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Beginning C++ Through Game Programming [Paperback]

by Michael Dawson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 18, 2010 1435457420 978-1435457423 3
BEGINNING C++ THROUGH GAME PROGRAMMING, THIRD EDITION approaches learning C++ from the unique and fun perspective of games. Written for the beginning game developer or programmer, the book assumes no previous programming experience and each new skill and concept is taught using simple language and step-by-step instructions. Readers will complete small projects in each chapter to reinforce what they've learned and a final project at the end combines all of the major topics covered in the book. Featuring twenty five percent new material, this third edition covers all the latest technology and advances.

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Beginning C++ Through Game Programming + Game Coding Complete, Fourth Edition
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Editorial Reviews Review

New Features

From the Publisher

  • Features 25% new material with coverage of all the latest technology.

  • Written for the beginner, this book assumes no previous programming experience.

  • Approaches learning C++ from a unique and fun perspective.

  • Features helpful questions, extensive end-of-chapter exercises, and Web downloads to reinforce self-practice and learning.


1. Types, Variables, and Standard I/O: Lost Fortune. 2. Truth, Branching, and the Game Loop: Guess My Number. 3. For Loops, Strings, and Arrays: Word Jumble. 4. The Standard Template Library: Hangman. 5. Functions: Mad-Lib. 6. References: Tic-Tac-Toe. 7. Pointers: Tic-Tac-Toe 2.0. 8. Classes: Critter Caretaker. 9. Advanced Classes and Dynamic Memory: Game Lobby. 10. Inheritance and Polymorphism: Blackjack. Appendix A: Your First C++. Appendix B: Operator Precedence. Appendix C: Keywords. Appendix D: ASCII Chart. Appendix E: Escape Sequences. Index.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 3 edition (October 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435457420
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435457423
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Dawson has worked as both a programmer and a computer game designer and producer. In addition to real world game industry experience, Mike earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. Currently, he teaches game programming in the Game Production Department of the Los Angeles Film School. Mike has also taught game programming to students through UCLA Extension and The Digital Media Academy at Stanford. He's the author of three other books: Beginning C++ through Game Programming, Guide to Programming with Python, and C++

Projects: Programming with Text-Based Games. You can visit his website at to learn more or to get support for any of his books.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book to Teach Kids C++ July 28, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Worm Burner, age 10 and resident Tech Support, asked if I would teach him C++ this summer.

Sure, no problem. Except that the last time I used C++ was during my Ph.D. dissertation and my summer plans did not include hours in front of the terminal re-learning how to program.

I highly recommend Beginning C++ through Game Programming, by Michael Dawson. This book is great for beginning programmers, especially if they have some previous programming experience (Worm Burner had already programmed in QBasic on Windows). Even if they had no previous experience, this book would walk them step-by-step through concepts like variables, input/output, loops, strings, and arrays. Best of all, it uses game example programs like Word Jumble, Mad Lib, and Tic-Tac-Toe to hook kids into figuring out the logic behind programming and applying their nascent C++ skills in a way that's fun and entertaining.

Note that this book is not intended for children. It just has a great easy-to-use format and style that lends itself to children who are advanced readers and budding programming geeks. But the programming itself is all solid C++. In other words, they're learning the real deal.

The best part about this book was that I just had to get my boys started with the first few chapters. We sat down, walked through the lessons, uploaded and changed sample code, and played around a bit. After chapter 4, they carried on without me, teaching themselves (via the book) and leaping to new heights with their programming through their own initiative.

Which is how every good programmer gets his start.

If you have a budding hacker programmer in your house, here's how to get them started:
1) Download Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 (free)
2) Buy Beginning C++ through Game Programming
3) Help your kids start (if you know some programming) or let them loose on their own (if you don't)
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, but don't get your hopes up. February 22, 2012
By Lynn
The book knows its audience, but I'm not sure if the audience knows the book. It starts off assuming you have no experience in programming, which is fantastic. Everyone is saying that it should go much more in depth about C++, but when teaching, throwing a bunch of information at the reader is a definite no-no, and I think the author understands this.

