Top positive review
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Best Game Development Book for Beginners - Period
on May 7, 2006
Anyone looking to learn how to develop computer games has found the right book in "Beginning Game Programming". The reader is walked through the production of seven complete (and fun!) games, starting with a simple Memory type game, and moving up through various styles of games including a frogger clone and a Missile Defense clone, until finally ending with a game titled "Stunt Jumper", which brings together all of the techniques learned throughout the book. Morrison's method of teaching is really quite brilliant. Only the most essential parts of the source code are listed in the book, the rest is on the accompanying CD. Once a particular part of the code is explained, it isn't explained again later, even if it's central to the game being made. The reason for this is simple. It makes the user type the code again with each game, which reinforces the concepts presented. If you have to physically do it yourself every time (as you will when you are a professional game developer), you will have a much more solid grasp of both the code, and much more importantly, the concepts behind the code.
The reader is expected to already have a solid grasp of C++, and at least a partial understanding of Win32 programming. While others have complained about these requirements, I feel they are actually the books strong point. I've read many books geared towards beginning game programming - and all of them stop after giving you the basics. Very few of them actually walk you completely through making an entire game, let alone seven! Every aspect of game programming is shown here, from loading the bitmaps as resources to display on the screen, to getting music playing, to various ways of accepting input from the user, even going so far as to include joystick support. Lot's of little things that other books leave out are covered in detail also. Just how do you get a high score to display properly on the screen? Explained here. How do I get my background to scroll? Covered. How the heck am I supposed to eliminate that annoying flickering my sprites keep doing? No problem, this book will show you.
If you've ever been frustrated with other newbie style books either not giving enough information, or glossing over extremely complex processes without fulling explaining anything, then this book is for you. If you have no background whatsoever in programming, but want a quick route to learning game development, start with Game Development All in One (First Edition), and as soon as you've finished the section on Win32 programming, junk that book and move to this one. At the end you will have a completely solid grasp on game programming, and enough background to switch back to Game Development All in One and move on the chapters covering more complex stuff like DirectX.