|A wizard battles the dark lord Diablo,|
released to the gaming public in 1997
by Blizzard Entertainment
Readers that pick up a copy of this book will be treated to a unique perspective in storytelling. The book itself contains a literal set of 'side quests': fun side-bars that allow the reader to jump away temporarily in a style reminiscent to Choose Your Own Adventure books. These side quests offer up additional juicy nuggets of information. Some topics include the creation of Kali (one of the first and only tools enabling online play in those days), alternate sides to gaming history from names like Brian Fargo and Feargus Urquhart (of Interplay fame), and even an inside look into the creation of WarCraft. Ultimately, however, the book's core remains focused primarily on Condor, Inc., founded by Dave Brevik, and Max and Erich Schaefer. Readers follow this team in their quest to go from piddly side-projects and contract work, to ultimately delivering a game that is entirely their own creation. For gamers that also possess a love of technology and a passion for computers and programming, the book works double-duty -- not only recounting the stories of inspiring late-night gaming sessions, but of the struggles of day-to-day developments tasks. For the professional software developer, it reinforces what we experience daily and can relate to; for others, it provides insight and perspective into an industry that can be as mysterious as the catacombs below Tristram.
In one of the 'side quests' lurks a quotation left by an interviewee. He summarizes the differences in multiplayer architecture between WarCarft and Diablo, stating, "So there are two versions of the truth"; this quote speaks to much more than just network topology. As is the case even with corporations outside the realm of the game industry, heads bonk, tempers flare, and accounts vary as to how stories truly unfolded. Craddock shows both sides of these stories whenever possible, delivering a fair, objective and honest retelling. It's a refreshing perspective to be given, especially amid an industry surrounded by fan-boys and trolls alike. Book 1 helps bring clarity around events the public can only speculate on.
|Among the Damned: Author David L. Craddock|
(2nd from left) poses with David Brevik (left), Erich
Schaefer (2nd from right), and Max Schaefer
Stay Awhile and Listen: Book 1 was an absolute blast to read, and I am thankful for the great pains the author went to in delivering this first text in his series. If you spent any more than five minutes of your life clicking on demons and watching them explode into a mess of bloody guts, pick up a copy of this book when it is released on October 31st, and then drop what you are doing and consume it.