Free Ebooks & Resources on Game Development and Graphics Programming

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Getting started in game development is easy. If you can code, you can develop games. It takes a few tools and some time, but it’s a useful skill, even for app developers. Knowing how to develop games, even simple ones, can build your skill set. Sometimes game development is a challenging, painful process — but nothing compares to seeing the pure elation of someone experiencing your game for the first time. The process breaks down to the following five stages: Prototyping, progress, ship, watch, and repeat.

Graphics programmers are dedicated to ensuring the game looks as good as it possibly can. This means making the graphics as detailed as possible without impacting on the speed and playability of the game. The job is all about maths, rendering and optimisation. A graphics programmer usually reports to the lead programmer and works with the rest of the programming team.

This is a comprehensive lists related to game development and realtime graphics programming. Resources include free ebooks, magazines, talks, podcasts, blogs, tutorials and guides on specific areas such as rendering, ray tracing, colors, lighting, shapes and many more. If you’re game developer, graphic / web designer, new or experienced, we hope this list will benefit you in various ways.

Game Development Ebooks

  1. The Nature of Code by Daniel Shiffman
    This book focuses on a range of programming strategies and techniques behind computer simulations of natural systems, from elementary concepts in mathematics and physics to more advanced algorithms that enable sophisticated visual results.
  2. Game Programming Patterns by Robert Nystrom
    Game Programming Patterns is a collection of patterns I found in games that make code cleaner, easier to understand, and faster.
  3. 2D Game Development: From Zero To Hero by Penaz
    This book aims to be as in-depth as possible, so you can create your own game either from scratch or using one of the many engines available.

