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Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  5,349 ratings  ·  583 reviews

Developing video games—hero's journey or fool's errand? The creative and technical logistics that go into building today's hottest games can be more harrowing and complex than the games themselves, often seeming like an endless maze or a bottomless abyss. In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier takes readers on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game deve

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Harper Paperbacks
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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,349 ratings  ·  583 reviews

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Tim O'Hearn
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up for one reason: to learn why Diablo 3 was such a let down. I vaguely remembered a well-known developer posting "F*** that loser" on Facebook in reference to a past contributor criticizing the new game and that being a big deal. I really hoped to get the full story behind what went on there. Speculation on Blizzard's next Diablo venture would have been cool, too. Really, I would have read a book entirely about the Diablo franchise.

By the time I got to the Diablo 3 section, I
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dear Goodreads Father, forgive me, for I have sinned: I love video games as much as I love books. It's true, I put them on an equal level. I know it is blasphemy, but I cannot help this corruption of my heart. Truth is, I love anything with a story, no matter the medium. Film, TV, books, video games, the secret hearts of strangers...

But, yes, video games, the newest and most immature of these media and therefore the one with the most room for growth. I have been there from nearly the beginning
Executive Summary: I think this book can appeal to both software developers and fans of video games alike, but it's definitely targeted more at the latter than the former.

Full Review
This book was previewed with an excerpt from the chapter on Diablo 3 (which incidentally is the ONLY game in this book that I've actually played/plan to play).

When I was younger I wanted to make video games. Somewhere along the way however I felt like I'd rather spend my time PLAYING games instead of making them.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, ebook, non-fiction
I can't say it really taught me a whole lot about game development, apart from I wouldn't want to do it due to all that "crunch" time.

Basically, people come up with an idea, there is a few problems along the way which are mostly all the same kinda thing - technical issues, often publishers wanting to hurry a game out (Dragon Age 2) and then horrendous crunch time.

Perhaps it would have been more interesting if he'd looked at game development as a whole, rather than breaking it down into chapter
Mike Horowitz
Jan 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2017
As much as it hopes to show the "realities" of game development, Jason Schreier's book only succeeds at casually shrugging off crunch, "death marches" and glaringly evident worker exploitation. The stories sell, but his writing is grossly irresponsible.

This quote by Glen Weldon on NPR sums up my thoughts:
"There's another book lurking beneath the surface of the one Schreier's written, which ditches such blandishments and tackles the culture of gaming — and gaming development — with a saltiness t
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cuando uno entra al típico foro de videojuegos no es raro llevarse la impresión de que la masa consumidora de ocio electrónico está compuesta de críos malcriados que, desde el desconocimiento de conceptos básicos del mundo laboral, la economía e incluso la vida real, despotrican con vehemencia de las desarrolladoras del objeto de sus desvelos. Es como si fueran niños pequeños jugando a castillos en la arena, quejándose del clima y las mareas de un inmenso océano cuyos entresijos desconocen. Pues ...more
Jesse Billet
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a very well written book that I think Jason spent a lot of time on. Time that leaves me a quite a bit confused. However, I want to address some very strange misconceptions that people seem to be having having about this book. This is not some guide to game development and this book is not going to help you make your Indie game. If you're buying this book for that reason then you're going to be left disappointed.

Now this is a really solid book and it's very well written but with the exce
Nauris Lukševics
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Lasīt 270 lapas gandrīz divas nedēļas, jo bail, ka pabeigs pārāk ātri, UN KO TAD DARĪS!?
Tiem, kas spēlē videospēles - obligātā lasāmviela, neinteresēs varbūt tikai tiem, kas tajā pasaulē neorientējas pilnīgi un galīgi.
Tagad jāsēž un jāklikšķina refresh autora tviterī un jāgaida, kad paziņos nākamās grāmatas iznākšanas datumu.
Maurício Linhares
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So you think your job as a software engineer sucks? Think again, you could be working on games!

Nightmarish environments with total and complete lack of management, direction, tooling or even a common dictionary, a bootload of manual testing and very little feedback until you finally deliver the final game to customers. Now add a sprinkle of 100 hour weeks (yes, you will work on weekends), no overtime pay and very little financial incentive and you end up completely burned out, broke and most lik
May 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ten separate articles about the making of 10 particular video games, with no connecting materials or conclusions drawn. May be of interest to players of those games, but fails to live up to the cover blurbs, e.g. "A fascinating and remarkably complete pantheon."

