215 Free Ebooks & Resources on Game Development and Graphics Programming
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Gaming Dev Talks
- Overwatch – The Elusive Goal: Play by Sound by Scott Lawlor, Tomas Neumann (Blizzard) – 2016
- How to Make Your Game Just Completely Hilarious: The Stanley Parable by William Pugh (Roberts & Co Bunsen Outlet Limited) – 2015
- Classic Game Postmortem: Loom by Brian Moriarty (WPI) – 2015
- Hearthstone: How to Create an Immersive User Interface by Derek Sakamoto (Blizzard) – 2015
- Scroll Back: The Theory and Practice of Cameras in Side-Scrollers by Itay Keren (Untame) – 2015
- A Live Art Demonstration of Creating Worlds through Design Thinking by Feng Zhu (Feng Zhu Design) – 2015
- Hearthstone: 10 Bits of Design Wisdom by Eric Dodds (Blizzard) – 2014
- Level Design in a Day: Decisions That Matter – Meaningful Choice in Game and Level Design by Matthias Worch (2K Games) – 2014
- There and Dad Again – The Octodad: Dadliest Catch Postmortem by John Murphy, Phil Tibitoski (Young Horses) – 2014
- TwitchPlayedPokemon: An Analysis of the Experimental Interactive Phenomenon by Alex Leavitt (USC) – 2014
- Narrative Legos by Ken Levine (Irrational Games) – 2014
- Antichamber: An Overnight Success, Seven Years in the Making by Alexander Bruce – 2014
- Antichamber: Three Years of Hardcore Iteration by Alexander Bruce – 2014
- A Study in Transparency: How Board Games Matter by Soren Johnson (Mohawk Games) – 2014
- Hearts and Minds by Frank Lantz (NYU Game Center) – 2014
- Interpreting Feedback and Maintaining Your Vision by Andy Nguyen (Pocketwatch Games) – 2014
- Why Is Gone Home a Game? by Steve Gaynor (The Fullbright Company) – 2014
- Jiro Dreams of Game Design by Brenda Romero (UC Santa Cruz) – 2014
- Preserving a Sense of Discovery in the Age of Spoilers by James Crawford (Twinbeard Studios) – 2014
- Animation Bootcamp: An Indie Approach to Procedural Animation by David Rosen (Wolfire Games) – 2014
- Super Time Force: Solving the Time Travel Paradox by Kenneth Yeung (Capy Games) – 2014
- Enhancing Sportsmanship in Online Games by Jeffrey Lin (Riot Games) – 2014
- The Art of The Witness by Luis Antonio (Thekla Inc) – 2014
- Building the Content that Drives the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Economy by Bronwen Grimes (Valve) – 2014
- Classic Game Postmortem: Myst by Robyn Miller (Zoo Break Gun Club) – 2013
- #1ReasonToBe by Annakaisa Kultima, Auriea Harvey, Brenda Romero, Zuraida Buter, Henrike aka Riker Lode, Siobhan Reddy, Leigh Alexander (Panel) – 2013
- Obsessive-Compulsive Development: Retro/Grade Postmortem by Matt Gilgenbach (24 Caret Games) – 2013
- The Western Games That Conquered China by Henry Fong (Yodo1) – 2013
- Designing Journey by Jenova Chen (thatgamecompany) – 2013
- AI Postmortems: Assassin’s Creed III, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Warframe by Daniel Brewer, Alex Cheng, Richard Dumas, Aleissia Laidacker (Panel) – 2013
- Building the Touchy-Feely World of Tearaway by Rex Crowle (Media Molecule) – 2013
- A Theory of Fun 10 Years Later by Raph Koster (Playdom) – 2012
- Attention, Not Immersion: Making Your Games Better with Psychology and Playtesting, the Uncharted Way by Richard Lemarchand (Naughty Dog) – 2012
- Classic Game Postmortem: Harvest Moon by Yasuhiro Wada (Toy Box, Inc.) – 2012
