Review: Book Reviews
Interactive Writer’s Handbook
Published by The Carronade Group, $24.95
I really wanted to like this book. It had the chance to be the Syd Field book of its genre. In fact, by default, it is, as there is really no other book out there that compares. However, the spelling and grammatical errors that could of been taken care of with any half-way decent spell-checker, took me out of the flow just as I was getting into it. The high point of this book for me was the interview at the end of every chapter of people that have actually gone and done it in the multimedia business, passing on their expertise. In fact, I'd like to see a book with only such these interviews. But, I digress. The Interactive Writer's Handbook does a good job laying down the foundation of how to create a multimedia presentation. If you want to break into the biz, this would be the place to start. Whereas the interviews are an asset, they are also an interruption, and as I've previously stated, I think there are really two books here. My definition of a story is what happens to characters that you care about, and this book doesn't do anything to forward the idea of creating those types of characters for an interactive game. There are excellent chapters on Story Structure, and Spine, however. So, for the novice, I recommend this book highly. Just don't let the spelling mistakes throw you off track.
WebMaster Macintoshby Bob Levitus & Jeff Evans
Published by AP Professional, Price Unknown
As I do with every book I receive for review (OK, this is the second one), I randomly open to a page and start reading, just to see what I'm getting myself into. I turned to a page that had the sub-heading, "Warning Will Robinson." I was hooked. Reading the foreword to this book by Carl De Cordova almost made me go out and get 10K to set up my own Web Server. And that's exactly what this book instructs you to do. The chapters on HTML and CGI alone are worth the price of the book. In addition, you're provided with a CD-ROM that contains all the software talked about inside, including BBEdit and WebStar PS, formerly MacHTTP, the excellent shareware utility available on the Web, coincidentally. Even if you don't have a CD-ROM drive, you should go out and buy yourself a copy if you're even remotely considering setting up a Web Server. The shareware and freeware on the CD-ROM are available on the Web, but unfortunately, you aren't really told where to point your browser to get them. However, there is an Appendix with e-mail addresses of the authors of most of the software. Don't let this stop you. After an introductory chapter about how big the Web is, the next chapter instructs you on how to set up your server. Of course, at this point, you may need to know what to put on your server, so the next chapter tells you everything you need to know about HTML, even if you're afraid to ask. After that is an explanation of how to make your server really cool, followed by the CGI chapter. Last but certainly not least, is a chapter full of "Interviews with the Gods," which is self explanatory. The subtitle of this book is, "How to Build Your Own World Wide Web Server Without Really Trying." If you have a serious interest in setting up a Web Server at either your home or office, I suggest you go to your nearest Super Crown, and ask for WebMaster MacIntosh.
|Mike Shields is always happy to review your book, software, or hardware. Yes, he's begging for free stuff, and can be contacted at: MShields@ccgate.hac.com.|