Darius is asking me for a review (or at least comment on) this book. There's a sample of their first chapter up, which is evidently what he wants me to discuss, since I don't have the book itself.
Well, I'm a little short on posts at the moment (other things on my mind, but there's a doozy coming up about game notation sometime soonish), so this will make an okay post to keep the blog churning.
I hate it when people's "sample chapter" is their first chapter.
Nobody I've shopped with for books buys a book based on the first chapter. The first chapter is universally just an "orientation" chapter. And "orientation" is another word for "99% bullshit".
So, thanks to the sample chapter, we know the book is about applying various "patterns" to game design in various ways. After glancing briefly at the first chapter, you quickly flip to somewhere near the middle of the book, to see if there's any actual content to back up the lofty goals.
Wait, I don't have the book. All I can see are my fingers. Hmm. I could use a manicure.
I'm not trying to offend Darius - or anyone else. The idea of the book is fine, but I could write the same opening chapter for three book ideas I have. It's hardly indicative of the content. It's like wanting to see a trailer for a movie, but getting the FBI warning and the "rated R" logo. Why they put up the first chapter instead of chapter, say, 12? Who knows! Gross incompetance, I assume.
If anyone has the book, I'm perfectly willing to borrow it and read it. I can give an explicit, in-depth review of the book, because that's the sort of thing I love doing.
However, I do have a few things to say about their concept.
It's not my cup of tea. Their stated idea - which may be misleading, I haven't read the book - is that they offer a wide variety of design "patterns" both found in the wild and raised time right here at home. I don't know what they mean by "patterns", but I get the sneaking suspicion they mean "theories of game design". If that is true, then most of their book will be crap or obvious, because nearly all theories of game design are crap or obvious.
If they spoke more clearly and with less of a "this is my thesis" miasma, I would probably be more likely to assume they were doing something new and interesting, instead of what boils down to, in essence, assimilating other people's work.