Recommended reading

I do a lot of reading. I learn from books. These are the books that have helped me the most in learning javascript, becoming a better programmer, learning screenwriting and telling better stories. I highly recommend getting these books and reading through them.

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Recommended javascript books
Recommended screenwriting and story writing books
Recommended game design books
Recommended interactive fiction writing books
Recommended general programming books

Recommended books for learning javascript and becoming a better programmer

While I get a lot of my coding information and tutorials online, I have a short list of coding books that I think should be on every programmer’s book shelf.

Eloquent Javascript

This book is how I learned javascript. It is comprehensive, and teaches good programming practices in a way that is easy to follow and understand. It is the first resource I recommend to anyone who wants to learn javascript.

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Secrets of the Javascript Ninja

From John Resig, the creator of jQuery, this book respects javascript as its own worthwhile language. It is one of the few introductory books I know that opens with functions, closures, and recursion, explaining how mastery over functions is at the heart of expert javascript programming.

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Recommended story/screenwriting books

Although I read these books to help me learn screenwriting, I also find them useful for adding stories in my games and influencing my game design.

Screenwriting: The Sequence Approach

I’ve read so many books on story structure, but this book taught me a totally new approach that has been immensely helpful in all the stories I’ve written and put into my games. I definitely recommend studying this book.

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Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies

A very popular screenwriting book series, I found this book offers a helpful take on story structure and the various turning points. It also shows how the general structure is employed in many different genres. It’s been a frequent resource for me.

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The Inner Game of Screenwriting

This book helps with your characters’ psychology, and stresses a key concept in successful story telling: plot isn’t enough on its own, it exists to facilitate the character’s internal struggles. This book will make your stories more powerful.

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Recommended game design books

Good game design affects all aspects of how you make games. Most of the game design I’ve learned so far has come from blog posts and some excellent people I’ve worked with, but I keep an eye out for books on the subject.

Game Design Secrets

Reading this book changed the way I approach game design. It teaches to consider the marketing, monetization, and distribution potential of the game design from the very beginning. At first I thought this would lead to “spammy” feeling games, but instead, it focused my game design around identifying the mechanics of the game that are the most enjoyable and rewarding to the player, and hence have monetization potential, leading to a better game play experience.

Although this book is a couple years old, what it teaches is still applicable, and it is very interesting to see which predictions have come true, and which have not. I dare you to give this book a shot, I think you will be surprised how it changes your approach.

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Level Up

I haven’t read this book yet, but it is on my reading list!

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Recommended interactive fiction writing books

Interactive fiction is an obvious marriage between screenwriting and game design, so naturally I’ve been drawn to it. I find it gives a unique opportunity to create immersive stories that would be difficult to code, while offering more interaction than traditional media.

Creating Interactive Fiction

Inform 7 is a fascinating and powerful natural language programming language and editor that is fun to write in. This book teaches it very well, and provides good insight into crafting interactive stories.

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Second Person

This book is on my reading list. I expect it will be useful not only for interactive fiction, but for bridging the gap between the player and the game protagonist in video games as well. I am looking forward to it.

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Recommended general programming books

Other books that improve your programming over all.

Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages

I’m working through this one right now. I find that learning these new languages and paradigms greatly broadens my perspective and approach to coding challenges. It is difficult, but rewarding.

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Head First Design Patterns

This is an excellent introduction to improving your programming by recognizing and using coding design patterns. It uses fun and practical examples that illustrate the need for and use of design patterns.

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