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Beginning Java 5 Game Programming Paperback – April 25, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1598631500 ISBN-10: 1598631500 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Course Technology PTR; 001 edition (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598631500
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598631500
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,311,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Source code for the projects in this book may be downloaded from these book resource locations:
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About the Author

Jon Harbour has been programming video games since the 1980s. His first video game system was an Atari 2600 which he played with disassembled on the floor of his room as a kid. He has written on languages and subjects that include: C++, C#, Basic, Java, DirectX, Allegro, Lua, DarkBasic, XNA Game Studio, Pocket PC, Nintendo GBA, and game console hacking. He is the author of Visual Basic Game Programming for Teens, 3rd Edition; Visual C# Game Programming for Teens; Beginning Game Programming, 3rd Edition; Multi-Threaded Game Engine Design and XNA Game Studio 4.0 for Xbox 360 Developers. Visit his blog and forum at

More About the Author

Jonathan S. Harbour was born in Sacramento, California, and has lived in Oregon, Arizona, and Ohio where he now resides with his wife and four children. Now a full-time writer, he previously worked as an Associate Professor for five years at UAT (Tempe, AZ) working on the Bachelor and Master programs in game development (computer science). His books cover many languages (C++, C#, VB, Basic, Lua, Python, Java), libraries (DirectX, Allegro, XNA), and hardware (GBA, Xbox, Xbox 360, cell phones). For fun, he enjoys reading books on physics, cosmology, metaphysics, anthropology, and science fiction with a personal library of over 500 books. He also enjoys bike riding, long hikes, and mind-expanding TV shows and movies of the futurist variety.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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I definitely suggest that you pick up this book.
Phillip Vaira
He does not teach you how to program in Java but instead shows you how to create games you would love to play in a simple, entertaining and productive way.
Craig A. Hinrichs
If I had to give a couple of criticisms, I'd say that I would have liked this book to be a few hundred pages longer.
Jason Cisarano

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is true to its name, since it is truly beginning Java game programming. However, I really coudn't find anything that was unique to Java 5 in the contents. Part one is actually a tutorial on the Java programming language from the perspective of what you need to know to write your own 2D game. It really is too shallow and too focused on just those parts of Java that are required to write games to be helpful to a complete Java novice. If you are a beginner to Java, you should consult "Core Java" or "Learning Java" to learn the actual Java language basics first.

Part two is particularly good for beginning game programmers who already know Java, as the chapters boil down what is necessary for programming a simple 2D game in Java complete with sound effects. The author does a good job of explaining Java2D, threads, and the concept of a game loop. I particularly liked his succinct treatment of creating a framework for Java games. He does a better job of explaining what a software framework is than many books I've read that are dedicated to the subject. He tops off part two by writing a complete 2D game in Java named "Galactic War", which you can actually play in applet form if you go to the author's website.

In summary, I would recommend this book if you already understand the basics of the Java language, need more instruction on its basic multimedia capabilities, and would like to learn those capabilities through the fun activity of building a 2D game. If you would like a more advanced book on Java game programming after you finish this one, try the excellent "Killer Game Programming in Java" by Davison.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jason Cisarano on July 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
I think I'm probably right in the target audience for this book, and I think it did a great job at what it sets out to do. There's a bit of a Java review at the beginning, but this so-called "intro to Java" is focused on game making from the very first pages. Don't think that there's enough Java teaching here to get by if you've never done Java before. He covers a couple of topics essential to gaming that many might not have covered in a previous class, like getting keyboard and mouse input, but if you don't know your applet from a hole in the ground, you'd better start somewhere else.

Harbour is great at explaining difficult concepts in an accessible way. If you work through the code in the book, you'll pick up a whole lot of valuable info. I did, reading through the book twice along the way, and I got a whole lot out of the experience.

If I had to give a couple of criticisms, I'd say that I would have liked this book to be a few hundred pages longer. Harbour touches on so many important topics and gives you the basics, but I'd love to have more from him on all these topics. Maybe a sequel with more depth/advanced topics? If I could have those extra pages, I'd also like it if they were devoted to a different type of game. This book takes you in detail through one game project, beginning to end, but it would have been helpful to get some strategies for dealing with other game types. Don't get me wrong--it's a great idea to work through a project to finish it in such detail. And of course, a lot of the topics can be applied to other games.

I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone like me, with a Java foundation looking for a way to apply it to more interesting programming topics beyond the "toy" projects they assign in most programming classes.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By gerryg on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I spent a half hour looking through this and it's definitely on the basic side, but even then is fairly thin coverage, and it really doesn't cover the new Java 5 features (over Java 1.4.2) very well at all. I saw several things in the code that I generally see other experienced Java programmers recommend against, but they're not horrible errors or even in the poor programming category. This is probably because, based on the author's own bio, it appears that he's not a regular Java programmer. A little more experience and research on Java 5 might have helped make the code and technical details better. He does appear to know game programming, though, and spends the whole book working on a 2D arcade game (asteroids clone I believe), which is ok I suppose, but it's only one topic in 2D.

Anyway, this book is for beginners to game programming AND Java, and seems to do an alright job of it. It's not a bad book, but it's not great either. My personal feeling is still that a good Java programming book will NOT focus on teaching Java, but game programming IN Java. Teach the io, sound, and graphics APIs, but not the core language at all. This is just another "intro to Java programming using a game as an example" book, of which there are already several. Saying it's Java 5 doesn't make it any different.

Book publishers -- I will hearily endorse a game programming in Java book (or books, 2 volumes might be required) that presents more than one game type and covers all the relevant topics: io, sound (2D and 3D), graphics (2D and 3D), ai (2D and 3D), multi-user (MMOG and small client/server), art assets (2D and 3D), tools, and libraries. I probably forgot a topic or two there. But I *purposely* left out 'how to get a job in the game business' or 'how to sell your game'.
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