The ten games, in order, are Pillars of Eternity, Uncharted 4, Stardew Valley, Diablo III, Halo Wars, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Shovel Knight, Destiny, The Witcher 3, and Star Wars 1313. Only the last was never released. There was only a v
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Its a miracle that any game is made. Pokud jste seznámeni s konceptem herních post mortemů, takové „jak jsme (ne)udělali hru psané (s) vývojáři“, či dokonce některé z především tu a tam i čtete, tak přesně víte do čeho jdete. Jde totiž o post mortemy (pravda s přidanou hodnotou, ale o tom později) hned několika profláknutých her.

Což je jedna z hlavních výtek; autor knihy si totiž vybral dost podobné vzorky. Samozřejmě jedno je nezávislé studio financující svůj projekt skrze Kic
"One surefire way to annoy a game developer is to ask, in response to discovering his or her chosen career path, what it’s like to spend all day playing video games.”

In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at some major videogames (successes, failures and everything in between) to show what it’s like working in the video game industry. Among the games that Schreier looks at are Destiny, Stardew Valley, Shovel Knight, Dragon Age Inquisition and the fable
Daniel Bastian
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"Oh, Jason," he said. "It's a miracle that any game is made."

Finally, a book that captures the complexity of game development that anyone can pick up and enjoy. Jason Schreier of Kotaku spent two years traveling around the world to score in depth interviews with the industry's most renowned gaming studios. Drawing from sources speaking both on and off the record, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels provides a rare glimpse into the pain and passion that go into bringing a modern video game to market. In ten
Michel Avenali
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
A revealing insightful look at the trials and tribulations that go into making some of the biggest games of today.
As a gamer it was a revelation of what goes on behind the scenes of game development and how incredibly hard it is for these teams of passionate developers to create these experiences.
Highly recommended if you are interested in game design and development , are a gamer yourself or wish to learn more about the industry.
Juan-Pablo Scaletti
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Depressing. Almost all stories are about teams of 50+ devs in continuous crunch mode.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pytanie podstawowe - dlaczego, u licha, zainteresowałam się tą książką? Odpowiedź: bo zawsze ciągnęło mnie do grafiki i animacji. Może nie tyle, co chciałam robić stricte gry komputerowe, ale właśnie czymś związanym z grafiką się bawić. Miałam już za sobą pierwsze próby w tworzeniu prostych gier point&click czy w modelowaniu 3D; przygotowałam wirtualną bombonierkę z trylionem czekoladek w różnych kształtach - nie wracajmy do tego.

Ta książka pokazała mi, jak bardzo jednak nie chcę tego robić.
Bon Tom
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm sure it's not intentional, just unavoidable because of the topic, but this book is for gamers. It's that one book the gamers will enjoy for sure, if they don't read anything else ever. This book is incredible fun, just like the best games are. And the amount of info on what's happening behind the scenes... priceless.

Also, just like it's the case with all arts, I strongly believe that increased understanding of laws that govern the production and performance also increases the amount of enjo
Alex Givant
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tts, memoirs, best-of-2018
Excellent book about what it takes to build game that players want to play for many hours. I love Diablo 3, but on start they had this auction for game items that many people hated, read in the book they dropped it and added lot of stuff to make it fun again - should check the game again!
Tyler Sampson
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely fascinating read, and cool to see how some of this generations most revered games almost failed to see release. With games like Dragon Age Inquisition and Witcher 3 (two games that won many game of the year awards) and even the infamous Star Wars 1313 and its tremulous tale, this book is a must read for anyone interested in game development as a career, hobby or even just slightly interested in the inside baseball of it all.
Antônio Xerxenesky
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Muito bacana, apesar dos capítulos que não me interessavam em nada (quem se importa com Halo Wars?)
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alternative title: How the sausage is made

Fun collection of essays/articles on how computer games are made, one game per chapter/article. Most of these games are fairly new, so if like me you're born in the 80s chances are you won't have played them (some games: Diablo III, Witcher 3, Uncharted 4, Stardew Valley, Pillars of Eternity). Some stories are success stories (Witcher 3), some are failures (Star Wars 1313, cancelled when Disney bought Lucasarts).

