Arguably, one of the most common questions all gamers ask themselves at some point (usually in the middle of a space battle or while solving the most intricate of mysteries) is, how do people make games? Fortunately, several of the most fabulous game designers of the past 50 years have written books to enlighten us not only about the algorithms but also the storytelling, the team dynamics, and the economics required to build a ground-breaking game.
We have often said in the pages of this magazine that some books carry with them the Zeitgeist of their era. Examples are Bruce Tate's "Beyond Java," Joe Armstrong's "Programming Erlang," and Toby Segaran's "Programming Collective Intelligence." Such books have a tremendous impact upon publication, freezing in words not only a valuable body of knowledge, but also the spirit and promise of a new direction for the industry. Even if the APIs they describe become obsolete over time (which is mainly unavoidable), they remain as hallmarks of an era, valuable witnesses of the preoccupations and needs of practitioners at the time of their publication.
We have often talked about software economics in this magazine. For example, when we enumerated Eric Sink’s perspectives on the software business, discussed platforms as a paradigm for economic analysis, or talked about how Brad Cox advocated for an object-oriented economy. But there is a more extraordinary author about the subject, one we mentioned a few times in this magazine and who sadly passed away last August: Barry Boehm.
Western culture has long been fascinated with what the French call "Extrême-Orient"; since the times of Marco Polo, most probably since biblical times. We (the editors of a magazine that is, after all, a pure product of Western civilization) assign certain qualities to the thinking patterns of those regions: wisdom, calmness, thoughtfulness, and reflection. Eastern philosophy is often analyzed in counterpoint, in a tangential or even orthogonal fashion from its western counterpart: Confucius versus Aristotle; reason versus faith; extrovert versus introvert; yin versus yang; pandas versus grizzlies; Bruce Lee versus Chuck Norris.