Free Game Dev Magazines

  1. GameDaily Connect
  2. GDC Vault
  3. Indie Mag
  4. Making Games
  5. Indie O Rama – Spanish

Gaming Dev Talks

GDC Talks

  1. Overwatch – The Elusive Goal: Play by Sound by Scott Lawlor, Tomas Neumann (Blizzard) – 2016
  2. How to Make Your Game Just Completely Hilarious: The Stanley Parable by William Pugh (Roberts & Co Bunsen Outlet Limited) – 2015
  3. Classic Game Postmortem: Loom by Brian Moriarty (WPI) – 2015
  4. Hearthstone: How to Create an Immersive User Interface by Derek Sakamoto (Blizzard) – 2015
  5. Scroll Back: The Theory and Practice of Cameras in Side-Scrollers by Itay Keren (Untame) – 2015
  6. A Live Art Demonstration of Creating Worlds through Design Thinking by Feng Zhu (Feng Zhu Design) – 2015
  7. Hearthstone: 10 Bits of Design Wisdom by Eric Dodds (Blizzard) – 2014
  8. Level Design in a Day: Decisions That Matter – Meaningful Choice in Game and Level Design by Matthias Worch (2K Games) – 2014
  9. There and Dad Again – The Octodad: Dadliest Catch Postmortem by John Murphy, Phil Tibitoski (Young Horses) – 2014
  10. TwitchPlayedPokemon: An Analysis of the Experimental Interactive Phenomenon by Alex Leavitt (USC) – 2014
  11. Narrative Legos by Ken Levine (Irrational Games) – 2014
  12. Antichamber: An Overnight Success, Seven Years in the Making by Alexander Bruce – 2014
  13. Antichamber: Three Years of Hardcore Iteration by Alexander Bruce – 2014
  14. A Study in Transparency: How Board Games Matter by Soren Johnson (Mohawk Games) – 2014
  15. Hearts and Minds by Frank Lantz (NYU Game Center) – 2014
  16. Interpreting Feedback and Maintaining Your Vision by Andy Nguyen (Pocketwatch Games) – 2014
  17. Why Is Gone Home a Game? by Steve Gaynor (The Fullbright Company) – 2014
  18. Jiro Dreams of Game Design by Brenda Romero (UC Santa Cruz) – 2014
  19. Preserving a Sense of Discovery in the Age of Spoilers by James Crawford (Twinbeard Studios) – 2014
  20. Animation Bootcamp: An Indie Approach to Procedural Animation by David Rosen (Wolfire Games) – 2014
  21. Super Time Force: Solving the Time Travel Paradox by Kenneth Yeung (Capy Games) – 2014
  22. Enhancing Sportsmanship in Online Games by Jeffrey Lin (Riot Games) – 2014
  23. The Art of The Witness by Luis Antonio (Thekla Inc) – 2014
  24. Building the Content that Drives the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Economy by Bronwen Grimes (Valve) – 2014
  25. Classic Game Postmortem: Myst by Robyn Miller (Zoo Break Gun Club) – 2013
  26. #1ReasonToBe by Annakaisa Kultima, Auriea Harvey, Brenda Romero, Zuraida Buter, Henrike aka Riker Lode, Siobhan Reddy, Leigh Alexander (Panel) – 2013
  27. Obsessive-Compulsive Development: Retro/Grade Postmortem by Matt Gilgenbach (24 Caret Games) – 2013
  28. The Western Games That Conquered China by Henry Fong (Yodo1) – 2013
  29. Designing Journey by Jenova Chen (thatgamecompany) – 2013
  30. AI Postmortems: Assassin’s Creed III, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Warframe by Daniel Brewer, Alex Cheng, Richard Dumas, Aleissia Laidacker (Panel) – 2013
  31. Building the Touchy-Feely World of Tearaway by Rex Crowle (Media Molecule) – 2013
  32. A Theory of Fun 10 Years Later by Raph Koster (Playdom) – 2012
  33. Attention, Not Immersion: Making Your Games Better with Psychology and Playtesting, the Uncharted Way by Richard Lemarchand (Naughty Dog) – 2012
  34. Classic Game Postmortem: Harvest Moon by Yasuhiro Wada (Toy Box, Inc.) – 2012
  35. The 5 Domains of Play: Applying Psychology’s Big 5 Motivation Domains to Games by Jason VandenBerghe (Ubisoft) – 2012
  36. Creating a Sequel to a Game That Doesn’t Need One by Chet Faliszek, Erik Wolpaw (Valve) – 2012
  37. How I Got My Mom to Play Through Plants vs. Zombies by George Fan (PopCap) – 2012
  38. Design in Detail: Tuning the Muzzle Velocity of the Plasma Rifle Bolt on Legendary Difficulty Across the HALO Franchise by Jaime Griesemer (Bungie) – 2011
  39. Dynamics: The State of the Art by Clint Hocking (LucasArts) – 2011
  40. Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker and the Sublime by Frank Lantz (Zynga) – 2011
  41. The Road Ahead by Cliff Bleszinski (Epic Games) – 2011
  42. Truth in Game Design by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2011
  43. Design in Detail: Changing the Time Between Shots for the Sniper Rifle from 0.5 to 0.7 Seconds for Halo 3 by Jaime Griesemer (Bungie) – 2010
  44. Everything You Know is Wrong by by Sid Meier (Firaxis Games) – 2010
  45. Everything I Learned About Level Design I Learned from Disneyland by Scott Rogers (THQ) – 2009
  46. Helping Your Players Feel Smart: Puzzles as User Interface by Randy Smith (Tiger Style) – 2009
  47. Indie Prototyping by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2007
  48. Innovation in Indie Games by Kyle Gabler, Jenova Chen, Jon Mak, Jon Blow (Panel) – 2007
  49. It’s Great to be Back! Fast Code, Game Programming, and Other Thoughts from 20 (Minus Two) Years in the Trenches by Michael Abrash (Rad Game Tools) – 2000

