If you’re a stranger from the Internet, here’s some context for this list: I gave a talk about video game production to William Huber’s CTIN 463 Anatomy of a Game Class at USC this past Monday, 16 September. This is a supplemental list of resources for that talk that, uh, I got carried away with.
So! Anatomy of a Game students: thanks for letting me rant about a wide variety of production related topics, and bloviate as only someone with truly limited expertise can.
You will find over the course of your careers and lives that the moment someone claims they “know enough to be dangerous” they are right about the dangerous part, even if they are lying about what they know. It’s easy, once you get over the TOTAL NOVICE section of a given domain’s learning curve to feel yourself full of all the answers or that all the answers are at least in reach. Experts, or people who have invested their lives into what they do are much more likely to know all the things they still have yet to learn, and all the specializations or other sub-domains they have yet to thoroughly investigate. This isn’t to say you should NEVER attempt to shake things up with a rookie’s zeal (WHY don’t we just try X?), but perhaps try to understand the unstated reasons or externalities for what you’re trying to change before charging in.*
There, see, I’ve begun to bloviate again.
Put another way, a light bulb went off in my head the first time I heard that earning a Black Belt in a martial art doesn’t mean that you’re now a certified Ultimate Badass with total mastery: it means you’re ready to learn. You’re fluent enough in the basics that you can enter the community of serious practioners and begin to cultivate a real understanding within yourself. And life is way harder, because there isn’t a belt system for your entire life, and the teachers worth learning from are much harder to find, and often times they disagree with one another for very good reasons. Don’t make your goal to become like your heroes. Find out what your heroes’ goals were, and strive towards those. Better yet, make your own. This is all by way of saying that this list does not form a complete and balanced mental diet, but I hope it’s a good start. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do claim to have done some stuff.
With that florid caveat tenuously in place, allow me to append the traditional litany of cop-outs on the internet: “I am not a lawyer. Your mileage may vary. This is just the stuff that has worked for me. If you try this and it doesn’t work, please don’t sue me. You may find some of these resources are not for you.” Remember the lesson of the Gold Bond Medicated Powder. It’s important to stay on point, but rarely will someone drift off the point in a way so obvious and easily corrected. Far more common and insidious are the distractions of seemingly pertinent things**, and in a stream of information, it’s much harder to pan for the golden flake you need unless you scoop up plenty of dirt, too.
Anyways, it’s time for me to shake what my momma gave me*** and give you what you came here for: a list of useful books and resources. I’ll break them into a few different broad categories for you:
- Foundations: Books about Life Skills
- Business-ish: Books about Business or Production Methodologies
- Skills: Books that address specific skills and interests
- Fun: Bonus Material you may enjoy