I'd probably prefer something a bit more technical.
My ideal book would be like a compilation of articles from professional level designers, talking about the artistic and technical challenges they encountered in games like Quake and Unreal, taking us through the design process, and how the limitations of the technology affected how the concept art was translated to the gaming medium. And other stuff like that.
As far as game art books go, the FFIX art book is pretty good. But I'd prefer an "Art of Doom 3" book or something more id-related, if they had concept art for Quake still i'd love to see that too.
I should add that I find a lot of level design articles on sites such as Gamasutra to be mostly lightweight zen-style guff, talking about "expression of form", "visualisation of space" and other fancy words for things that should be bleeding obvious to any self-respecting mapper. Sorry if I sound a bit cynical, but I've yet to find any really meaty reference text for the mappers amongst us.
If you don't already read the project postmortems on Gamasutra I would suggest checking those out for that kind of background info. Also there was a series of level making tips from a Rouge's Gallery of great designers a few years back on the same site.
It's been a while since I visited Gamasutra. Games technology moves so quickly, it's slightly lost its relevance for me recently, but I'll have to check out the archives.
Back on the topic of purely art books, I think that as games become more visually rich, these will become more and more popular in the mainstream, in the same way that "Art of" books for movies are big sellers.
in the same way that "Art of" books for movies are big sellers.
That's the first thing I thought. The purpose of these books is to entertain, amuse and maybe occassionally inspire. They aren't intended as reference material for professional ( or very serious amateur ) designers. If you get inspiration from them, fine, but don't expect depth. They're coffee table books.
I like them. Though I don't own many because I usually browse them cover-to-cover while lurking in the basement of Waterstone's :P
They Make Great Gifts For Significant Others Though
I bought my girlfriend a table book on the making of the animated movie Anastasia a few years back. Nuch nicer than a ring or other girlie trinket.
Ooh, This Could Be Interesting:
On amazon pre-order:
The Making of Doom 3: The Official Guide
Due out in August. I can't really find any other info on it though.
There's a large format, coffee table book on the making of Riven. If memory serves, it's called 'From Myst to Riven'. Should be available from amazon.
It's a wonderful artistic look on a wonderful artistic game.
The id Anthology (all id's games up to and including Quake in one box) contained a book about id. It was more of a book of the company history than an art book, but it had a lot of information about how stuff was made, as well as plenty of Doom and Quake concept art and some interesting stories of happenings in their old black cube office.
It also came with a mini cyberdemon statue :)
Sadly, I didn't bother getting a copy, since I already had all the games in the box, with the exception of the Doom 2 Master levels and Commander Keen games.
Oh, And As For Art Books
love 'em, as long as the art doesn't suck ass.
I think art books must be popular in Japan, since we have billions of fucking Japanese anime, game and mech design books around the office. Generally these seem to be pretty good, although some of them seem to solely contain improbably breasted women in various states of undress.
Actually, while I am on the subject of Japan, why the fuck is it that they always get special limited edition shit that never comes out over here. I'm not even talking about limited edition shit that originates from Japan. Take CDs for example. I've seen so many bands release an album in Japan with a few extra tracks on that we never get, even if the band is from this country. What the hell is that all about?
Rant over... back onto art books.
I did once email Kevin Cloud or Adrian Carmack about the possibility of an id art book, but I never got a reply. Didn't really surprise me. Perhaps I should have sent the email to Tim Willits - he looks like he is a nice guy and would reply, even if he was really busy :)
Japanese Limited Edition Stuff
I read that Japanese CDs and the like somehow end up being more expensive than imported CDs, so they add on a bunch of extra tracks to the Japanese version just to get people to buy it instead of the import.
That's just hearsay, though.
CDs Are T3h Expensive In Japan
so they rent them and copy..
I Just Hope Your Happy Stringing Me Along
There are quite a few game 'art' books out there. Like high quality dpi and sexy sexy binding. I wish I could remember the titles.. I'll have to take a look at work again.
but here's a couple put out by taschen, they are a couple years old however, as Computers evolve so fast so does the art produced with their assistance. But in the end... it's still sweet stuff.