media scholars and practitioners to navigate the complex terrain of software practice. Examining several distinct software ecosystems that include the proprietary efforts of Amazon, Apple, Capcom, Epic Games and Unity Technologies, and the unique ways that game engines are used in non-game industries, Freedman illustrates why engines matter.

    The studies bind together designers and players, speak to the labors of the game industry, value the work of both global and regional developers, and establish critical connection points between software and society. Freedman has crafted a much-needed entry point for students new to code, and a research resource for scholars and teachers working in media industries, game development and new media.

    1. Game Engine Culture 2. The Mechanics of Play: Situating Game Development 3. Resident Racist: Embodiment and Game Engine Design 4. New Media Ecosystems: Amazon and the Advancing Game Economy 5. Industries at Play: Materiality, Mixed Reality and Mediated Environments 6. Game Engine Architecture: Visualizing Space and Place 7. The Little Engine That Could: Independent Developers and the Global Games Market 8. Queering the Field: Beyond Binary Engine Choices


    Eric Freedman is Professor and Dean of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of Transient Images: Personal Media in Public Frameworks (2011) and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Creative Media Research and the advisory board of the Communication and Media Studies Research Network.

    "Freedman skillfully reveals the importance of game engines for understanding contemporary video games. And then, he goes one step further, and reveals just how important they are for understanding cities, consumerism, and nearly every other aspect of modern life. This is a must read for every student of the media."

    Eric Gordon, Professor of Civic Design, Emerson College

    "Eric Freedman has taken a complex and concealed topic – how game engines function to constrain and create possibilities, which helps him consider the impact of code on everyday life – and rendered it visible. Freedman presents a well-written and well-informed critical analysis, using case studies that problematize and facilitate the interrogation of these technologies in their social contexts from multiple angles."

    Rebecca Ann Lind, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago