Reading is something that has so many benefits I cannot possibly list them here, so I will attempt to show you how reading increases your creativity and imagination, makes you more patient and generally a better person. For a lot of people reading is time out of their busy day, time that could be spent doing something else. The fact is reading will even decrease your stress and allow you to think more clearly. Let’s face it reading is epic. This is why.
1. Reading increases general knowledge
It may be obvious that reading increases general knowledge, but it is still important to note. Especially when developing games, higher general knowledge can increase the richness of the experience in the game. Stories in particular with references to the real world can involve the player in the world of the game since they can interpret and relate to it better. People in general can tell with ease if something from the real world is wrong, be it the anatomy of a person down to the behavior of another person. They may not always be able to tell what is wrong but they can sense that something is wrong. Having this general knowledge therefore is massive aid in game design.
2. Reading decreases stress and allows for clear thinking
This is a massive aid in game design and development. When you read a book, especially a work of fiction you get taken away into another world. You can escape from the stressful one you currently inhabit and you won’t have to worry about getting this or that done. This clear, calm head allows you to think about the design of your game in new light with maybe even a new opinion. As a programmer I can also tell you a clear, unstressed head massively helps when trying to problem solve a difficult problem. If I’m stuck I will read a book and come back later and bang there’s the solution.
3. Reading makes you more patient
Many people I know who aren’t game developers constantly tell me I have the patience of a saint to do what I do. They may well be true, sometimes certain things can take days if not weeks to fix or create in the first place. I attribute this patience to reading. Along with relieving stress it has been shown that sitting down quietly and reading a book makes you a more patient person, and if you have any experience in the games industry you know that is useful.
4. Your memory will be improved by reading
Very often I hear people going on about how bad their memory is as they scramble around looking for their mobile phone. When I ask them if they read books the answer is often ‘no’. I don’t have scientific evidence but I find that reading will improve your memory. A friend, who reads nearly two books a week in a busy lifestyle, has an excellent memory, and my own isn’t awful as well. When developing a complex game remembering things is a valuable asset I don’t think you would say no to.
5. Finally reading improves your imagination and creativity
This is by far and a way the most beneficial reason to read if you are a game developer. I once heard a concept artist talk about a thing he called his “image library”. A collection of images in his head he had accumulated over years of reading and watching the world around him. It helped him formulate all of his work. You must never forget that when you picture a scene you are reading about in your head there is no copyright protection on it. It is what you are imagining. This will be incredibly beneficial when developing a game as you are able to come up with original and unique idea’s for whole games let alone art.
So there you have the reasons why you should read. I recently decided to read Frank Herbert’s famed Dune sci-fi series, which have filled my head with images of grand adventures to aid my game development career. If you have thoughts or opinions please do express them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!