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Game Programming Patterns

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  766 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Game Programming Patterns brings the benefits of reusable design patterns to the world of game programming. Commercial game development expert Robert Nystrom presents an array of general solutions to problems encountered in game development. For example, you'll learn how double-buffering enables a player to perceive smooth and realistic motion, and how the service locator ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Genever Benning
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Katie Cunningham
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech, non-fiction
Just finished this and I can't recommend it enough. Even if you know programming patterns, I feel like this is a good resource to dive into. It goes into when some patterns are bad (a topic that I've found most books skimp on), and how certain patterns apply specifically to game development.

Its most stunning accomplishment was being the first programming patterns book that made me really want to code rather than question my life choices.
May 03, 2014 rated it liked it
(I read the online version.)

This book follows the standard pattern for design pattern books: short chapters on each particular style, with definition, pros & cons, simple pedagogic example, comparisons with other design patterns, and possibly some discussion of real-world implementations & game engines. I haven't heard of any other place where one could find this sort of game-oriented programming design advice, and in that respect, this book is unrivaled.

While far from encycl
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although not directly relevant to my day job I enjoyed this quite a bit. It’s basically a more readable version of the gang of four original. Fun read, nice examples. I do mostly UI & library dev these days where a lot of these patterns will look familiar.
Nick Craske
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Detailed and insightful explanations of how, where an why to use specific patterns. Like the best books on OOO, it is written with a love for programming expressed with personality and charm. A joyful tech-read. Essential, in my opinion.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

As a senior software developer (LOB) with limited game development experience, I found this book to be very well written, easy to follow and understand.

Code samples are well written and simplified or toned down to make the essence of each pattern easier to see and grasp. Most, if not all, of the code is written in C++; but kudos to the author for using a simple and more basic form of C++ without all the modern syntax and sugary stuff. I'm a C# developer and I had no problems followi
Diogo Muller
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming, gamedev
Very good book on Design Patterns for Games. If you are a game developer, you probably know and use a few, if not most of those patterns already. However, the author explains quite a few use cases, optimizations, and reasons why it's better to use one pattern instead of another, depending on what tradeoffs you can accept. Not only that, but the author favors showing things by example, step by step, with a lot of humor in-between, which works better in this case than just dumping a lot of theory ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Part with GoF patterns is terrific, I believe author has wrong understanding of some of them. Singleton section is crazy, points opposite to each other were mentioned simultaneously, suggested sub-classing is going in conflict with common sense, suggestion to change Singleton with service locator was last shot (I believe Uncle Bob would have painfully murdered author, if he had seen this). Anyway I personally liked part with Interpreter and Bytecode, these were described good
The later part
Todor Samardzhiev
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
- Excellent book to read if you've recently gotten into game programming and wonder why game code is structured the way it is.
- Design patterns are easier to make sense of if they're explained in some context. For example, games -- everybody likes games, and they're a very "visual" thing, so running the sample code "in your head" is trivial.
- The author gives some useful tips about programming games in general.

- No exercises :/
- In some chapter
Hemendra Chaudhary
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Design patterns have always been a boring thing whenever I studied them but the first time someone explained them in a way you can apply in the real-world game.

After reading this book, I got answers to a lot of questions like
- Why game engines are designed like that?
- What can go wrong if you don't design like that?
- Which is the best pattern in particular game problem ? and which is the worst?
- How to figure out which pattern will work better in use case and others will not?
Pavlo Hodysh
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: game-dev
First, I'd like to say that this book is well organized and as interesting as it is fun to read (all those side notes are fun). Design decisions are also neat!
As for the content of the book. I guess, you can call a lot of things "a pattern in programming" as a lot of code do actually happen to be repetitive. Most of the patterns described in this book are the ones that we know from "Gang of Four" design patterns. Some of them are actually interesting and new though.
Now, for the inter
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book started out promising with a real-life epiphany on working alongside fantastic programmers and walking over great programming gems. However, I found most of the examples that followed to be non-applicable to the vast majority of games I enjoy playing and creating. An inordinate proportion of the examples come from real-time action games, and very few from 2D RPGs and turn-based battles like Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy VI/V/VI, Chrono Trigger, Fire Emblem, Pocket Monsters, Suikoden, Brea ...more
Matt Hertel
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Game Programming Patterns was a well-written, comprehensive book that was easy to understand, but still expressed complex concepts that are useful to a broad range of programming skill levels. I will continue to use the book as a reference, as the concepts and examples are easy to apply to any situation where a program needs order or optimization. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning the basic programming patterns that operate the games we play, and applying them t ...more
Itzjac Dagon
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed and simple explanation about some of the Design Patterns found in the GoF book.
Each Chapter contains a clear and critical explanation on the pitfalls and benefits when using an specific Design Pattern.