TED Talks

  1. Physical Therapy Is Boring — Play A Game Instead by Cosmin Mihaiu – 2015 (TED)
  2. Play This Game To Come Up With Original Ideas by Shimpei Takahashi – 2015 (TEDxTokyo)
  3. Massively Multi-Player… Thumb-Wrestling? by Jane McGonigal (Institute for the Future) – 2013 (TEDGlobal)
  4. The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years Of Life by Jane McGonigal – 2012 (TEDGlobal)
  5. Your Brain On Video Games by Daphne Bavelier (University of Geneva) – 2012 (TEDxCHUV)
  6. Gaming For Understanding by Brenda Romero (Loot Drop) – 2012 (TEDxPhoenix)
  7. How Games Make Kids Smarter by Gabe Zichermann (Author) – 2011 ([email protected])
  8. 7 Ways Games Reward The Brain by Tom Chatfield – 2010 (TEDGlobal)
  9. The Game Layer On Top Of The World by Seth Priebatsch – 2010 (TEDxBoston)
  10. Meet Milo, The Virtual Boy by Peter Molyneux – 2010 (TEDGlobal)
  11. Gaming Can Make A Better World by Jane McGonigal (Institute for the Future) – 2010 (TED)
  12. The Art of Puzzles by Scott Kim (Discover Magazine) – 2009 (EG)
  13. Play is More than Just Fun by Stuart Brown (National Institute for Play) – 2009 (Serious Play)
  14. Games for Girls by Brenda Laurel (California College of the Arts) – 1998 (TED)
  15. Spore, Birth of a Game by Will Wright (Maxis) – 2007 (TED)
  16. Are Games Better than Liife? by David Perry (Gaikai) – 2006 (TED)

Other Talks

  1. John D. Carmack at UT Dallas by John D. Carmack (Oculus) – 2015 (University of Texas)
  2. Making of Monument Valley in Unity by Peter Pashley (ustwo) – 2014 (Nordic Game)
  3. Attempting Deep Work, Surviving Long Projects by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2014 (Indievelopment)
  4. A Fireside Chat with Rich Hilleman by Rich Hilleman (EA) – 2014 (University of Virginia)
  5. Innovation in Game Design by Richard Bartle – 2014 (Tallinn University)
  6. From Shodan, to Big Daddy, to Elizabeth: The Evolution of AI Companions by Ken Levine (Irrational Games) – 2013 (BAFTA)
  7. Game Design: The Medium is the Message by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2013 (Creative Mornings)
  8. Great Level Design and the Artistic Expression of Mathematics by Hamish Todd – 2013 (Game Connection Europe)
  9. Sir, You Are Being Proceudrally Generated by Tom Betts, James Carey (Big Robot) – 2013 (Unite Nordic)
  10. The Art of Screenshake by Jan Willem Nijman (Vlambeer) – 2013 (INDIGO)
  11. Game Design Tools (I Wish I learned About Sooner) by Daniel Cook (Spry Fox) – 2013 (IGDA Seattle)
  12. Facilitating Stories in Journey by John Nesky (thatgamecompany) – 2013 (Georgia Tech)
  13. Mastering Game Mechanics by Brandon DeCoster, Scott Rubin (GeekNights) – 2013 (PAX East)
  14. Music Design in Games by Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) – 2012 (G.A.N.G Summit)
  15. Functional Theory for Game Design by Keith Burgun (Dinofarm Games) – 2012 (NY Film Academy)
  16. How to Give Yourself a Job in the Games Industry by Chet Faliszek (Valve) – 2012 (Eurogamer Expo)
  17. Juice It Or Lose It by Martin Jonasson, Petri Purho (Indie) – 2012 (Nordic Game Indie Night)
  18. Sensible Nonsense by Rami Ismail, Jan Willem Nijman (Vlambeer) – 2012 (Indie Connect)
  19. Lecture Series by Todd Howard (Bethesda) – 2012 (George Mason University)
  20. Getting Gamification Right by Sebastian Deterding (PLAIT Lab) – 2011 (Google Tech Talks)
  21. G4LI Keynote by Gabe Newell (Valve) – 2011 (Games for Change)
  22. Make Games, Not War by Jesse Schell (Schell Games) – 2011 (Games for Change)
  23. Programming Aesthetics Learned From Making Independent Games by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2011 (Berkeley)
  24. Designing the Universe by Jonathan Blow, Marc Ten Boch – 2011 (IndieCade)
  25. Video Games and the Human Condition by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2010 (Rice Univerisity)
  26. Fundamental Conflicts in Contemporary Game Design by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2008 (MIGS)
  27. Designing a Pandemic: Lessons Learned by Matt Leacock – 2008 (Google Tech Talks)
  28. How and Why by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2007 (Freeplay)
  29. Design Reboot by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2007 (MIGS)
  30. Lessons from Game Design by Will Wright (Maxis) – 2003 (Computer History Museum)

