Book Review: Obsequium

Obsequium book cover

Title: Obsequium

Author: Jaume Esteve, José Luis Sanz, Juan Manuel Moreno, Antonio Giner, Manuel Pazos, José Manuel Fernández, Enrique Colinet, José Manuel Braña Álvarez

Obsequium is an ebook fully dedicated to one game, La Abadía del Crimen.

Fragments of the book sadly are a rewrite (sometimes with almost the exact same words) of Ocho Quilates references to the game. After having read it so recently, it is sad to see such lack of fresh content.

Lots of filling background that I already know and don't care about, while what I'm supossed to be reading is a dissection of a specific videogame, not the golden age of spanish 8bit games (again).

Chapter/Day III is two-fold, one one side gives an excellent explanation of the isometric system and why the videogame applied it, and on the other side provides comparisons with the movie and the book (related to an english online essay).

Day 4 is where the content gets really interesting for me (as a developer), with detailed programming hinsights from one of the two spanish experts, Manuel Pazos, who also has done some conversions of the original game by reverse engineering. Here are really cool things, like how compression of texts, maps, graphics and even the AI is performed, some of the tricks to save memory and speed... real retro game dev. Too bad it feels short, as is the kind of content I wished the full book was about.

The remaining chapters are not bad and provide interesting research as for example all remakes and adaptations the game has had (really interesting) or how some of its design decisions stand as of today's standards for games.

Overall, I expected way more details and deep research of the game internals. While there are some nice chapters, I have a general feeling of a merely decent read, of something that could have been greater.

Tags: Reviews Game Dev

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