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Book Review: The Art of Game Characters

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Games are the new movies. That’s what they say. And if I have too much of a life to actually play games, at least I can read a book about them!

The Art of Game Characters, however, is not really as much about games as it is about the timeless art of storytelling. Storytelling has always had – always needed – strong characters.

As a budding screenwriter, I’m keeping one eye on the game industry, because the same skills will be needed for games as for movies – only with games, you need multiple storylines to cover all the possibilities.

As a writer, I was surprised to see lots of pictures in The Art of Game Characters. “Oh, that’s right,” I thought, “art and design are about pictures as well as words… ” Such is my bias. Thankfully, this book covers both visual design and the more psychological side of character design in equal quantities.

The author, Leo Hartas, has done a magnificent job, talking with game designers from the leading development houses to get a real ‘state of the industry’ snapshot of character design, as well as some ‘secrets’ from the designers behind today’s most played games.

There are some bits that a non-coder like me doesn’t understand, like how many hexagons you need to achieve realistic movement. But that’s no barrier; I’d say 90% of The Art of Game Characters is accessible even to non-gamers like myself.

So, if you’d like to create the next Lara Croft, or you just want to understand how it’s done, you can’t do much better than The Art of Game Characters. ED/PUB:LM

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