Conferences

  1. 2014 D.I.C.E Europe – 2014 (DICE Europe)
  2. Steam Dev Days – 2014 (Steam Dev Days)
  3. Game Development Micro-Talks – 2014 (Unknown Worlds Post Mortems)
  4. 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit – 2013 (DICE)
  5. Indiecade Official Channel – 2013 (Now, IndieCade)
  6. PRACTICE 2013 – 2013 (PRACTICE)
  7. Game Engine Architecture Club – 2012 (Now, DigiPen Game Engine Architecture)
  8. POLYGAMELAB Official Channel – 2012 (Now, NYU Poly Game Lab)

Podcasts

  1. A life well wasted by Robert Ashley
  2. Another Castle by Charles J Pratt (Game Design Advance)
  3. Brainy Gamer by Michael Abbott
  4. Game Developers Radio by Joseph Burchett
  5. The Game Design Round Table by Jon Shafer (Firaxis), Dirk Knemeyer (The New Science, Tomorrow).
  6. IndieGamePod by Interviews with developers about their games.
  7. Ludology by Ryan Sturm, Geoff Engelstein

Blogs, Forums and Portals

  1. Designer Notes
    Soren Johnson’s Game Design Journal.
  2. Gamasutra
    The Art & Business of Making Games.
  3. Game Development on StackExchange
    Game Development Stack Exchange.
  4. GameBackend.dev
    Game Backend Infrastructure and Development.
  5. GameDev
    Game Development Community.
  6. GameDevs.org
    Various topics relating to game development.
  7. Aras Pranckevičius
  8. Stephen Hill
  9. Sébastien Lagarde
  10. Angelo Pesce
  11. Brian Karis
  12. Christian Schüler
  13. Michael Chang
  14. John Chapman
  15. John Hable
  16. Philp Rideout
  17. Adrian Courrèges
  18. Colin Barré-Brisebois
  19. Rory Driscoll
  20. Real-Time Rendering Blog
  21. Mikael H Christensen
  22. GameJolt
  23. HTML5 Game Devs Forum
  24. Html5 Game Development
  25. IndieDB
  26. Indius
  27. Java Gaming
  28. Lost Garden
  29. Real-Time Rendering
  30. Superlevel
  31. TIGSource
  32. TruePCGaming
  33. WhatGamesAre
  34. iforce2d
  35. indiegames

Tutorials

Game Development Tutorials

  1. 3D Game Shaders For Beginners
    Step-by-step guide to real-time shading techniques.
  2. Building Your First Online Multiplayer Game in Unity
    5 Steps with PlayFab Server Hosting.
  3. Simple HTML5 Canvas Game
    Simple HTML canvas RPG looking game.
  4. Udacity: HTML5 Game Development
    HTML5 Game Development by Google.

Graphics / Modeling Tutorials

  1. Coursera: Interactive Computer Graphics
    This course will introduce various interactive tools developed in computer graphics research field with their design rationales and algorithms.
  2. Pixel Art Tutorial Basics for Beginners.
    How do you create pixel art, what program do you use, how do you make avatars? This is a quick little tutorial explaining the hows of pixel art.
  3. Udacity: Interactive 3D Graphics
    Interactive 3D Graphics by Google.

