Book Review: Stay awhile and Listen

Taking advantage of the nights of last week small holidays, I've read a book about game development, but not from the coding point of view. Stay awhile and listen talks about the story of Blizzard Entertainment, the videogame company who created Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo, with a special focus on the later one.

Review

Stay awhile and listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Videogame Empire

Title: Stay awhile and listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Videogame Empire
Author: David L. Craddock

Stay awhile and listen talks about the story of Blizzard Entertainment, the videogame company who created Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo, with a special focus on the later.

The book is a bit like the ying and the yang: It relates a tale of how effort and desire to do what one thinks is right becoming reality and a worldwide success, of how you should focus on doing what you like. But it also is a story of how a company struggled for years to make their dream game, and in the end needed to get bought by another company (who was also bought) in order to be able to achieve it, or else they were going bankruptcy.

It is a story of two companies where every employee worked almost constantly in crunch mode for years, including weekends, in order to complete videogame ports so they could (try to) focus on their own games. And in the end they did, but after a really long way of effort.

The book not only contains notes, interviews and research of the history of the company, but also some interesting geek details like how the design of Diablo evolved, how they improved the pseudo random dungeon generation algorithm, or how their (by the time) amazing lighting system worked (a clever palete shifting technique).

The story itself feels short because stops just after the original Diablo gets released (a bit later than Warcraft and Warcraft II), but even with that "I want more" ending, it is interesting if you played this games back in the nineties. Also around 40% of the book is full of trivia and details (called "side quests"), some of them quite interesting in general, not only regarding the company or its games.

Posted by Kartones on 2014-05-05

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