Found in 27 comments on Hacker News
Jugurtha · 2020-09-01 · Original thread
Nice! You probably know of this link "Get started making music"[0] and I found it pretty cool.

What do you think of "The Sims Game Design Documents"[1]? Could you recommend other similar resources?

I guess what really strikes a chord with me is the arc, not only "in" the game, but of the journey to make the game. One book I enjoyed on an emotional level was "The Making of Prince of Persia"[2] by Jordan Mechner. I also enjoyed "Masters of Doom"[3] by David Kushner, but more on the merit of good research, which I really respect. I don't want a montage, I want the story with the suffering and tribulations.

Do you know of similar content?





mindcrime · 2020-07-17 · Original thread
I can give you the names of a handful of books that might be useful. Some are more technical, some less so. Some are more about personalities, some about the business aspects of things, some more about the actual technology. I don't really have time to try and categorize them all, so here's a big dump of the ones I have and/or am familiar with that seem at least somewhat related.

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering -

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution -

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage -

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet -

Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing -

Decline and Fall of the American Programmer -

Rise and Resurrection of the American Programmer -

Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date -

Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle -

Winners, Losers & Microsoft -

Microsoft Secrets -

The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture -

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age -

Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire -

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture -

The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and The Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer -

Bitwise: A Life in Code -

Gates -

We Are The Nerds -

A People's History of Computing In The United States -

Fire In The Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer -

How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone -

Steve Jobs -

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation -

Coders -

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software -

The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency -

The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World -

The Technical and Social History of Software Engineering -


"The Mother of All Demos" by Doug Englebart -

"Jobs vs Gates" -

"Welcome to Macintosh" -

"Pirates of Silicon Valley" -

"Jobs" -

And while not a documentary, or meant to be totally historically accurate, the TV show "Halt and Catch Fire" captures a lot of the feel of the early days of the PC era, through to the advent of the Internet era.

And there's a ton of Macintosh history stuff captured at:

cgag · 2019-08-31 · Original thread
He did Joe Rogan's show a few days ago:

I've heard a lot of good about this book:

doomlaser · 2019-07-02 · Original thread
Patrick Collison, co-founder of Stripe, keeps a cool reading list with tons of books, color coded by the impact they had on him. He's clearly a voracious reader on a wide range of topics. I happened to find it yesterday and found tons of books and authors to add to my Amazon wishlists:

If you're interested in games / startup stories, I have to recommend Masters of Doom, about the early days of id. It's thrilling and exciting to read: - It's also in the news that USA has ordered a pilot for a TV adaptation. Here's hoping it's good!

acdanger · 2018-12-10 · Original thread
I read the book Masters of Doom a few years ago and they did a good job portraying them as creative rivals with clashing personalities.

I don't know if they've reconciled in recent years and I've never heard about Romero working at a gas station. Any source for that?

freyr · 2018-08-26 · Original thread
Making Prince of Persia is terrific. I'd also recommend Masters of Doom, a book about the heyday of id Software.

jmts · 2018-05-15 · Original thread
Seems Google, Reddit (u/Ungard at [1]), and Amazon [2] have all the answers. Turns out it was Carmack with the ax. An excerpt from the book:

This happened after Romero accidentally locked himself in his office. Hearing the pleas, Carmack gave the knob a twist, paused, then deduced the most obvious and immediate solution. “You know,” he said, “I do have a battle-ax in my office.” Carmack had recently paid five thousand dollars for the custom-made weapon—a razor-edged hatchet like something out of Dungeons and Dragons. As the other guys gathered around chanting, “Battle-ax! Battle-ax! Battle-ax!” Carmack chopped Romero free. The splintered door remained in the hall for months.



rubayeet · 2017-09-28 · Original thread
Master of Doom[0] chronicles the rise of Id, how partnerships formed, how the games were designed and developed, how the founders took the company to become multimillion dollar behemoth, and the unfortunate split between them. Excellent read if you are into video games and startups.


mxstbr · 2017-02-18 · Original thread
If you liked this and haven't read it yet definitely check out Masters of Doom![0]

It's about the two John's (Carmack and Romero) and how they created Doom, Quake et al. and why id Software broke up eventually. Very fascinating, highly recommended book!


senko · 2016-12-11 · Original thread
The book "Masters of Doom" ( covers a lot of the early days of id Software and is a great read, both from historical and motivational angle.
wainstead · 2015-07-07 · Original thread
Time to show my age here!

