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The Game Maker's Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners Paperback – October 17, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"The desire to create computer games attracts many young people to computing. This book meets the needs of this group of readers and students very well. It is also a fine introduction to the making of computer games for the experienced software developer who always wondered how games were made. … There are excellent software development lessons that can be learned using this book … . the book provides a superb introduction to programming as well as to game construction." (Anthony J. Duben, ACM Computing Reviews, Vol. 49 (5), May, 2008)

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: 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

  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1st ed. 2006. Corr. 3rd printing 2007 edition (October 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590596153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590596159
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 159 people found the following review helpful By Vagif Abilov on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
My 12 year old son got interested in how computers work and especially how computer games get written. Being a software developer myself, I however could not explain him well these topics in a language that would be easily understood by a kid. And I am not a game programming expert, so I simply don't know how this stuff is written.

When I first saw this book, I was not sure if it would be suitable for a kid. But I decided to take a risk, since the book had a lot of illustrations and language did not seem to be very technical. I gave it to my son two days ago, and I can see alredy now that this was an excellent gift: he used all weekend on reading chapters from the book, trying making his first games, calling his parents all the time to show us his achievement. He even found a forum for game development, asked questions, received answers and made improvements in his first programs based on discussion results! And by the way - English is a foreign language for him.

I wish all books for beginners was written in a such entertaining way.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Aris on July 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Game Maker's Apprentice has to be one of my most eagerly awaited Computer Book purchases for quite sometime. The fabulous presentation and great use of terminology, really makes it a joy to read. Each chapter guides you through gently, in order to achieve more confidence into creating your own game or project. Each page is colourful and the beautiful illustrations brings things to life.

The book is accompanied by a great CD with all of the examples, resources and Game Maker itself, which is really easy to get into. Within no time at all, you'll get used to it's interface and workings. The tutorials start you off with the basics and progressively bring you to the wonderfully powerful Game Maker Language (GML). So not only can you create games using a Drag 'n' Drop interface, you can also use a powerful programming language as well. All of this is included in the unregistered version, but by paying an ever so reasonable registration fee, you unlock the full potential of Game Maker.

I used Game Maker to create my first ever PC game, Bugsy. The Game Maker Forum helped me out when I came across a problem or a bug I couldn't resolve. There a lots of games and projects created with this wonderful program. You will also find many other sites across the Internet that provide helpful advice and tutorials. Not forgetting the official Game Maker site run and hosted by Mark Overmars.

The books co-writer, Jacob Habgood, has made a marvellous job along side Mark, to make this a very interesting book indeed.

You might also be interested to know, that another book covering the Game Maker theme, Basic Game Design and Creation by Namu Swamy is available as well. This also brings you to the Game Maker stable to learn some very easy steps into the basics of game design without it appearing too boring or tiresome.

Your gaming ideas and projects start here !
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By #1mom on April 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
The title should be The Game Maker's Master Teacher! This book is very well written with clear, step by step instructions and visual images for reference. After completing a section, the authors provide a graphic of what your computer screen should look like if you followed directions correctly. My son, 9, and I worked through the first chapter over a 2 day period (about 3 hours total) and created our first game. He was thrilled! He immediately had ideas on how to "tweak" the game to make it even better. The great thing with this book and accompanying software is that you have the freedom to do so! The disc provides many images to use in game development or you can create your own. Each chapter adds new skills and details to make more interesting and complex games. However, even the first game is fun!

I would highly reccommend this book to anyone interested in creating your own video games. It is extremely user friendly and perfect for the beginner. My son is able to read through and understand it on his own, but it's more fun to work on it together. (Also, he was more apt to use the visuals to take him through the process but not read the supporting information along the way!) By the end of the first chapter he understood the process fairly well and was able to remember (more than me!) most of the steps as he started creating his own new game. The only improvement I could see is having a "quick reference" page outlining the major steps. With it's user-friendly format, however, it has been pretty easy to flip back through the chapter for reference.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Raymond on November 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is no question this is the best book available to teach a beginner how to write a computer game. There is not even a close second place. Within minutes, a beginner can start working on writing a game, within hours he will have learned enough to write his own great looking game and within days he can create programs that have a polished look and feel.

Congratuations to the author. This book and the included program have hooked my kids and opened up the world of computer programming to them.

If I ran a school, a computer course would be offered using this as its textbook.
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46 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Papa Bear on April 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I downloaded Game Maker 7.0 and read its manual prior to purchasing this book.

My hope was that it would fill in the "holes" not explained by the program manual.

First, the good.

The book gives an excellent explanation of program logic and keeps things simple and effective for any experience level.

I also liked the fact that you could read the book and see examples without actually completing the tutorials.

I especially liked the way the book would demonstrate a particular game tutorial with an easy-to-read flow chart.

So if you didn't understand the Game Maker's manual this book IS for you.

Here is where my 3.5 star rating comes in.

I paid about $25 for the book to go beyond the program manual.

The book had a couple of the tutorials that were listed on Yo-Yo games web site. I don't like the idea of paying for something that is provided for free. However, it gave a better explanation of Game Maker's interface.

Although you can make a fully functioning game without programming, I was hoping for more guidance on Game Maker Language (GML), which you will need in fine tuning games created with Game Maker.

I was also hoping for more variety in the tutorials. Not everyone may want to make an action oriented game. For example, I wanted to make a little board game, but that isn't discussed in the book. Hopefully, it will be covered in the next edition or another book.

I still recommend the book, but make sure you are getting it for the right reasons. Review the PDF file and sample text carefully looking at the table of contents and index. You might be able to accomplish your goals by reading Game Maker's manual and looking through the forums.
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