- Paperback: 998 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 30, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0596007302
- ISBN-13: 978-0596007300
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Killer Game Programming in Java 1st Edition
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About the Author
Andrew Davison received his Ph.D. from Imperial College in London in 1989. He was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne for six years before moving to Prince of Songkla University in Thailand in 1996. He has also taught in Bangkok, Khon Kaen, and Hanoi. His research interests include scripting languages, logic programming, visualization, and teaching methodologies. This latter topic led to an interest in teaching games programming in 1999. His O'Reilly book, "Killer Game Programming in Java", was published in 2005.
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Almost none of the code in this book will compile as written. However, it's not the fault of the author. It's just that many of the java classes that are utilized in this book are now deprecated; e.g., J3D timer. Also, a lot of the techniques that are used in the book are just not the best way to go anymore. If you have gone through a basic java programming book before, like "The Art and Science of Java" by Eric Roberts, then you will know about Java documentation and will be able to figure out how to correct the problems. Ideally, you will use an IDE like Eclipse, which will point you to potential solutions to the errors in the code you get from the book.
However, I think that jumping straight to this book from basic Java is a bad idea. I believe that the best option is to try out Greenfoot or Bluejay, which are free, contemporary, and have a good community. After you learn those, then this book makes a nice paperback reference, or solutions manual, to potential problems that you may need help solving.
Once again, I'm just a novice, so my opinion should not really be highly regarded; this is just my impression as of now. Feel free to comment me and let me know if you think there is a better way or if my interpretation is specious.
Anybody who spends a lot of time writing games in Java ends up running into certain challenges. For each of these real issues, it takes a lot time to identify the issue then many hours to come up a satisfactory solution or work-around. This book saves you from 99% of that work. The author has documented nearly every complication that you will run into. The other Java gaming books explain how to apply common sense and traditional gaming strategies to the Java APIs (usually following Sun's tutorials exactly), giving step-by-step instructions on how to do so. Besides the point that this adds no value for somebody capable of following Sun's tutorials and APIs, they offer no help where you need it most... where the straight-forward approach is unsatisfactory or just doesn't work for some reason.
Another thing that has saved me a ton of frustration and time is advice from the author. For my specific game project I've run into several questions which I've been unable to answer by web searches, posting to forums, etc. I've emailed Davison (the author), and he has answered each of my questions concisely and to the point every time. (I don't want you to spam him, so please don't send questions until after you have looked for the answer in his book!).
To address concerns that other reviewers have posted:
This book is not just for "advanced" Java developers. As Davison has emailed me, the intended audience is, "someone who has just got past their first Java course". He purposefully avoids avoids all but elemental Java features (e.g., no ternaries, abstract classes, logging infrastructures, IOC).
WRT examples, you are not buying a gaming library or framework. The goal is not to give you production classes that you can use as-is in production quality products. Other reviewers are demanding production-ready examples. It is impossible to make production-ready examples that can be easily understood by first-year Java developers. If you want production-ready classes, don't look for them in a HOW-TO book, find them elsewhere or read this book and then write them yourself.
That being said, I am only still a novice, and this book goes a bit over my head in some (most) areas. I would recommend this book to someone who has had quite a lot of exposure to Java, but not to someone of the same skillset as myself, having taken only one class.
Again, it is a great book from what I have gleaned, and it will most definitely come in handy in the future. But make sure you have a very sturdy base in Java before giving it a try.
Roughly half the book is dedicated to issues you'll have when writing a 2d game and the other half is dedicated to 3d games (
using Java 3D). Although I've only read the first half in detail the java 3d material seems equally useful if 3d games are of interest.
My only complaint is that I didn't care for the example code much so I won't be using any of it. But unlike other books this book gives you all the information you need to do it in your own coding style.
Lastly the book is definitely not a book for beginners, the author makes no effort to explain things like event handling, Swing, or any other non graphic topics used in the book.