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Beginning Android Games

67 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1430230427
ISBN-10: 1430230428
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mario Zechner runs Badlogic Games, a game development shop focused on Android.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Apress (April 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430230428
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430230427
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mike Lindegarde on April 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book has done a great job getting me up to speed on what I needed to know in order to port my old C DirectX 3 game over to the Android platform. The book quickly introduces you to the concepts you'll need to understand in order to get user input from the device, play sounds, load resources and ultimately render them on the screen.

While the author does a solid job introducing some basic physics and collision detection, don't expect to find the information you'll need to know in order to implement any sort of artificial intelligence or network play. In my opinion that's just fine, this is a beginner's book after all.

The author's framework does a nice job making getting input from the touch screen, accelerometer, and keyboard a simple task. I don't entirely agree with some of the design decisions the author makes, but that could be due to my C/C++ vs. Java background.

As far as rendering goes, first you'll take the easy approach using Android's custom drawing API. If your game is simple enough, this may be all you need. As the book progresses you'll swap out the original renderer with one based on OpenGL ES. Although the author does a very good job covering OpenGL, keep in mind that you'll be developing 2D games and not 3D games.

There are three chapters at the end of the book that will teach you the basics of 3D games programming. You'll learn some basic concepts, how to get 3D models onto the screen, and how to do basic collision detection in 3D. However, I feel that the leap from the material in the book to an actual 3D game is fairly significant. Don't expect to finish this book and then go code the best FPS any mobile platform has ever seen.

All-in-all, I'm pretty happy with this book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robert Green on May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm a 6-game and multiple app veteran of Android development. I completely agree with the approach this book takes to Android game development. Mario takes the developer through a step-by-step process in assembling a light but high quality game that isn't just the "Android" way but is the way many portable titles are built out. I also like the fact that multiple examples are given and fully functional source code to the projects.

Very good job, Mr Zechner! If you're new to Android game development, this is a great way to start.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By robftw on June 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a hobbyist game developer since I was about 12 years old or so, I had been looking through several books to get into Android Development over the last few weeks as I have finally became proficient in Java. Unfortunately, I found that most of them make this really inconvenient by focusing primarily on the User Interface programming with XML. What I liked about this book was that it was the only one I've read so far that took a realistic approach to more interactive applications(and thus GAMES!), and from the very beginning tells the reader not to waste time with UI Programming. Considering how massive the Android API is, this is definitely a godsend. Besides that, it does not waste time teaching you the basics of Java -- it jumps straight into the good stuff. The only reason that I would give this 4 stars rather than 5 is because it does not do a good job of commenting(although it DOES break down each part, so it would be possible for you to do this yourself... it would just make it a little clearer when referencing code through the book if the comments were in fact there, though).
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful By subduedjoy on February 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
The words on the book "Get started with game apps development for the Android platform" is misleading because the book does not cover the Android API. I checked the forum on the author's site and found out that the reason for not covering the Android API is that this API is not platform independent. So why the words "Android platform" on the book? Shouldn't the cover simply state "Creating a Java framework for beginning Android Games" because that's what the book is about.

Later, in the book, I read that he wanted to make things easier by not covering the Android API. But it is truly easier to learn how to do things the correct way than to learn the "easier" way and have to relearn everything. Plus, this book is listed second in Apress's Android book series, right after the beginning Android book; so one should already have some knowledge of the Android API before ready this book.

In reality, the book is a precursor to the open source Java-based game development framework libgdx, which the author developed. This framework works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, as well as Android. Thus, the reason for the code not being platform dependent and, therefore, not using the Android API. The book should not be sold as an Android book. It is a Java framework that just happens to work on the Android. This does not mean it is the best way to write code if you are creating your games solely for Android devices. Otherwise, why even bother to develop the Android API?

As a book that provides a Java framework for creating games for Android mobile phones, the book is excellent. The author's framework provides a very organized structure for creating games.

However, there will be issues that will crop up if you use his framework without the Android API.
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