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Programming Linux Games Paperback – August, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 415 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press (August 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886411492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886411494
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A great operating system for programmers and system administrators, Linux is also a great gaming platform, and the market is exploding. Linux users want to do everything under Linux—including playing computer games. And the Linux operating system is fast even without a fast processor, which means that even an older machine can be a great Linux gaming machine.

Gaming will continue to drive the adoption of Linux as an operating system. In fact, one game, Quake, has already indirectly contributed to the growth of Linux. Estimates are that over 60 percent of all dedicated Quake servers (for all versions on the Internet) are Linux machines.

From the Author

I wrote Programming Linux Games for the casual Linux hobbyist who wants to learn about game programming, as well as the professional game programmer or multimedia engineer who would like to gain a familiarity with the Linux platform.

I start with a birds-eye view of the game industry, and explore the elements that make up various types of games. After a quick review of Linux development tools and multimedia programming toolkits, I launch into the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL), several audio playback APIs (OSS, ALSA, and ESD), the OpenAL environmental audio system, the Tcl scripting library, Linux's new framebuffer device API (fbdev). I also explain how to access the keyboard and mouse under Linux. These tools provide everything you need to create games and other multimedia applications for Linux, as well as port games from other platforms.

Programming Linux Games does not cover 3D graphics programming techniques, as OpenGL programming is more or less the same under any platform. However, there is a brief explanation of how to use SDL as an improved replacement for the popular GLUT toolkit.

~John R. Hall
August 22, 2001

Customer Reviews

Second the author uses Tcl as a game scripting engine.
P. S. Bunn
If you would like to write games for Linux, but have no idea where to start, this is the book for you.
C. Young
If you DON'T have much math experience then this book will get you off to a good start.
The Reviewer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
The computer game market is dominated by dedicated game console platforms, like Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's XBox. But the steady rise of linux on fast, cheap hardware and the parallel rise of an open source community leads one to wonder if there are alternatives.
Which leads to this book. It has some of the ambience of the flashback to the 70s or 80s, when programmers in their spare time might gin up a cool game, which would then spread like a virus when word got out. Of course, you can use the book's advice to design a proprietary game. Nobody says you need give it away.
The book's code examples are in C. Not Java, please note. While Java is good for some applications, typically in gaming, performance is always an issue, as measured by latency, for example. The book also does not mention C++. Pity. C++ compilers nowadays are usually as efficient as C compilers. Plus, if you want to code a game of any complexity (over 100 000 lines, say), then C scales badly, unless you use really strict design and coding standards.
Overall, though, the book is well done. Very easy reading if you're experienced. Very little knowledge of graphics is required. The book is more about the back end design. Graphics is pushed out to OpenGL and similar packages.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "vikingchieftain" on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've been waiting for a book like this for a long time. I can't say that I'm into Linux games per say, but I am definitely into cross platform ones and SDL(Simple Direct Media Layer)which is covered in the book is the ticket to getting there. My only previous gripe with SDL was the documentation or lack thereof, which while the documentation is getting better this book does an excellent job of covering SDL from the ground up. If you want to write cross platform games then this book is for you!
If you're new to game programming then get this book too!!! Even if you plan to start out making games on Windows, I suggest reading this book along with Lamothe's as it will help you understand game programming basics without the complexity of Windows' code. The author takes you all the way from initializing the display to a complete game by the end of the book, and even though the game was meant to be for Linux it will compile without too many modifications. Although the game in this book may be rather simple one in today's standards, it does cover all the bases including networking and game scripting, the latter of which I found very helpful. ...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bruno A Nitrosso on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
First and foremost: make sure this is what you are looking for,
even the best book will disappoint someone who is looking for something else!
If, like myself, you have some knowledge in computer science without being an expert and particularly have no expertise in Game Developping nor in MultiMedia and are yet curious about the topics then definetly go for it.
This book unveils pretty much all aspects game programming: graphics, audio, computer "AI", network gaming, etc.
Unveils, not exhausts: be warned. But this is just great when all you are after is understanding what is this about and decide eventually to dig deeper.
And everything is done with examples building up until you have developped with the author "your" first game : Penguin Warrior!
What would be great is to have a sequel with more advanced topics (3D, Scheme scripting, etc.): be many to buy it and maybe we will someday see it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew M. Matta on December 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
There aren't enough books written about game programming for Linux. Although this book is dated (A lot of API evolution can occur in 4 years), it is probably the best introduction I have seen so far. The book walks you through the creation of a simple, but full-featured game using mostly cross-platform APIs. It is elegantly written and easy to understand. Because of how much the libraries have changed, you will not be able to use all of the code directly, but it should not be difficult to look up the new function calls in the respective libraries' online documentations. It would be great if someone could write an update of the book. This book is not a one-stop place for all you need to know, but it is a good place to start and get you thinking. After reading the book, you should know what to look for to learn more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By klyde on January 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've worked as a Java developer for the past few years on what we'll say is a less than exciting product, and so I put this book on the ol' Christmas wish list to jump into my unexplored interest in both GNU/Linux and game programming. Having not looked at C++ since getting out of college *ahem* several years ago and being accustomed to strictly OO language lke Java, reading through the functional C examples can be a bit painful at times. I would have preferred to have seen an OOP C++ approach, but in the author's defense, that is mentioned as a "nice-to-have-done" item when he reviews the content of the book in retrospect.

I'm really only half-way through the book, but wanted type up a quick review of it so far, because now that I've hit the audio section, it has become obvious that the content is getting a little long in the tooth. The examples in said audio chapter (chapter 5, I think) will not compile as-is on current distributions (I'm on Ubuntu 11.04) without some non-trivial porting. I found an old newsgroup thread on this topic from 2004, but sadly the kind poster's link to his self-hosted corrected source was dead. After looking at the changelog for libsndfile I was able to attribute the problem to some changes to the library made back in 2001! I finally corrected that issue to find that OSS is all but obsolete these days and ALSA the predominant standard, although the book more or less paints ALSA as a bleeding edge library.

EDIT: The updates to the source code are indeed on the publisher's website. I overlooked them.

These issues aside, the book does a good job of touching on some basics of using common GNU tools like GCC and GDB, which is good exposure for the GNU development noob like myself.
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