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The Game Maker's Companion (Technology in Action) Paperback – October 19, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jacob's career in the games industry spans fourteen years, but he has been programming games as an amateur and professional now for a quarter of a century. During this time he has worked on over a dozen published games for all the major console platforms, including as the lead programmer of the cult British game, Hogs of War. He has programmed, designed and project-managed titles for publishers like Gremlin, Infogrames, Atari, Disney and Konami and he truly knows the meaning of the word "crunch".
Somehow he also found time to study a Ph.D. in the psychology of learning and has a passion for most things that connect video games and learning (including a whole lot of research involving zombies: zombiedivision.co.uk). This passion also extends to teaching game development, which he practices in his position as Senior Lecturer in Game Development at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK.
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Product Details

  • Series: Technology in Action
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2010 edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430228261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430228264
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This eagerly awaited sequel was pre-ordered by myself in November 2009 and I am so glad the that time has come around to its now release date. The Game Maker's Companion touches on mostly platform games, but covers a more detailed approach giving an understandable breakdown of each step.

The main Games include : Fishpod, Zool ( Commodore Amiga fame ) and Shadows on the Deck ( fantastic ).

As well as covering Drag and Drop actions, GML ( Game Maker Language ) is covered in more detail throughout, which gives a more direct way of achieving results.

The book also has plenty of diagrams, screenshots and great artwork, which brings each associated page and chapter to life. What is even more special, is a section about story telling and how to apply it into your own games.

My favourite section of the book, is Chapter 14 : Feature Reference. This has great little routines that can be added to your own Games and Projects : 360 Degree Movement / Shooting, Cheat Codes, Countdown Clock, Homing Missiles, Mini-Map, Pausing the Game, Scrolling Text ( Horizontal / Vertical ) and many more. Each routine is in GML, but is straight forward to understand and use. This is one of the great 14 chapters to read and absorb.

An added bonus with the Book, is a CD with all the examples from The Game Maker's Companion, which also includes Game Maker 8 to get you started.

Overall, this is a well deserved follow up to The Game Maker's Apprentice, for which I could possibly see a third book covering even more styles of game design and routines. Perhaps the 3D aspects of Game Maker ?
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By driskell on November 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is all that I wanted, after owning the previous book (Apprentice). It continues with the more advanced features of Game Maker precisely where the other book left off. There is very little rehashing of the material from the previous book and it moves (inevitably) into much more detailed use of GML game maker language. This was expected. It is noticeably thicker than the previous (almost but not quite twice as thick) and contains a reference section at the back of the book in an almost toolbox-like utility for incorporation into your own games. If you bought the first one (and liked it all), don't think, just buy the second. You wont regret it.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased the e book for this title for two reasons, first it was available immediately. When I purchased "The Game Makers Apprentice", I discovered that having the e book had many advantages. I could have the book open on my computer to create the games while learning about game design and development. It allowed me to copy and paste code rather than type it, as I am a miserable typist.

I am happy to say the "The Companion" took over in a sense where "The Apprentice" left off. I learned a fair amount about game design and development from "The Apprentice", but I wanted more in depth information of a specific genre. The platform games is is simple enough to begin with and yet it can be complex enough to allow a learner to evolve into a developer. "The Companion" handled this beautifully.

It uses the same game development instruction style as "The Apprentice" with perhaps a little more in depth explanation. This is not a short coming for "The Apprentice", its primary function was to ace as an introduction into game development and "Game Maker", which it succeeded in doing extremely well.

"The Companion" is broken into 3 sections each of which is dedicated to a specific platform game. As with "The Apprentice" the initial game is simple and is used to get across the basics of the game genre and development for this type of game.

The second section takes a classic game within the genre and adapts it to "Game Maker". It is the second evolutionary step in the complexity of the game genre and game development and design. It also lets the user work with an existing game that he or she may already be familiar with.

The third section introduces integrating story telling within the game development and design.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Game Maker 8 makes it easy to create simple games. The problem is when you want to go deeper, perhaps even write some real code! This is where many young developers lose interest. This book shows you how to take the next step. However, it's not just about learning new features, or even just learning to write GML scripts. This book aims to teach you how to start thinking like a real developer - how to structure, organize and plan your game. The budding developer is introduced to properly naming variables, using constants (no magic numbers!), and especially how to create an object hierarchy to represent the various states of the actors in your game. At times it can be slow going, but with persistence and patience, the person who completes this book will learn more than just Game Maker, but also take a big step towards being a true developer, being able to structure code and resources in way that suits larger endeavors. There were a few mistakes here and there in the book, but takes these as challenges, not obstacles. As a professional developer (Java, C++, .NET, SQL), I can heartily affirm the goal of this book. It can make the difference between a hacker who scrabbles together something, and a long-term developer who is capable of working with others on larger projects.

Oh, and the samples projects are fun! They give immediate feedback to your learning that is both pleasing to the eye and fun. One word of caution, though. You should either read the first book in the series (The Game Maker's Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners (Book & CD)), or have a significant experience with creating games in Game Maker.
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