What struck me was how little planning or
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Video game development is a hard thing to write about. In most cases, it's such a large, expensive, and lengthy process that trying to describe it in a single chapter is essentially an impossible task. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels attempts to tell the stories of ten games in ten chapters. Largely, it succeeds. The book accurately captures the insane difficulty of creating a game (not to mention making a successful game) and presents it in an engaging, easily readable format. It also has some flaws. ...more
Aali Hashim
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I normally don't read nonfiction because it bores me, but I wanted to know more about how video games were made, and most importantly why the fuck Bungie thought their version of Destiny was worth 60 dollars plus over a 100 more in worthless DLC. So when I started reading this book, I did not expect to fall in love with Schreier's writing style. He writes each chapter (and game) as a story - from the birth of the concept to the actual execution and everything that happens in between. My first in ...more
Miguel Sanz
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aparte de estar muy bien escrito y narrado, este libro me ha cambiado la forma de ver los juegos y, sobre todo, su industria. Es inspirador conocer las historias de personas que aman lo mismo que tú y han conseguido sacar adelante proyectos inverosímiles de forma brillante (o fracasado estrepitosamente y, aún así, siguen al pie del cañón). Desde que empecé a leer este libro, cada vez que sale un juego me pregunto qué historia habrá detrás. Ya estoy deseando leer el siguiente de Schreier.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro de lectura obligada para los interesados en cómo se produce un videojuego contemporáneo, desde las superproducciones (Uncharted 4, Diablo 3, Destiny) hasta productos más humildes (Stardew Valley, Shovel Knight). Cada uno de los 10 artículos que contiene se aborda de la misma manera y, quizás esa estructura demasiado machacona, la escasa capacidad de Schreier para abordar cada pieza de forma diferenciada, sea lo más flojo de Blood, Sweat and Pixels.

Schreier se acerca cronológicamente a la p
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When a book makes you miss your station twice, you know it's a good one. I originally picked this up with the premise of 'I'm reading this for work', but I ended up really enjoying it and even played Stardew Valley and looked further into 'The Witcher 3'! I am not a massive gamer, but I do have my niche of games I get caught into ('The Sims', 'Need for Speed' to name a few) so I was at least hoping that if I read it for work I might find something that I would like to explore further and that wo ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun to read, indeed.

I've expected something more like an analysis of why game development is different to all the other kind of software (why all the crunch), how does this industry evolve (early access, PTW, internal marketplaces, streaming), etc. What I've got instead is few (6? 7? I don't remember) stories of how few certain high profile (very well known) games were developed, what were the biggest challenges & how did the creators achieve their goal. In fact, not all of the stories are s
Pavel Dobrovsky
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tahle kniha o zákulisí vývoje současných videoher má dva typy čtenářů: Buď patří k fanouškům jedné z her (Destiny, Zaklínač 3, konzolové Diablo 3 nebo Shovel Knight, Pillars of Eternity a spousta dalších) anebo jsou videoherní / popkulturní novináři, kteří chtějí zůstat v obraze. Pak možná ještě sadističtí voyeuři, kteří chtějí vědět, jak strašně lidi při vývoji trpí, jak se jim rozkládají životy, nemají peníze na kontě, dupou po nich vydavatelé, koroduje jim sebevědomí, zdraví a rodiny a v průb ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having spent several years in a software development house, this provided me with plenty of flashbacks. Admittedly my years in the barrel were not at a game development studio, but I could appreciate the craziness that the game devs go through to get a game out the door. The stories behind the games were fascinating, and if there's one common theme running through each story it's the soul crushing doubt that dev teams go through when working on games. I see this in other creative types I know, a ...more
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been an avid video gamer in the 1990s and 2000s and pretty much stopped playing video games about a decade ago. Also, I have to mention that I haven't played any of the games covered in this book but was somewhat familiar with them through various media. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this book since it was a really diverse selection of developer stories: People who developed their first video game, developer companies who became independent and/or switched to crowd-sourcing, developers wh ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Link all editions of BLOOD SWEAT AND PIXELS 2 17 Jul 18, 2017 01:08PM  
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“One surefire way to annoy a game developer is to ask, in response to discovering his or her chosen career path, what it’s like to spend all day playing video games.” 4 likes
“Age of Empires was big, but compared with Halo it had the cultural impact of a brunch photo on Instagram.” 2 likes
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