- The 5 Domains of Play: Applying Psychology’s Big 5 Motivation Domains to Games by Jason VandenBerghe (Ubisoft) – 2012
- Creating a Sequel to a Game That Doesn’t Need One by Chet Faliszek, Erik Wolpaw (Valve) – 2012
- How I Got My Mom to Play Through Plants vs. Zombies by George Fan (PopCap) – 2012
- Design in Detail: Tuning the Muzzle Velocity of the Plasma Rifle Bolt on Legendary Difficulty Across the HALO Franchise by Jaime Griesemer (Bungie) – 2011
- Dynamics: The State of the Art by Clint Hocking (LucasArts) – 2011
- Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker and the Sublime by Frank Lantz (Zynga) – 2011
- The Road Ahead by Cliff Bleszinski (Epic Games) – 2011
- Truth in Game Design by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2011
- 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
- Everything You Know is Wrong by by Sid Meier (Firaxis Games) – 2010
- Everything I Learned About Level Design I Learned from Disneyland by Scott Rogers (THQ) – 2009
- Helping Your Players Feel Smart: Puzzles as User Interface by Randy Smith (Tiger Style) – 2009
- Indie Prototyping by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2007
- Innovation in Indie Games by Kyle Gabler, Jenova Chen, Jon Mak, Jon Blow (Panel) – 2007
- 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
- Physical Therapy Is Boring — Play A Game Instead by Cosmin Mihaiu – 2015 (TED)
- Play This Game To Come Up With Original Ideas by Shimpei Takahashi – 2015 (TEDxTokyo)
- Massively Multi-Player… Thumb-Wrestling? by Jane McGonigal (Institute for the Future) – 2013 (TEDGlobal)
- The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years Of Life by Jane McGonigal – 2012 (TEDGlobal)
- Your Brain On Video Games by Daphne Bavelier (University of Geneva) – 2012 (TEDxCHUV)
- Gaming For Understanding by Brenda Romero (Loot Drop) – 2012 (TEDxPhoenix)
- How Games Make Kids Smarter by Gabe Zichermann (Author) – 2011 (TEDxKids@Brussels)
- 7 Ways Games Reward The Brain by Tom Chatfield – 2010 (TEDGlobal)
- The Game Layer On Top Of The World by Seth Priebatsch – 2010 (TEDxBoston)
- Meet Milo, The Virtual Boy by Peter Molyneux – 2010 (TEDGlobal)
- Gaming Can Make A Better World by Jane McGonigal (Institute for the Future) – 2010 (TED)
- The Art of Puzzles by Scott Kim (Discover Magazine) – 2009 (EG)
- Play is More than Just Fun by Stuart Brown (National Institute for Play) – 2009 (Serious Play)
- Games for Girls by Brenda Laurel (California College of the Arts) – 1998 (TED)
- Spore, Birth of a Game by Will Wright (Maxis) – 2007 (TED)
- Are Games Better than Liife? by David Perry (Gaikai) – 2006 (TED)
Other Related Posts
- 2D Game Development: From Zero To Hero – 2020
This is a small project that aims to gather some knowledge about game development and make it available to everyone.
- Making Games with Python & Pygame – 2018
This book will teach you how to make graphical computer games with the Pygame framework (also called the Pygame library) in the Python programming language.
- Free Classic Game Covers: Confessions of An Art Junkie – 2016
This book is a must read for computer gamers and artists who enjoy classic cover art of some of their favorite games. The book is visually beautiful and showcases all the classic covers that have been painted between 1985 and 1994.
