- Paperback: 438 pages
- Publisher: Albert\Sweigart; 2 edition (May 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982106017
- ISBN-13: 978-0982106013
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition
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About the Author
Albert Sweigart (but you can call him Al), is a software developer in San Francisco, California who enjoys bicycling, reading, volunteering, computer security, haunting coffee shops, and making useful software. He is originally from Houston, Texas. He finally put his University of Texas at Austin computer science degree in a frame. He is a friendly introvert, an atheist, a cat person, and fears that he is losing brain cells over time. He laughs out loud when watching park squirrels, which makes people think he's a simpleton. His childhood Nintendo habit led him into programming and all the joys that come of it. His web site and blog are located at http://coffeeghost.net
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts off with installation of python and setting up an IDE (integrated development environment, software that tries to be a one-stop-shop for all your needs: editing code, running code, file manager, etc)
Each chapter presents a game to be created. The author describes the mechanics of the game and then provides the source code from the get go for the student to copy over into his own file. The source code is also available on a website for quick copy-pasting. So immediately if the student copy and pastes the code into his IDE or runs the script manually through a terminal, bam, program is up and running within the first half an hour.
Then the author goes step by step with each line of code and explains what is happening. Core lessons are spread throughout the book instead of all at the beginning like traditional books. In other words, in the first chapter you might learn about the import statement and variables, then a few chapters later learn about lists and dictionaries, etc. I like this format a whole lot better than texts that feature a lot of depth in the beginning that amounts to reading and memorizing -- but without anything to type and execute, you quickly forget anyway and have to spend time flipping backwards in the text to jog your memory when you realize you need something you've already learned about.
Unfortunately I was a little disappeared as to how simple the lessons are. The user doesn't get to design games with a graphical interface (via the Pygame library), until the last third of the book. Prior to that, all games are executed through the command line interface (terminal, shell, console, whatever you happen to call it). This is probably my own fault for not taking a look into the book more thoroughly. I'm a novice programmer with some familiarity with Java and C++, not a total beginner so most of what the book goes over I was already familiar with and have used before, albeit the syntax is different and Python is definitely more concise in code. For some reason I was thinking the book was going to start with creating a graphical interface from the get go and progress a little quicker.
I know now that the author has another book that is more what I thought this book was, entitled "Making Games with Python and Pygame"
All in all, I still have to give the book 5 stars for doing well what I believe it set out to do: introducing programming to complete beginners as fast as possible, as pleasantly as possible, since I know how dense beginner texts can be.
In summary, great book for TOTAL beginners. If you have some background in programming other languages, and can write simple input and output, read and write programs, this book is probably not for you.
I also now know that you can read this book for free online at the author's website, which is incredible. So check out the text to see if it fits your speed. Personally, I prefer reading from real books since I stare at the screen long enough as it is and it's a good way to support the content if you like it.
Those with more python\programming experience that want to get a basic handle on graphics might try his book Making Games with Python & PyGame as a better fit starting point.
The difference here was an immediate and practical instruction to make my computer do something practical and fun. I like the book so much that after months of trying to read and use the other books I put them down and now concentrate on using this to continue learning to program by using python.
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
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?