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Beginning C++ Through Game Programming Paperback – October 18, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1435457423 ISBN-10: 1435457420 Edition: 3rd
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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.
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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: 1.2 x 7.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,819 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 four 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

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Susan Quinn on 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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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
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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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By origin on April 3, 2012
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Duane on August 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Don't buy this book to learn game programming - buy this book because using text-based "pseudogame" examples to learn C++ is more inspiring and motivating than a dry textbook.

Tip for Absolute Beginners - If you've NEVER programmed before, skip immediately to Appendix A "Creating your first C++ program" as it teaches some very basic use of an Integrated Development Environment.

Likes - It's an easy read, especially if you already understand basic programming concepts from other languages. There's enough variety here to keep your interest between each of the chapters.

Dislikes - If you're like me, and are determined to not rely on using Standard Template Library code (STL) until you are much more familiar with C++ and data structures, well... tough luck. Many of the book's later exercises rely heavily on the use of STL code, and you'll have to look elsewhere to learn more than just he basic use of arrays in C++.

Once you successfully make it through this book end-to-end, are running and understanding each exercise, you'll likely be well prepared to pick up a much more serious and thorough book ("C++ Primer Plus" by Prata, "Game Engine Architecture" by Jason Gregory, or "Game Programming All in One" by Harbour for example).
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