Picked up a couple of great books over the last couple of months, and one not so hot…
First up is The Computational Beauty of Nature, a very ambitious and reasonably technical book, attempting to cover a wide variety of topics from neural networks to fractals, basically a lot of the fun aspects of computer science simulations that are great to code and muck about with. The stuff of processing heads dreams, its very well written so far (I’ve only had a light read through), allowing you to approach the book in a number of ways, from a vague interest in a particular topic, to a complete understanding of the gestalt of the subject being discussed. There’s also downloadable source for those wanting to play without writing the whole thing from scratch themselves.
Next up is the The Art of my Neighbor Totoro, the latest in the series of Art books that have been translated by Viz. This covers a lot of the intiial sketches, concept art and a number of interviews with Hayao Miyazaki and the production team. Its also got a bunch of the beautiful cels used for the final movie. Definitely one of my favourite ghibli’s (alongside Laputa, Spirited Away and Porco Rosso and …. well pretty much all the Miyazaki ones)
Lastly is the disappointing The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness, a game audio book that admittedly claims to have nothing about game audio, but genuinely doesn’t . For a few pages, its genuinely intruiging and does contain a few amusing stories of the early days of game development and tales of stunts pulled at GDC, and while it might pique your interest, I found that it was really really padded, and contained nothing much of value. Its more like reading somebodies rambling blog. Filled with a lot of pictures of the author during his career, and with every other page a scrambled typographic motto, it is a disappointment, particularly because he is obviously a very talented guy. More discussion of interactive audio, systems like iMUSE, and general in-depth theory would have been great, rather than pure anecdote. ho hum. Guess I was warned on the back.