Congratulations on the success of your book – Holistic Game Development with Unity: An All-in-One Guide to Implementing Game Mechanics, Art, Design and Programming, Second Edition. What do you want your audience to take away from the book?
I want my audience to gain an appreciation for the vast number of academic skill areas that are applied to the design and development of games. From psychology to art to mathematics, many disciplines much be brought together to produce a successful game. Not only do I want my readers to obtain an appreciation for all these domains but to also get a taste of working in each area, using Unity as a game development tool, to create a little something that better gives them an appreciation for the complexity of the process.
Why is your book relevant to present day?
After much upheaval in the games industry due to the downsizing and restructuring of game development companies, the rise of the indie developer has seen a need for multi-skilled employees who have art/design and coding skills. My book has been written with the holistic approach of introducing both these areas in parallel providing readers with an insight into how these domains are integral and intertwined in games.
How do you think this field is evolving today?
Small game development teams, even of only 1, have the power to publish their own games on accessible platforms such as the App Stores, Steam and Facebook. This places the game designer much closer to their audience and gives them the power to connect directly. Novices can easily build up their skills with many of the freely available game building tools and assets and produce and release remarkable games without the overheads of large companies. Games are also now more prolific than ever having moved beyond the screen and into real world augmented experiences. However, the theory is still the same and having a strong background in this knowledge is fundamental to success and adaption in the field.
What did you enjoy about writing this book?
I really enjoyed coming up with all the tutorial exercises. It’s always a challenge to figure out how best to demonstrate specific concepts in an application requiring a complex integration of so many others. However, without completing an entire game or game scene, the starter project files I provide mean readers can get straight to work learning about a certain concept and not get distracted by everything else going on in the scenario. Another thing I also enjoy is demonstrating how abstract mathematical concepts can be applied to concrete examples in games.
What is your academic background?
I have a Bachelor of Information Technology, Honours Degree in Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence for Games (namely simulating emotions for NPC behaviour).
What first attracted you to Game Development as an area of study?
I’ve always had a love of art and coding. Games is the ideal area to bring these domains together. I always say that I love the beauty of mathematics and games exemplify this perfectly.
Tell us an unusual fact about yourself and your writing style?
My writing process involves writing an initial draft table of contents that is very (very) general. I think start in Chapter 2 and start writing. I never go back over things I just keep writing until I hit the end of the final chapter. Exercises and projects evolve and develop as I research my way through the content. Many times, I can go off down a rabbit hole researching interesting content that gives me more ideas to add but I can also lose days of writing just by looking into other interesting things. Chapter 1 is written last as it sums up the contents of the book.