- John D. Carmack at UT Dallas by John D. Carmack (Oculus) – 2015 (University of Texas)
- Making of Monument Valley in Unity by Peter Pashley (ustwo) – 2014 (Nordic Game)
- Attempting Deep Work, Surviving Long Projects by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2014 (Indievelopment)
- A Fireside Chat with Rich Hilleman by Rich Hilleman (EA) – 2014 (University of Virginia)
- Innovation in Game Design by Richard Bartle – 2014 (Tallinn University)
- From Shodan, to Big Daddy, to Elizabeth: The Evolution of AI Companions by Ken Levine (Irrational Games) – 2013 (BAFTA)
- Game Design: The Medium is the Message by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2013 (Creative Mornings)
- Great Level Design and the Artistic Expression of Mathematics by Hamish Todd – 2013 (Game Connection Europe)
- Sir, You Are Being Proceudrally Generated by Tom Betts, James Carey (Big Robot) – 2013 (Unite Nordic)
- The Art of Screenshake by Jan Willem Nijman (Vlambeer) – 2013 (INDIGO)
- Game Design Tools (I Wish I learned About Sooner) by Daniel Cook (Spry Fox) – 2013 (IGDA Seattle)
- Facilitating Stories in Journey by John Nesky (thatgamecompany) – 2013 (Georgia Tech)
- Mastering Game Mechanics by Brandon DeCoster, Scott Rubin (GeekNights) – 2013 (PAX East)
- Music Design in Games by Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) – 2012 (G.A.N.G Summit)
- Functional Theory for Game Design by Keith Burgun (Dinofarm Games) – 2012 (NY Film Academy)
- How to Give Yourself a Job in the Games Industry by Chet Faliszek (Valve) – 2012 (Eurogamer Expo)
- Juice It Or Lose It by Martin Jonasson, Petri Purho (Indie) – 2012 (Nordic Game Indie Night)
- Sensible Nonsense by Rami Ismail, Jan Willem Nijman (Vlambeer) – 2012 (Indie Connect)
- Lecture Series by Todd Howard (Bethesda) – 2012 (George Mason University)
- Getting Gamification Right by Sebastian Deterding (PLAIT Lab) – 2011 (Google Tech Talks)
- G4LI Keynote by Gabe Newell (Valve) – 2011 (Games for Change)
- Make Games, Not War by Jesse Schell (Schell Games) – 2011 (Games for Change)
- Programming Aesthetics Learned From Making Independent Games by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2011 (Berkeley)
- Designing the Universe by Jonathan Blow, Marc Ten Boch – 2011 (IndieCade)
- Video Games and the Human Condition by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2010 (Rice Univerisity)
- Fundamental Conflicts in Contemporary Game Design by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2008 (MIGS)
- Designing a Pandemic: Lessons Learned by Matt Leacock – 2008 (Google Tech Talks)
- How and Why by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2007 (Freeplay)
- Design Reboot by Jonathan Blow (Number None, Inc.) – 2007 (MIGS)
- Lessons from Game Design by Will Wright (Maxis) – 2003 (Computer History Museum)
- 2014 D.I.C.E Europe – 2014 (DICE Europe)
- Steam Dev Days – 2014 (Steam Dev Days)
- Game Development Micro-Talks – 2014 (Unknown Worlds Post Mortems)
- 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit – 2013 (DICE)
- Indiecade Official Channel – 2013 (Now, IndieCade)
- PRACTICE 2013 – 2013 (PRACTICE)
- Game Engine Architecture Club – 2012 (Now, DigiPen Game Engine Architecture)
- POLYGAMELAB Official Channel – 2012 (Now, NYU Poly Game Lab)
- A life well wasted by Robert Ashley
- Another Castle by Charles J Pratt (Game Design Advance)
- Brainy Gamer by Michael Abbott
- Game Developers Radio by Joseph Burchett
- The Game Design Round Table by Jon Shafer (Firaxis), Dirk Knemeyer (The New Science, Tomorrow).
- IndieGamePod by Interviews with developers about their games.
- Ludology by Ryan Sturm, Geoff Engelstein
Blogs, Forums and Portals
- Designer Notes
Soren Johnson’s Game Design Journal.
The Art & Business of Making Games.
- Game Development on StackExchange
Game Development Stack Exchange.
Game Backend Infrastructure and Development.
Game Development Community.
Various topics relating to game development.