For the title, one might assume this books centers around game development, which it certainly does not. Upon reading it more carefully, you will see it starts with "Beginning C++". That is the real purpose of this book. "There is nothing about graphics in this book, these are no games." one might say with their arms crossed and a smirk on their face. Firstly, they are still games, and secondly the language is complex as it is. You're not going to give a person a book about calculus and expect them to understand it without knowing how to do limits (or add, for that matter)... This book is the first step to the language, and the examples are little games that act as minor exercises. Besides the last game (a blackjack program, a challenge for a novice), they are mere examples, not projects.

Do not expect to get into using API's, or implementing 3d or 2d graphics. This is about grasping basic concepts of C++ and object oriented languages... not game development. With that said, it does its job quite well.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the beginer April 3, 2012
By origin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are buying this book because you think you can go from not knowing C++ to making a game using directX or opengl you will be disappointed. But there is no book that could do that anyway. If you want to learn C++ in a fun way using game logic and simple word and number games this is the book for you. The typical C++ beginner book has you making programs for storing addresses of employees or something equally as dull. This book is actually fun and the code is explained very well. Before reading this book I looked at some code for programming in direct 3d and I had no clue what it even meant. After reading this book I now can see the overview of what the code is doing! I have more to learn but there is no doubt that this book put me on the path to being able to work with a game engine. I am glad I chose to buy this book.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but a little lite April 12, 2011
I've been programming Visual Basic (mostly VBA) for about 10 years now, all self-taught through books, forums and experimentation. A few years back, I had a need for a faster language, so I picked up C# for the Absolute Beginner. That book was a great introduction to C# (though it is very out of date now). It took you from the 'Hello World!' beginner program to making some fairly interactive Windows Forms games, explaining all the relevant concepts along the way, and adding challenging 'take it further' tasks to cement the knowledge.

I was expecting something similar in this book. To be fair, the book is a good introduction into all the basic concepts of the C++ language (from what I can tell), but it is almost more like a reference manual than a teaching book. The code examples are extremely basic. Each example demonstrates the individual topic of the chapter, but not much else, and few of the programs operate in any type of 'game loop.' While the 'take it further' tasks exist, since the initial programs are so lite, they don't seem to really do much to cement the knowledge in. Additionally, it has no coverage at all of Windows Forms, everything is in the console.

When I finished the C# book, I was able to program a small program for my work that connected to a database, extracted data and then did various analysis of that data. I additionally wrote a few programs for my own use at home.

After finishing this book, while I think I could probably struggle and eventually get a usable program, I really don't think I know enough to do so. Certainly not one with a Windows Form. So now I am looking for another book to take the small amount of knowledge I gained from this and add to it so I can produce something.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best textbooks (in any subject) that I've ever read
A friend suggested this book to me as a tool in learning C++. The examples in this book are really easy to understand. I've already recommended this book to two other friends.
Published 1 day ago by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I like reading this book and have learnt a lot. Coding games gives different perspective and that makes the book very interesting.
Published 13 days ago by bdy2101
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
Published 28 days ago by zach basdord
4.0 out of 5 stars Beginning
A great book to have for the person wanting to create a game and programming is a must. Filled with great info and tips.
Published 1 month ago by Silver Pen
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good learning aid.
The examples in this book are just terrible, almost as terrible as the authoring itself. The author tries way too hard to be funny and falls flat on his face. Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Patel
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Very complete and informative. Easy to understand even for a beginner. If you are interested in the language, you should read this book.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. Caryl S. Toth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The author takes you on a learning experience with C++ as a basis for game programming. You start with the basics and move upward from there.
Published 3 months ago by Mark1968
2.0 out of 5 stars Sourse Code didn't compile from his examples
I downloaded the source code from the book and it would not compile using the compiler that he said to use. Read more
Published 4 months ago by larry1024
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for game design
I think that some people reviewing this may be confusing what the intended goal of this book is. It isn't to teach game design. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nate
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Beginners
This is great for a beginner like me. I had absolutely no programming experience prior to this book and it was a lot more helpful than anything you could find pasted on an online... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Christopher
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What is the best book to learn C++ programming for a beginner
In my humble opinion I believe that "C++ Without Fear" is the best I have used and I am very much of a beginner. There is a chapter devoted to "for", for what ever reason, one of my earlier down falls. There are no game coding in this book, just straight forward examples. This... Read more
Jun 18, 2010 by L. Gilman |  See all 4 posts
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