Today i write my review on very special book , it’s a memoir of world famous game designer: Sid Meier, where he tells the story and personal experience of creating different type of games:
For anyone who have no clue what kind of games did Sid Meier created, well look at the following let’s play of civilization
For me, who actually new into the field of game design I am currently developing of my own indie Unity3D based game: “SOE 2500” a kind of spiritual successor of civilization type game and for me it was very important to get an access to the source of original idea of civilization game.
Sid Meier tells to the reader what was his thinking process and explains how he got game released and how much work it was.
I personally feel humbled to know that creating civ game wasn’t a light job it was iterative process where many decisions were taken into consideration and then implement and tested thoroughly.
Most unexpected part of the book was to discover that Sid Meier don’t use design document at all, he prefers to create prototype after prototype which all make sense now, I personally as IT consultant pretty involved into writing different type of the tech documentation, but I understand that sometimes the rate of requirements change is pretty high and the work to update the tech document become fast out of sync and make no sense whatsoever.
Does Sid Meier have other skills besides programming and design?
As I understood Sid Meier can play violin and even keyboard and has reasonable art skills, throughout book you will discover that Sid Meier did a lot of work on creative side of game designer job and it’s amazing, that one person able to implement three or more different type of jobs!
As independent IT consultant I always analyze the efficiency of company where I work and it was great to discover that Sid Meier too have such tendencies: his business relationship with the partner at MicroProse and then later at Firaxis were with common sense and even correlate to the current state of many big game companies, which in my opinion nowadays don’t give too much freedom to the game studios like it was in the past.One thing which I missed in the book was my beloved game: Alpha Centauri
In the book Sid Meier mentions this game only few times, but the game was developed in Firaxis by the designer Brian Reynolds , sure Sid speaks only great word about Brian , but I missed the part how Alpha Centauri was developed, maybe if Brian Reynolds release his memoirs then I and community around Alpha Centauri would know more about the process.
This book give some real good advises to future game designers and I wouldn’t mention them here, but I say they are great and I would definitely take those advice’s to the heart and it directly will influence my own experience of developing my own first game!
Summary: Wow, if you a strategy gamer or anyone who ever played Sid Meier games, you would definitely learn throughout his book more about him and his experiences and even about his family and how exactly it did influenced him as game designer.
Can I recommend this book to a game designer/s?
Yes, Yes, Yes, if you a game designer which creating strategy game you will definitely benefit from this book, it will give you a real objective perspective how great games done and at which costs.
Can I recommend this book to a non-gamer or designer?
Sure why not, if you ever wonder how really computer games are created and what kind of challenges can arise, you will definitely benefit from it.
As independent IT consultant,
I dream one day to meet the great Sid Meier and have talk about his games and show my game and tell him that his legacy won’t be forgotten and new game designers would always remember the lessons which he discover thorough his experiences, this means the cycle of unknowingness would be broken and the next generations would always benefit from previous generation as it is supposed to be!
Thank you Sid Meier,
for sharing your experience with us new generation of game designers and the rest of the world!