This page lists a number of books with links enabling online purchase through I'm pleased to be an associate of which allows me to provide online purchase of the following books Your orders will be dealt with and delivered by Amazon with this site providing links to specific books that I've read myself. Going to the particular link of a book takes you to with more information about that book.


The following lists all the books I have that talk about Creatures. All two of them! Hopefully more will follow especially now that Creatures 2 is out. How about some budding geneticist out there writing a book on developing norns?

  Creatures Official Strategies and Secrets
by Toby Simpson
I got this book recently and found it very useful. I wish I had it when I first started playing with Creatures. It's the official Cyberlife guide to the game and covers everything you need to know about looking after your norns and using all the features of the various kits available. It includes a history of Albia and information on the Genetics Kit. Buy this book and you'll be encouraging Toby Simpson to do more of thissort of thing which can only benefit us Creatures fan(atics?).

Creatures 2 Official Strategies and Secrets
by Toby Simpson
A version of the book is now available for Creatures 2 - once again it contains lots of useful information to help the Creatures 2 user get to grips with the game. Although the listing says the book is not yet available - it is. I ordered and received it through Amazon.

It contains a good technical description of the biochemistry side of things and explains what a lot of the chemicals do. It also goes into detail about what the additional kits like the neuroscience kit do and a bit of an explanation on how the genetics side of things works.


Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life

The type of AI evidenced by Creatures interests me a lot so expect to see some books on this subject here soon.


Animal Learning and Cognition: A neural network approach.
by Nestor A. Schmajuk

This book goes into great technical detail about experiments performed on animals to examine aspects of their behaviour. Neural nets are then developed to simulate the various areas of the animals brains and experiments performed to see if the neural net exhibits similar behavior to that of the animals. Different neural net contstructions are tried and the book include software on disk to demonstrate the results.

I've been using the models in this book as the basis for some of the spatial mapping work I've been looking into adding to the norn brain.

  Godel, Eschel, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Quoted from the cover "A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll". Whatever that means. Hey, it won a Pulitzer Prize, it must be good :) But what is it about you ask? It discusses art, mathematics, patterns, genetics, music, artificial intelligence and throws them all together drawing parallels between them that you've probably never considered. Be prepared for some heavy reading and some deep thinking.
  Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought
by Douglas Hofstadter and the Fluid Analogies Research Group
This book appears to be a collection of essays and reports on Cognitive Science. It presents the decade or so of research carried out by the Fluid Analogies Research Group.
  Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks : Steps Toward Principled Integration
(Neural Networks, Foundations to Applications)
by Vasant Honavar, et. al.
A big hardcover expensive book that you probably don't want to buy unless you are either masochistic or intensely interested in the theory behind neural networks and artificial intelligence. You can find out the sorts of things this book covers at the Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory. Vasant Honavar is the director there. At the web site I picked up some interesting articles on spatial localisation in robots and animals. It's these articles that gave me the idea for a spatially aware norn. But anyway, back to this book. I haven't got it yet - it's winging its way to me as I speak and I'll review it when I get it.

Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks
Michael A. Arbib (Editor)
A huge hardcover book briefly mentioned in my papers and discussions page. I purchased it recently and it contains a lot of information. It's huge (both in physical size as well as content!). It's basically a collection of articles and papers on brain theory and neural networks (go figure). It includes a great introduction to the concepts of modeling the human brain using neurons, dendrites, etc. Most of the papers are very technical oriented (as would be expected - that's the audience the book is aimed for) but many are approachable to people who are just interested in the field of artificial neural networks. As an idea of the content the following is the topics covered in the 'roadmap' in the book (the book itself is about 1,100 pages long):

  • Introducing the neuron
  • Levels and styles of analysis
  • Dynamics and adaptation in neural networks
  • Connectionism: Psychology, Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence
  • Dynamics, Self-Organization and Cooperativity
  • Learning in Artificial Neural Networks
  • Applications and Implementations
  • Biological neurons and networks
  • Sensory systems
  • Plasticity in Development and Learning
  • Motor Control



I make my money though programming and without the input of books like those below I wouldn't have been able to work on many of the interesting systems I've had the pleasure of working with.

If you want to truly become proficient in C++ the first four books listed below would be on my top list for getting and reading.

  The C++ Programming Language
by Bjarne Stroustrup
This book is a must have. It's in its third edition and thoroughly describes the C++ programming language along with a number of idioms of use. It's probably not the best book for beginners to the language but once you have a reasonable handle on it you should read this book. This third edition is even better as it covers most of the new standard library features that have been (or will be) adopted in the ANSI/ISO C++ standard. It's written in a very readable style but still manages to be quite concise.
  Ruminations on C++
by Andrew Koenig and Barbara Moo
Andrew Koenig writes a column for a number of magazines. Each chapter of this book is basically an expansion of articles he wrote in his columns. Each one covers a particular topic in depth and are usually designed to solve or highlight some sort of programming problem. Much of the content of the book serves to show how and why the C++ standard library is the way it is. Many of the idioms he goes through and implements in the C++ language are represented in the standard library somewhere. If you truly want to understand the 'new style' of programming in C++ then this is a good book to get.
  Advanced C++ Programming Styles and Idioms
by James Coplien
You would think that this book was dated as it was written in 1991 but you would be wrong. It covers many, many ways of using C++ and different idioms of use to solve particular problems. This book was the first to cover such topics as different implementations of reference counting as a means of garbage collection, the handle/body idiom, the envelope/letter idiom, the 'canonical form' of classes, idioms to use C++ in a dynamic or symbolic manner similar to lisp, techniques of template instantiation to prevent code bloat and much, much more. All these techniques are as valid today as they were 6 years ago. Many books on the market today gloss over these subjects and this book is considered the definitive reference for C++ idioms. You could say it was the original 'patterns' book for C++ - before patterns were hot.

Scientific and Engineering C++ - An introduction with advanced techniques and examples
by John Barton and Lee Nackman
I had this book on back order for six months when it first came out and my local bookstore still couldn't deliver it! In the end I wrote an email to Lee Nackman, one of the authors, and asked him why it was so hard to get. He personally contacted Addison-Wesley in the US to find out what was going on and they gave AW in Australia the, uh, motivation to send me a copy personally. For this reason alone I would plug this book. Even better, it's a fantastic book and the book to get if you want to know many idioms and techniques for programming in C++ using templates. You think templates are just for containers? Think again! Take a look at the amazing chapter on 'Algebraic Structure Categories'. It describes how to represent categories like SemiGroups, Monoids, Groups, etc using C++ templates and how to have the functionality in these groups automatically associated with given classes at compile time. The book is worth the price for this technique alone!

Don't let the complex mathematics in the book put you off. It was written for engineering people and it puts the 'A' in Advanced. But underneath all that is a simplicity of technique that is wonderful. It provides the best description of using 'mixin' programming and the difference between implementation and interface inheritance that I've seen. The first 8 or 9 chapters of the book are an introduction to C++ for fortran programmers so may not be of much interest but the rest is pure magic.



Books that cover developing software for the Microsoft Windows operating systems.

  Programming Windows 95
by Charles Petzold
Charles Petzold has written many good books on programming with the Windows API. This is another one of them specifically for the Windows 95 operating system. He covers many topics in depth with lots of examples. In particular a chapter on DDE is included which people may find useful if they wish to develop software that interfaces with Creatures.