Mitch Waite

Computer book author, publisher, web designer, and entrepreneur

Black Art of 3D Games and Big Books

In the mid-1990s, Waite Group Press had carved out a niche as a distinguished publisher for programmers, celebrated for titles like “C Primer Plus,” “Visual Basic Super Bible,” and “Master C: Let the Computer Teach You C.” Our unique edge, however, lay in our foray into cutting-edge technology with titles such as “Virtual Reality Creations,” “Fractal Creations,” and “Ray Tracing Playhouse.” This innovative approach soon made us the envy of larger publishers, who struggled to match our pace and creativity.

During the 80s and 90s, as the IBM PC gained widespread popularity, video gaming emerged as a lucrative segment in software sales. Iconic games like Doom and Castle Wolfenstein captivated millions. Recognizing this trend, we were eager to delve into this vibrant domain, pondering over the perfect niche to explore.

Around this time, in pursuit of romance, I ventured into the personal ads of the Pacific Sun, a popular newspaper. My ad was a candid reflection: a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, detailing my life as a successful writer and publisher, my houseboat residence on the SF Bay, my penchant for hot tubs, health food, and my Shar Pei companion. My first date, met at a tech fair in San Jose, was a bit younger than I preferred, but she intriguingly mentioned her ex-boyfriend, Andre Lamothe – a brilliant scientist, programmer, and video game creator.

Months later, I met Andre Lamothe, and we clicked instantly. Andre was not just a game creator; he was an exceptional teacher with an ability to write rapidly. He proposed a challenging idea: a book on the most complex aspect of video game programming – 3D graphics. I was initially skeptical, considering the intricate mathematics and the almost mystical techniques required for crafting 3D models in gaming. However, he urged me to reserve judgment until reviewing his outline and a sample chapter.

What he submitted was beyond impressive: a proposal of unparalleled quality, complete with stunning illustrations, lucid writing, a comprehensive table of contents, marketing insights, and even a concept for the cover. We brainstormed titles, eventually settling on a series named “Black Art of,” featuring Old English typography to give it the allure of an ancient tome, complete with metallic clasps. Though Andre was initially doubtful, he grew to appreciate the concept.

The book took longer to complete than anticipated and was voluminous. Yet, in an era when hefty computer books were in vogue, as long as the content was exceptional, size was not a deterrent. We managed to condense it to 1174 pages, pricing it at $49.95—a value that would exceed $100 today. Andre’s book was a resounding success, paving the way for him to oversee subsequent titles in the series, including “Black Art of Java Game Programming” and “Black Art of Visual Basic Game Programming.”

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