- Aras Pranckevičius
- Stephen Hill
- Sébastien Lagarde
- Angelo Pesce
- Brian Karis
- Christian Schüler
- Michael Chang
- John Chapman
- John Hable
- Philp Rideout
- Adrian Courrèges
- Colin Barré-Brisebois
- Rory Driscoll
- Real-Time Rendering Blog
- Mikael H Christensen
- HTML5 Game Devs Forum
- Html5 Game Development
- Java Gaming
- Lost Garden
- Real-Time Rendering
Game Development Tutorials
- 3D Game Shaders For Beginners
Step-by-step guide to real-time shading techniques.
- Building Your First Online Multiplayer Game in Unity
5 Steps with PlayFab Server Hosting.
- Simple HTML5 Canvas Game
Simple HTML canvas RPG looking game.
- Udacity: HTML5 Game Development
HTML5 Game Development by Google.
Graphics / Modeling Tutorials
- Coursera: Interactive Computer Graphics
This course will introduce various interactive tools developed in computer graphics research field with their design rationales and algorithms.
- 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.
- Udacity: Interactive 3D Graphics
Interactive 3D Graphics by Google.
- How To Make Game Music with FL Studio
Youtube vid by rm2kdev.
Physically Based Rendering
- Readings on Physically Based Rendering
- The State of Rendering – 2013
- CodingLabs: Physically Based Rendering I
- CodingLabs: Physically Based Rendering II
- Deferred Shading Tutorial – 2005
- Spherical Harmonics for Beginners – 2013
- A Tiny Improvement of Oren-Nayar Reflectance Model – 2012
- Plausible Environment Lighting in Two Lines of Code – 2013
- Microfacet Models for Refraction through Rough Surfaces – 2007
- Artist Friendly Metallic Fresnel – 2014
- Irradiance Volumes for Games – 2012
- Wolfire Blog – Physically Based Rendering – 2015
SIGGRAPH Shading Courses
- Physically Based Shader Design in Arnold – 2014
- Crafting a Next-Gen Material Pipeline for The Order: 1886 – 2013
- Real Shading in Unreal Engine 4 – 2013
- Physically Based Shading in Call of Duty: Black Ops – 2013
- 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
- Phong Illumination Model – 2012
- Zephyros Anemos – WebGL Terrain Rendering by Stavros – Terrain rendering in OpenGL and terrain algorithms.
- Physically Based Real-Time Lens Flare Rendering – 2011
- John Chapman – Pseudo Lens Flare – 2013
- Image Imperfections & Film Grain Post-Process FX – 2013
- GLSL Cubic Lens Distortion – 2011
- The Skylanders SWAP Force Depth-of-Field Shader – 2013
Ray Tracing & Distance Functions
- Fast Soft-Shadowing on Dynamic Height Fields – 2008
- Raymarching Distance Fields – 2013
- Screen Space Glossy Reflections – 2015
Text, Lines & Shapes
- Higher Quality 2D Text Rendering – 2013
- Drawing Lines is Hard – 2015
- Material Design on the GPU – 2015
- Lecture: Polygon Triangulation – 2014
- Drawing Text with Signed Distance Fields in Mapbox GL – 2014
- Multi-Channel SDF Text Rendering – 2014
- SDF Rendering of Color Bit Planes – 2013
- Watercolor Inspired Non-Photorealistic Rendering for Augmented Reality – 2008
- Advanced Real-Time Cel Shading in OpenGL – 2013
- Stroke-Based Rendering – 2002
- Hand Drawn Rendering – 2012
- Real-Time Ink Dispersion in Absorbent Paper – 2005
- WYSIWYG NPR: Drawing Strokes Directly on 3D Models – 2002
- Stylized Rendering Using Samples of a Painted Image – 2007
- Math-as-code – 2015
- CodingLabs: World, View, Projection Matrices
- Interactive Introduction to Noise Functions – 2013
- Fast, Branchless Ray/Bounding Box Intersections – 2011
- Combined Approximation of Fresnel Visibility – 2015
- Compact Normal Storage for Small G-Buffers – 2009
- Normal Mapping without Precomputed Tangents – 2013
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