"Creating Games," Subject of Book by Professor Morgan McGuire of Williams College

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - "Creating Games: Mechanics, Content, and Technology," by Morgan McGuire of Williams College and Odest Chadwicke Jenkins of Brown University, was recently published by A K Peters, Ltd.

McGuire, assistant professor of computer science at Williams, and Jenkins present a comprehensive look at the different aspects of game development and how these interact, covering board games, video games and serious games.

The book is targeted at three different audiences: students, independent developers, and new professionals in the gaming industry. It offers different approaches for each audience group and incorporates a series of worksheets that facilitate the drafting of a game industry design document.

"Games are inherently multidisciplinary and can be taught through the perspective of any discipline," write the authors. While incorporating many disciplines, the material in this book draws primarily on computer science and art.

Using principles from these fields, the book explores organization, group dynamics, and licensing, which fall under the broad category of management. It discusses the three components of games: mechanics, or the underlying rules; content, the art, music, and story; and technology, the platform through which the game is presented. Finally, it returns to the issue of management with a chapter on the social issues around games and in the industry.

In addition to its brisk, clear prose and the worksheets, numerous supplementary elements make this book both accessible and challenging. These helpful features include a "terms explained" section, exercises, and suggested resources in every chapter, as well as several appendices, one of which gives an extensive listing of the games canon, ranging from ancient to digital.

At Williams, McGuire's research centers on computer vision and video games. His areas of interest include using video cameras and computers to understand the 3-D world, increasing interactivity in video game design, and improving 3-D rendering. Since coming to Williams in 2006, he has created an introductory computer science course titled "Strategy, Interaction, and Design in Board and Video Games" and redesigned an upper-level computer graphics course.

McGuire serves as an independent consultant for the games industry, and has worked on titles such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009), Titan Quest (2006) and ROBLOX (2005). He has also been senior software architect at graphics-related companies and manages two Open Source coding projects.

He received his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000 and his Ph.D. from Brown University in 2006.

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