A downloadable book

I started the No Time To Play blog in the summer of 2010, when it became clear that game development had become an important part of my life, and for 5 years as of this writing I used it to document my own forays into hobbyist game development. And now I'm giving you the best parts as a book. Why?

Because beginners need guidance close to their own level. Because not everyone can afford the latest computer, on which to run the fanciest tools.

Because it's at the start of the road that you need the most help.

Table of contents:

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements

Part 1: General Advice

  • Walk before you run (revised)
  • Top three myths about game design
  • Design by elimination (exclusive chapter)

Part 2: Choosing Your Genre

  • A look at card games
  • Musings on browser-based MMO games
  • A database-driven engine for strategy games
  • My love-hate relationship with roguelikes (expanded)
  • The game that had no genre

Part 3: Choosing Graphics Technology

  • In Two Point Five Dimensions (revised and expanded)
  • Fun with voxels (revised)
  • What about vector graphics? (exclusive chapter)
  • Voxels, revisited (new chapter)
  • The Art of ASCII (exclusive chapter)
  • GUI toolkits and videogames

Part 4 : Choosing Your Language

  • Java for games: pros and cons
  • Top five myths about C++
  • The Bad and Good of Python
  • CoffeeScript as a domain-specific language for interactive fiction
  • Code versus data: a battle for the ages
  • Secrets of a successful programmer


  • Image preloader in HTML5

What you get

  • over 100 pages
  • over 20,000 words
  • 16 illustrations
  • source code samples
  • anecdotes and case studies


The awesome cover you see on the right was made by my good friend Justin Reid. EPUB edition made in Sigil. Mobi and PDF editions courtesy of Calibre.


This book is currently unavailable


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Hi, I stumbled on you because of a mod comment. When faced with visual editors, I was frustrated because I wanted to better understand what was going on and how things worked. I see this book is not available, but do you have any advice for someone who would like to learn the nuts and bolts of game programming as a hobby? I've been trying with JS because I found an explanation I liked. Also, I imagine you are too busy, but you seem exactly the sort of person we like on our creative server https://discord.gg/FADSj49eSB If you are interested, we'd love to have you.

Thanks for the comment! I'm in too many Discord servers already. Not sure what to recommend, we're all different. I started with HTML5 too, but if anything it was PyGame that taught me a lot about the nuts and bolts -- the concept of a game loop, for one thing. But you seem to be doing well so far! And you're right, I don't sell the book here anymore, but it's available elsewhere online. Hope this helps!

Thanks, it gave me hope to see your stuff.