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Beginning Game Programming Paperback – July 29, 2004

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0672326592 ISBN-10: 0672326590 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Morrison is a writer, developer, toy inventor and author of a variety of computer technology books and interactive Web-based courses. In addition to his primary profession as a writer and freelance nerd for hire, Michael is the creative lead at Stalefish Labs, an entertainment company he co-founded with his wife, Masheed. The first commercial debut for Stalefish Labs is a traditional social/trivia game called Tall Tales: The Game of Legends and Creative One-Upmanship (http://www.talltalesgame.com). When not glued to his computer, playing hockey, skateboarding or watching movies with his wife, Michael enjoys hanging out by his koi pond. You can visit Michael on the Web at http://www.michaelmorrison.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (July 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672326590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672326592
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Morrison is a writer, developer, toy inventor, and author of a variety of computer technology books and interactive web-based courses. In addition to his primary profession as a writer and freelance nerd for hire, Michael is the creative lead at Stalefish Labs (http://www.stalefishlabs.com), an entertainment company he co-founded with his wife, Masheed. The first commercial debut for Stalefish Labs is a traditional social/trivia game called Tall Tales: The Game of Legends and Creative One-Upmanship. When not glued to his computer, playing hockey, skateboarding, or watching movies with his wife, Michael enjoys hanging out by his koi pond while he daydreams about new Web creations. You can visit Michael on the Web and discuss this book at http://www.michaelmorrison.com/.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mike Schmidt on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is:

- a very good step by step tour of basic games on Windows.

- packed with examples and source code

- full of suggestions on what to add on your own

- supported well on the author's web site

This book is not:

- a C++ book to teach C++, but uses C++

- an advanced book

- a 3d programming book

- a directx book

I have done C++ programming for years and bought this for my son, who expressed interest in building games. I ended up going through it myself and enjoying it. This goes through the basics of setting up a game loop, drawing sprites, interacting with mouse, joystick, and keyboard, things like that. It gets you going up to the point of a 2d side scroller, but no further. This is great, though, because to do the more complex stuff correctly, you really need several people. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone learning to build games on the PC. But if you've never done any programming at all, you could learn some with this book, but may want to get a beginning C++ book first.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've been a game hobbyist for about 2 months. I started out by jumping straight to the top by trying to tackle Direct3D but soon learned that I was missing several important concepts. During my search to fill this void I stumbled across this book while browsing the shelf at Books-A-Million (which I normally do before I buy on Amazon so that I can get a feel for what I am ordering online). I sat down in the store and was quickly plunged into the design of a 2D GameEngine class. Here's the good part: It made perfect sense! I broke my own rule and bought the book from somewhere besides Amazon but I couldn't wait to get home and start reading it. Morrison then walked me through the design of several games (most of which can be found in the download section of his site [...]) clearly explaining the source code without regurgitating each and every line (which could be found on the included CD).

If your C/C++ is weak then do not worry. This book was written with the beginner in mind. All of the source code is clearly written and easy to understand (with the exception of the Bitmap class which took a little time to study -- but this is the nature of digging into the GDI). I had a very, very limited exposure to C++ (coming from a java background) and had absolutely no trouble picking it up. Towards the end he really emphasizes the OO paradigm but still at a level suitable for beginners like me.

So what will you learn from this book? You will learn the basics behind Game Engine design including what your game engine should be expected to do. This was a big problem for me, because I had no idea what an engine was supposed to do and how it was supposed to make my life easier.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Space Out on August 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Ideal if you're pretty solid with C++ and want to start programming games. I found this book to be very informative and fun to read. It is professionally written but is also not a dry read like some other books in this genre.

The most common complaint I've seen about this book is from people who didn't read the part in the introduction or the book description where it said you have to know C++. That's where the complaint "He doesn't give much explanation on the code and I couldn't understand it" comes from. I'll say it again, you need to be familiar with the C++ programming language to understand this book. In his wisdom, Michael Morrison avoids using the more complicated aspects of the language, you won't see namespaces, multiple inheritance, imbedded classes, linked lists, etc... so only a basic understanding of the language is required. Be familiar with, pointers, arrays, functions, and classes and you'll have no trouble understanding this book. There is also a C++ primer in the CD incase you need a little refreshing or clarifying.

This book teaches game programming with Win32 API, love it or hate it, you'll end up using it eventually in your programming lifetime, so this is a good place to get familiar with it. One of the main things I liked about this book, however, is that most of the book focuses on important game programming concepts, so even if you want to go into SDL, OpenGL, DirectX, etc... you'll still find this book useful. You'll learn how to manage multiple enemies on the screen with very little overhead, increase the difficulty as the game progresses, keep track of high scores, and many other important things, because it's one thing to know the mecanics of making a game, it's another to know how to apply them.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ty Arthur VINE VOICE on May 7, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone looking to learn how to develop computer games has found the right book in "Beginning Game Programming". The reader is walked through the production of seven complete (and fun!) games, starting with a simple Memory type game, and moving up through various styles of games including a frogger clone and a Missile Defense clone, until finally ending with a game titled "Stunt Jumper", which brings together all of the techniques learned throughout the book. Morrison's method of teaching is really quite brilliant. Only the most essential parts of the source code are listed in the book, the rest is on the accompanying CD. Once a particular part of the code is explained, it isn't explained again later, even if it's central to the game being made. The reason for this is simple. It makes the user type the code again with each game, which reinforces the concepts presented. If you have to physically do it yourself every time (as you will when you are a professional game developer), you will have a much more solid grasp of both the code, and much more importantly, the concepts behind the code.

The reader is expected to already have a solid grasp of C++, and at least a partial understanding of Win32 programming. While others have complained about these requirements, I feel they are actually the books strong point. I've read many books geared towards beginning game programming - and all of them stop after giving you the basics. Very few of them actually walk you completely through making an entire game, let alone seven! Every aspect of game programming is shown here, from loading the bitmaps as resources to display on the screen, to getting music playing, to various ways of accepting input from the user, even going so far as to include joystick support.
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