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Would like to learn more about game programming - Book suggestions?

Posted on 2003-11-17
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I've been programming for about 2 years, I know VB, C++, and Java, and I would really like to get into game programming. I don't even know enough to know which part of the programming I want to do, does anyone have a book suggestion for me? I'm especially interested in java based games and mobile games.

-Thanks, Licentia
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Question by:Licentia729
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bcladd earned 50 total points
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One of the best learning tools for Java based games in my life was the Robocode project from IBM's alphaWorks (http://robocode.alphaworks.ibm.com/home/home.html). I haven't looked recently , whether or not they provide source code now, but trying to write a clone of their code and using an appropriate disassembler/decompiler (http://jode.sourceforge.net/ was my favorite) to look at the design of the program and how they precached their animations was very, very informative. Note: I had a lot of Java experience before I started so I don't know if this is where you should start.

Brackeen _Developing Games in Java_ has been recommended to me (and ranks highly on Amazon) as covinging much of the basics. I have only glanced at it so I cannot comment on its quality or ability to teach from the ground up. Read the reviews and see what you think.

Knudsen _Java 2D Graphics_ is a great reference for the 2D API. Not an animation-centric book but very good

While surfing over at Amazon to find the author of Java 2D I just saw this. I know NOTHING about it: Fox _Micro Java(tm) Game Development_. Claims it is focused on PDA/Cellphone development in Java. Might be interesting (put it on the wishlist).

In case you can't tell, I am pushing you toward 2D games FIRST. There are enough hard parts of writing a game so you should get comfortable with using threads for animation and simple 2D physics of some sort.

You could do worse than to read the _Game Gems_ series (book 1 is great, book 3 is good, book 2 exists). These are a collection of articles from Game Developer magazine. They are short and varied in both substance and quality. Some focus on beginners (a few) and many span the spectrum from journeyman to master programmer level.

Finally, my standard admonition #347: Rember that a good game programmer is a GOOD PROGRAMMER. Learn everything you can about writing good, solid code, how to review and improve it, how to test it in unit, integration and stress tests, learn how to use source control, debuggers, and all the software tools you can.

Good luck,
-bcl
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Expert Comment

by:tomasus
ID: 9809423
Hi,
as mentioned above, starting with java is a good point. In contrast to powerfull /nearly allmighty/ C++, java applet based games are simple to create, you only need the idea what it will be about. Experimenting with 2d is another commonly known advice. So try this site http://www.javacooperation.gmxhome.de/ there is a tutorial where you are led step by step to get into things like "double buffering", which is important for smooth "animation" and so on. You know the best where did you get with mentioned 2 years programming experience, so if you still feel like newbie don't think about creating stunning applet based RTS for more than 64 players and so on:))).
Or visit www.javaboutique.com and there under applet downloads you can sometimes games that come with sourcecode. It is a good way to see how thing work, you may experiment with modified source etc. The only disadvantage is that the original author may use another programming conventions than you are used to .
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by:bcladd
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Biased but I think mine was the best (and first) answer.
-bcl
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