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Game Programming with Python, Lua, and Ruby (Game Development) Paperback – December 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Gutschmidt has been a freelance technical writer for the past two years, with articles mainly appearing on Earthweb, Gamelan, and He also worked as an editor for the RPG website GameBanshee for the year 2001. Currently he is the youngest member of a small development team in an encryption and key management company (Widevine Technologies). Gutschmidt has worked on a number of open source game projects, do freelance work currently making web based games, and actively work on mod development.

His current projects include running an online gaming site that focuses on NWN mods and flash game development. The site has a small but regular following. He is wrapping up production on a full length NWN game mod that is in the late stages of beta testing.

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Product Details

  • Series: Game Development
  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Course Technology PTR; 1 edition (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592000770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592000777
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,698,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Sly on February 11, 2006
First let me preface this by saying that i'm only on page 31 and ALREADY am I compelled to write a review about how bad this book is. however, if I get further into the book to find that by some miracle it actually improves, I will revise this review as appropriate. However, the first 31 pages alone are so bad i had to say something before other people blow their cash on this.

Where to begin? I suppose my biggest problems with the book are:

1) It's like no one edited the book AT ALL:

By only page 31, already i've had to re-read more than a few sentences because of the blatant grammar errors that I simply don't expect when reading a professionally published book, such as

"A strings is basically..." (p31)

"In the1960's software development..." (p13).

"They can be composed numbers, letters..." (p30)

There are numerous others but I can't remember them off hand.

Also, in Chapter 1 as the three languages are introduced, the author produces a diagram for each language's "family tree". Two out of three of these are completely wrong. Figure 1.5 is labeled as "The Python language family tree", yet the diagram itself doesn't contain Python anywhere-- rather, the root of the tree is Lua. Figure 1.6 is labeled "The Lua language family tree", but again, Lua is nowhere to be found; rather, the root of the tree is Ruby.

How can so many errors exist already, less than one TENTH of the way through the book?

2) Numerous technical errors and misconceptions:

With all due respect, I seriously question the author's grasp of even basic subjects so far.

For instance, on page 25, we're told that the # symbol is used for one-line comments in numerous languages, including *C*.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2004
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I hate giving this book a bad review because I ordered it without seeing the Table of Contents. If I had seen it, I would've known it wasn't what I was looking for. In any case, I don't think the book has anything useful in it for intermediate or experienced programmers. Normally I would say that this book is for beginners only, but I don't think it covers any of the scripting languages well enough for beginners.
The introductory chapter is mostly fluff, as it is in most computer books. Each language has 3 chapters dedicated to it: the first is a crash course on the language, the second introduces some useful extensions for the language (without explaining them well enough for you to be able to use them), and the third lists some existing projects that use the language. The concluding chapter has a little information on extending the scripting languages, and a comparative list of pros and cons.
Because the book is too short to reasonably cover three languages and their various extensions, it should've avoided explaining them and directed the user to the online documentation for them. With the possible exception of the Ruby SDL extension, which is only documented in Japanese, the online documentation is much better. The online documentation probably could've been distributed with the binaries that came with the CD.
When I bought this book, I was hoping to find some examples of game and game engine architecture/design that use scripting languages. Some are written with C/C++ extending the scripting language, and others are written the other way around. I wanted to see examples of both, with explanations of how the code was organized and why it was organized that way. Memory and performance pitfalls should be pointed out, along with tips on debugging and profiling.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dave Lecompte on March 27, 2004
I flipped through this book before buying it, so I should have known what I was getting, but still I was disappointed. The discussion of the languages is pretty elementary. I was hoping that the discussion of game libraries for the various libraries would be of value, but the selection presented is much smaller than you can easily find online - and being a book, the information presented is out of date, too.
Additionally, there are some pretty atrocious editing errors, including syntax errors in the code that completely obscure the point being made, as well as figures incorrectly matched with their respective captions.
It's not ALL bad, though. There are a few examples here and there that changed the direction of how I considered using Python in games.
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I had assumed that I would be reading a book about combining the 3 languages to create a game. First I wanted to know why. I was distracted by the Pygame section, as I've been reading Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame: From Novice to Professional. In comparing just the Pygame coverage, Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame is 20x better. There is no reason to have Game Programming with Python, Lua, and Ruby. There isn't sufficient enough coverage on any one language to get a grasp, and if you're already familiar with one or all of the languages, you have to wade through all the newbie stuff to get to the meat. Where is the bibliography? The author describes several facts with no evidence such as a bibliography would provide.
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