This book would be impossible without the help and support from many great people. I’m most grateful to my wife, Elena, whose love gave me inspiration when I needed it most, and my parents, Alexander and Vera Bura.

I’m grateful to my good friends: Vadim Voituk for his brilliant ideas and technical expertise; Alexey Kondratov, who was the first to explain to me how a book is different from a 600-page blog; and Artyom Volkhonskiy. I’m so glad that you guys have always been there when I needed your support and opinion. Your help has improved this book tremendously.

A very special thanks to a brilliant artist—Sergey Lesiuk (, who created the cover art and graphical assets for the isometric engine, ...

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