I find particularly interesting, the Chapters on Optimization and Sequencing Patterns.
Make no mistake, when developing a game, it is very likely you will have to work with those ones.

I strongly recommend this book to any video game developer, either beginner or adv
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Robert examines several classic Gang-of-Four design patterns and describes different ways that each pattern can be used to solve specific problems that you often encounter during game programming. Personally, I was already familiar with most of the content in this book but still enjoyed it as a nice summary. Note: the author provides this book for free online if you don't want to purchase the paper version.
Michael Litton
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book for any experienced developer

I found the content of this book useful and, for the most part, well written. It would not recommended to anyone just starting out. Most of the patterns where know to me before hand including writing interpreters and creating byte code languages. This part, although interesting to me, felt a little bit unnecessary in the way it was presented. I agree that the concepts are key but maybe some details could have been skipped.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved the style of this book. Nystrom's prose is clear and he includes many fun tangents and quips along the way that keep this book of game programming patterns from feeling too dry.

The code examples are in C++ so it's more accessible to people who studied C++ previously, but I think the ideas still come across even if you don't understand the details of vtables, friend classes, and other C++ oddities.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is well-written and will give you a lot of 'recipes', applicable not just to game development.
As a web developer I find quite some chapters(State pattern, Component pattern) very beneficial.
The author adds a few humor bits(sorry for the pun) from time to time, so don't expect it to be very dry(again sorry).
Neeraj Adhikari
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
If you have already been doing game programming for some time, chances are you already know the patterns described in this book. But if you are just starting out, this book is a must-read. Robert Nystrom has done a great job with analogies, humor and good explanation. Due to that, this book is more fun to read than the original Gang of Four book.
Elias Daler
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book made me a better programmer and saved me from writing a messy engine. It's very fun to read, contains amazing examples and each chapter will likely cause you to think about improving one or another aspect of your game engine as you read this book.

This is one of my favorite programming books in general as well.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good read for every developer or engineer. No necessary to be used for games only, I can see many parallels in embedded also. But I sure would like to find some time to test all this in some obscure open source indie game.
Cen Rao
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative and well written

This is a very good book for developer, not only for game developer but also general software developers. I will try to read it as many times as I can.
Maksim Ryzhikov
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think it's an awesome book. I'm not a game programmer but:

First: Patterns from this book could be applied to any other domains
Second: It's very interesting and fun to know about game programming
Third: I like author's writing style. It's clear, lightweight and fun
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read!

Concise, engaging, and applicable to real-world situations. I'd consider this as the first stop for any game programmers looking to optimize their software architecture and efficiency.
Nathan Glenn
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a game programmer, but I still enjoyed reading through all of the patterns, which are useful in many contexts. His writing style is extremely clear, and he presents each pattern with an example use-case, example code, and my favorite, discussions of the various design trade-offs. I understood for the first time what a union (C/C++) is good for!
Eduards Sizovs
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
That's a good book that covers basic GoF and OO patterns in the game development context.

If you read GoF patterns and some good OOP book – skip it. If you are new to the topic, read it.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent reference both entertaining and informative. I can’t wait to apply this knowledge to the game I’m making now!
Ben Rand
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
Author has a good writing style. I liked that he pointed out drawbacks to each of the patterns he described, something that's often lacking in discussions about design patterns.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a gem. Engaging, clear, concise and full of technical goodness.
Mikko McMenamin
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Deep dive into the most powerful game programming patterns. Important and useful information for game programmers and other developers who want to deepen their understanding of software architecture.
Matthew Robertson
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cs
This is going to be on my reference shelf for a long time. A super pleasant writing style plus a host of good examples explaining the “why” of each pattern made this a breeze to read through
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Robert Nystrom has programmed professionally for twenty years, about half of which is in games. During his eight years at Electronic Arts, he worked on behemoths like Madden and smaller titles like Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. He's shipped games on the PC, GameCube, PS2, XBox, X360, and DS, but is most proud of the tools and shared libraries he created for others to build on. He love ...more
“Like so many things in software, MVC was invented by Smalltalkers in the seventies. Lispers probably claim they came up with it in the sixties but didn't bother writing it down.” 2 likes
“Anytime “mushed” accurately describes your architecture, you likely have a problem.” 2 likes
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