Music Tutorials

  1. How To Make Game Music with FL Studio
    Youtube vid by rm2kdev.

Programming Tutorials

  1. Khan Academy: Advanced JS: Games & Visualizations

Physically Based Rendering

  1. Readings on Physically Based Rendering
  2. The State of Rendering – 2013
  3. CodingLabs: Physically Based Rendering I
  4. CodingLabs: Physically Based Rendering II
  5. Deferred Shading Tutorial – 2005
  6. Spherical Harmonics for Beginners – 2013
  7. A Tiny Improvement of Oren-Nayar Reflectance Model – 2012
  8. Plausible Environment Lighting in Two Lines of Code – 2013
  9. Microfacet Models for Refraction through Rough Surfaces – 2007
  10. Artist Friendly Metallic Fresnel – 2014
  11. Irradiance Volumes for Games – 2012
  12. Wolfire Blog – Physically Based Rendering – 2015

SIGGRAPH Shading Courses

  1. Physically Based Shader Design in Arnold – 2014
  2. Crafting a Next-Gen Material Pipeline for The Order: 1886 – 2013
  3. Real Shading in Unreal Engine 4 – 2013
  4. Physically Based Shading in Call of Duty: Black Ops – 2013

Color Space

  1. CodingLabs: Gamms vs Linear
    Gamma correction is a characteristic of virtually all modern digital displays and it has some important implications to the way we work with images.

Light & Shadow

  1. Phong Illumination Model – 2012

Environments

  1. Zephyros Anemos – WebGL Terrain Rendering by Stavros – Terrain rendering in OpenGL and terrain algorithms.

Time

  1. Fix your Timestep! – 2006
  2. Fixed Timestep Implementation – 2012

Post-Processing

  1. Physically Based Real-Time Lens Flare Rendering – 2011
  2. John Chapman – Pseudo Lens Flare – 2013
  3. Image Imperfections & Film Grain Post-Process FX – 2013
  4. GLSL Cubic Lens Distortion – 2011
  5. The Skylanders SWAP Force Depth-of-Field Shader – 2013

Ray Tracing & Distance Functions

  1. Fast Soft-Shadowing on Dynamic Height Fields – 2008
  2. Raymarching Distance Fields – 2013
  3. Screen Space Glossy Reflections – 2015

Text, Lines & Shapes

  1. Higher Quality 2D Text Rendering – 2013
  2. Drawing Lines is Hard – 2015
  3. Material Design on the GPU – 2015
  4. Lecture: Polygon Triangulation – 2014
  5. Drawing Text with Signed Distance Fields in Mapbox GL – 2014
  6. Multi-Channel SDF Text Rendering – 2014
  7. SDF Rendering of Color Bit Planes – 2013

Non-Photorealistic Rendering

  1. Watercolor Inspired Non-Photorealistic Rendering for Augmented Reality – 2008
  2. Advanced Real-Time Cel Shading in OpenGL – 2013
  3. Stroke-Based Rendering – 2002
  4. Hand Drawn Rendering – 2012
  5. Real-Time Ink Dispersion in Absorbent Paper – 2005
  6. WYSIWYG NPR: Drawing Strokes Directly on 3D Models – 2002
  7. Stylized Rendering Using Samples of a Painted Image – 2007

Math

  1. Math-as-code – 2015
  2. CodingLabs: World, View, Projection Matrices
  3. Interactive Introduction to Noise Functions – 2013

Misc Optimizations

  1. Fast, Branchless Ray/Bounding Box Intersections – 2011
  2. Combined Approximation of Fresnel Visibility – 2015
  3. Compact Normal Storage for Small G-Buffers – 2009
  4. Normal Mapping without Precomputed Tangents – 2013

Collections

  1. SIGGRAPH Real-Time Rendering Publications
  2. List of Realtime Global Illumination Techniques
  3. Readings on Physically Based Rendering
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