Others have listed some great, entertaining reads already:


Soul Of A New Machine (which won a Pulitzer),

Cringley's PBS series Triumph Of The Nerds (available on YouTube),

Where Wizards Stay Up Late

Some not mentioned so far (as I write):

The ancient, online Jargon File is a large glossary that captures a lot of early computer subculture through its lexicon. Eric S. Raymond maintains it today, but it originated way back in the 1970s:

"American Experience," on PBS, did a stellar documentary on the origins of Silicon Valley and the pervasive startup mentality there. It's all about the rise of the semiconductor industry, starting with transistors. Watch online:

Dropping LSD was, it turns out, crucial to the origins of personal computing! This I learned from Jaron Lanier and Kevin Kelly, who recommended John Markoff's What The Dormouse Said:

The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer is a short book but also a fun read. Doron Swade, technology historian and assistant director of London's Science Museum, races to build a copy of Charles Babbage's "difference engine" before the anniversary of said machine; he tells his travails in building it while giving Charles Babbage's story at the same time:

No one has mentioned books covering the dark side of hacking. There are some great reads out there, and infosec is a crucial part of computer history.

CYBERPUNK: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier covers Kevin Mitnick, the Chaos Computer Club, and Robert Tappin Morris (who, somewhat inadvertently, wrote the first Internet worm). Mitnick disputes his section of the book, but it's fascinating nonetheless. Worth it for the Morris part alone:

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll is a fun read. Stoll is an astronomer by trade, and his analytical thinking can be an inspiration:

The Watchman is a true crime thriller you won't be able to put down. The author set out to write a book on Mitnick but wound up detouring to do a story on Kevin Poulsen, who is now an excellent infosec writer at Wired. You will not believe what Poulsen does in this book.

The Hacker Crackdown by acclaimed sci fi author Bruce Sterling is a great work on an infamous cross-country bust of many hackers. You'll get a look into the BBS subculture, Phrack Magazine, and the phreaker scene.

And let's not forget gaming:

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture gives a great history of ID Software and the origins of the FPS:

michaelx386 · 2015-03-12 · Original thread
There's a book by David Kushner called Jacked[0] about GTA's development. He's also the author of Masters of Doom[1].



minouye · 2014-09-12 · Original thread
If you want to learn more about the genesis of Doom/id software, Masters of Doom is a fantastic read (also an amazing audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton).

bubblicious · 2014-07-30 · Original thread
I just finished Masters Of Doom ( I read it almost non-stop. I highly recommand it to anyone who has gone through the early days of ID Software games Wolf3D / Doom.
prezjordan · 2013-12-10 · Original thread
Just finished Masters of Doom on the plane Sunday. Fantastic read. I highly recommend it to all software folks, even if you're not a gamer. Tons of a highly relevant stories and accounts in there.

randallma · 2013-11-26 · Original thread
Not a movie, but Masters of Doom is a great book about the rise of ID Software (
danso · 2013-11-22 · Original thread
Obligatory mention of "Masters of DOOM", the biography of Johns Carmack and Romero:

Like reading iWoz... a lot of stories of brilliant engineering at an elite level.

huhtenberg · 2013-11-03 · Original thread
Carmack, Romero and two other guys were making $60K a month from Commander Keen in its shareware format. That's after Apogee's 60% cut.


[1] - highly recommended, really good read

jere · 2013-01-28 · Original thread
There has, is, and will continue to be. Seeing that Carmack practically invented the FPS genre over 20 years ago and he's still writing games today, I view him as a mythical figure.

chops · 2012-10-12 · Original thread
If you have not yet read "Masters of Doom", I strongly advise any aspiring hackerpreneur to read it. It's an enthralling and easy read and details the early day of id, including the releases of their breakout hits "Commander Keen", "Wolfenstein 3D", "Doom", and "Quake", as well as the fall of Romero, following his departure from id, particularly with the "Daikatana" flop.

I read it when it was new 8 years ago, and I think I'm probably due for another reading, myself.

dangoldin · 2011-11-03 · Original thread
If anyone's interested in reading a book about the history of id Software, Carmack, and Romero I recommend Masters of Doom ( I finished it last week and it was a great read.
amichail · 2010-08-12 · Original thread
Recommended reading:

Also check out John Romero's interview on Matt Chat (#51-55):

swivelmaster · 2009-05-31 · Original thread
Read Masters of Doom. One of my favorite books.
pistoriusp · 2009-05-28 · Original thread
Multiplayer Doom should be a lot of fun!

I just finished a great book based on the two John's from id Software called Masters of Doom []. It was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone who loved games.

joshuaxls · 2009-04-07 · Original thread
Yep, I loved that - cracked up every time he pointed out a bug.

A great book on Romero and Carmack's journey at id:

Kind of unrelated, but the second time I watched it I was struck by the fact that there's hardly any cursing by John Romero or anyone watching him play.

cubicle67 · 2009-04-07 · Original thread
Gotta recommend the book Masters of Doom here

I love these stories. For some reason they elicit quite an emotional response from me. Don't know what the emotion is though.

cubicle67 · 2008-09-02 · Original thread
I recommend "Masters of Doom" by David Kushner as an excellent read on the history of id. Love the book and makes me pine for those days (must be getting old...)

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