I bought this book but I'm returning it. Its not because of the content of the book (I think the book is good) but rather because I feel the publisher is being unethical.
I came to this conclusion when I contacted the author about this version of the book. What happened was that I saw this book on the author's site as a free pdf download ([...]). I also saw that it was going to be released in Dec 2009 by another puclisher ([...]). So I wanted to clarify what was going on. Here was the response that I received from the author (i.e. Al Sweigart): ----> The one on Amazon is not printed by me. I'm not sure what other changes they made, or if they just printed it from the book off the website.
The "official" book from No Starch Press will have the four PyGame chapters, a professional editing job, and a nice index and all the other things a real book has.
Don't bother buying the book off Amazon. It's just someone's attempt to make money off of other people's work. Unfortunately, I released the book under a license that did not specify non-commercial use only, so he's completely allowed to do it. It kind of makes me wince though, because I'm always making changes to the book online and I don't want someone to pay for an out of date version.
So legally - this publisher (SoHo Books)has every right to print this book and sell it as their own. But from an ethical point of view I think this publisher is not being correct because: 1. They make it seem as if the author is publishing this book (you would assume that the author gets a little bit of something for his effort) 2. As a purchaser of the book - I don't get any updates. Why would I bother buying this book from this publisher if I can download an updated free version from the author's site?
Advertised as 'for a 9 year old', this tutor is much more gentle with the jargon, but covers the Python features well. The 'real' books, (O'Reilly, etc.) make one go, "OMG! What are the Arguments of a Tuple when no Parameters are Passed in the Module?" Sweigart takes one through the early stages very clearly and gives one a foundation for reading the 'real' books.
This book is fantastic for teaching children programming and the Python language. I am currently using it to teach a 13 year old the core basics of programming before moving him on to harder material. It is also a wonderful book for an adult with little or no exposure to programming. In fact, if I was going to introduce an adult to programming, I would have them read this book. HOWEVER, this is not a book about developing modern games. This is a book that teaches programming by using text based games as examples. Using games as examples is a very effective way to teach programming and this book is a success in that regard. It might have been better titled "Learn Python by Creating Computer Games" or something like that.
The graphics developed in this book would be useful if we were still using DOS. This book is about 20 years out of date. If you are interested in only the basics of Python programming it might be useful, but there are better books. If you are interested in games on a modern OS, this is definitely the wrong book.