These books are a bit more specialized than last week and reflect more of my particular angle on game development and organizing people.
1. Enterprise Gamification - The Basics by Mario Herger
Enterprise Gamification by Mario Herger is the best book I've read to-date on gamification. Herger addresses criticisms against gamification early (game designers and gamification designers are different) and relates to his own work often (many other books just site examples that the writer has been made aware of). If you're looking to understand how to apply game design and theory to your business, school or app, this book is a must read.
What's it like to start a video game company? That's what Morgan Ramsay asked seventeen leading game industry founders, including Nolan Bushnell from Atari, Trip Hawkins from Electronic Arts and Christopher Weaver from Bethesda Softworks. Reading the personal experiences of these entrepreneurs is eye opening and inspiring. If you want to know what went through people's heads, some industry history and how Crash Bandicoot got off the ground, check out this book. You might also be interested in his latest book, Online Game Pioneers at Work and additional interviews.
Buy on Amazon
3. Agile Game Development with Scrum by Clinton Keith
As I continue to work with students and develop the UAT Game Studios production courses I've found Agile Game Development with Scrum by Clinton Keith to be an invaluable resource. New to agile and scrum, and only recently certified as a ScrumMaster, the challenges posed by adapting this methodology to video game development in particular has led to this being my regular go-to book for organizing teams, work flow and reporting. If you're making games but don't have a defined workflow, or want to improve what your doing, this is a book for you.
4. Team Leadership in the Game Industry by Seth Spaulding II
Team Leadership in the Game Industry by Seth Spaulding II helps to break down the internal hierarchy of video game development studios and speaks on the value of cultivating effective leaders and employees who perform. As stated on the back cover, "Specifically addressing the unique needs of managers in the game industry, this book recognizes a common issue: game development teams consisting of talented specialists who lack interpersonal and leadership skills." Even if you don't see yourself as a leader, this book will give you empathy for the role leads play.
5. Blueprints Visual Scripting for Unreal Engine by Brenden Sewell
I met Brenden years ago while working at ASU and he is one of the hardest working game designers I know. When I found out he recently wrote Blueprints Visual Scripting for Unreal Engine I made sure to get my hands on a copy and install Unreal Engine 4 on my home computer. Taking advantage of Unreal's Visual Scripting system, there is no need for programming to get started with a leading engine and build complex game mechanics quickly. Whether your making games already, or wanting to get into games, Brenden's book is an early bird and one of the few that guides you through Epic's engine for designing and building games, simulations and visualizations.
BONUS: Team of Teams: New Rules for Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal
Although not a game development book per se, Team of Teams by General McChrystal deserves a mention. Instrumental in identifying best practices for teams to operate in today's societal and technological realities I have made it mandatory reading for some of my students. All who read it walk away with an invigorated idea of what it means to work as a team. Although I found the war analogies a little heavy, the history on management philosophies and their relevance to today has really stuck with me. Get this book if you're at all interested in how to organize people.