Mastering Adobe Captivate 6 Review

Mastering-Adobe-Captivate-6

Complete guide to getting started with, and creating lessons using Captivate 6.

As someone new to Captivate, I found this book very helpful got getting started with, and using Captivate.
The author makes it easy to follow along with the examples, and provides an iterative approach to building lessons, which become more complicated and advanced each chapter.

The book starts showing how to record clips to be used in teaching, and giving advice on the best way to do it.. From there, you learn to edit the recordings, add objects such as text, images, videos and shapes, and adding animations and effects to the objects.

You learn how to add audio, quizzes, themes, how to interface with an LMS (if you need to), and even a detailed chapter on how to publish to many different formats.

After reading through the book, I feel I could create youtube like tutorials without a problem, as well as full lessons with quizzes and feedback which a lot of professional organizations use to teach their employees.

If you are looking for a book that can teach you how to create lessons, tutorials, and computer based training using Captivate, this is the book for you.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/mastering-adobe-captivate-6/book

Review of Box2D for Flash Games (Author: Emanuele Feronato)

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Emanuele has come out with a new book, which is a great overview of using Box2D with real-world examples.

He had announced it back in the end of November on his blog ( http://www.emanueleferonato.com/2012/11/28/box2d-for-flash-games-book-is-on-the-shelves/ ), and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

(Example of one of the “Totem” like game you create, with my “Crysis-like” graphics.)

(Click on certain bodies to destroy them)

Box2d is the most well known 2d physics engines, used by many mobile, flash, and indie games. This book starts with taking you through the very basics of setting up a Box2d world, to creating “Angry Birds”, and “Totem” like levels with gameplay. On top of that, it guides you through the different available abilities of Box2D, and demonstrates how to use them as you would when creating your own games.

You’ll learn different mechanisms you have for handling problems and when and how they should be used, so you can imagine applying them to your own game concepts.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has been interested in Box2D, or using physics in their games, as well as people who have used Box2d before, but haven’t discovered much more than the basics of creating bodies. You should be comfortable working with Box2D by the end of the book, and you’ll learn how to skin Box2D with your own graphics.

The book covers pretty much everything you would need to learn about Box2D to make any kind of game involving 2d physics, and even better, shows you how to use them in real world examples.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/box2d-for-flash-games/book

Included Project Files for FlashDevelop

I decided to test all the examples in FlashDevelop, and I will show off each demo with a description, and have ALL the FlashDevelop project files attached after each demo in this review.
Most of the examples I simply copied into the basic FlashDevelop AS3 project, with only the custom graphics chapter requiring me to use a different method for rendering the Bitmaps.

Also Useful For Other Programming Languages/Platforms

I will also be creating the examples for Android using LibGDX in Java, to also demonstrate that the book can be useful to you, regardless of whether you work primarily in Flash/As3, Java, or C++.

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WebGL Beginner’s Guide Review

If you have wanted to start learning any kind of OpenGL, WebGL is a great way to start learning. This book provides a lot of information about using WebGL, from just introducing the canvas tag, to actually loading models from Blender in obj format, picking geometry using the mouse and ray tracing, and even using shaders in your WebGL application.

If you have used OpenGL or OpenGL ES before, a lot of the techniques will be very familiar. If you haven’t he starts off at the beginning, explaining everything thoroughly, and as long as you have programmed before, and hopefully have used Javascript, you will be able to start creating WebGL apps using modern techniques. The advantages of using WebGL include not needing to compile anything, so any text editor is all you really need(although I would recomend at least using notepad++), it uses Javascript, so has a relatively low barrier of entry for more novice programmers, and it’s viewable on the web- so you could upload it to your website for everyone to be able to check out.

If you know some Javascript, and are interested in adding anywhere from simple 3d, up to enough to create a small 3d game, this book would be able to get you started, and confident with using WebGL.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/webgl-javascript-beginners-guide/book

Inkscape Beginner’s Guide Review

Inkscape is a vector drawing program, much like Illustrator, but free AND open sourced. This book is very detailed, assuming you know knowing of vector drawing, and possibly of any kind of digital drawing. It starts out very slow, describing what vector graphics actually are, how to install Inkscape, ect. Then it actually allows you to explore the interface by small little projects, such as basic drawing tools, starting to modify objects, using layers, and stylizing text. Towards the end, it starts touching on topics most well experienced vector artists use on a daily basis, or haven’t even discovered yet, such as using filters to stylize your objects, different options for stylizing text, and making custom looking text, as well as manipulating nopn-vector images inside of inkscape, and even using the XML editor to directly modify the SVG, which gives you an intro into how shapes are actually stored, which can of course be used by different programs (such as HTML5’s ‘canvas’ tag), due to it being an open format for vector graphics.

If you’re new to creating art working with a computer, new to vector drawing, or even want to transition from Illustrator to Inkscape, this book will get you from clueless to experienced in no time.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/inkscape-to-create-attractive-layout-designs-logos-brochures-icons-beginners-guide/book

OpenNebula 3 Cloud Computing Review

If you have been looking into understanding, and seeing how to setup your own cloud solution, this is a great book. The book starts with an overview of OpenNebula, then into all the different things you’ll have to consider when starting, and setting up Open Nebula. You’ll learn how to everything up, what hardware you should consider, and how to install extra applications that it easier to interface and use OpenNebula, as well as how to administer and manage your datacenter, once it is setup.

If you have been interested in cloud computing, and would like to see how to set it up using an open source solution like OpenNebula, this will be a great book to get you setup and working.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/open-nebula-3-cloud-computing/book

RuneScape Gold Strategy Guide Review

New to runescape, or having trouble getting as much gold as you need? Then this book will get your quickly started, making money, and understanding and exploring the game.

As someone who had spent quite some time in World of Warcraft, starting at the beginning, and slowly going through quests, earning small amounts of gold, only to find better ways later on, I found this book very helpful for RuneScape. You can skip all the time of trying to figure out the intricacies of the game itself, which will sometimes slow down, and even ruin your experience as you become frustrated.

The author provides information about the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of using a free vs. paid account, so you can decide early on which is the right one for you, and what won’t be included in the free version.
The book goes into different choices you can make that will affect how well you earn gold, such as choosing between the many gathering skills, artisan skills, and which things you should buy vs. craft, and how to decide.

Besides teaching different ways to earn gold based on time, he also teaches other useful information, such as how to prepare and go through dungeons, getting the most money through trading, and even how to avoid scams that you are likely to come across.

Overall, if you are new to MMORPG’s, or just looking to earn gold faster than you’re used to, this is a comprehensive book to get you started, and succeeding in Runescape.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/runescape-mmorpg-gold-strategy-guide/book

iPhone Location Aware Apps by Example Review

A wealth of knowledge on creating location based (GPS) apps, and tying into to well known API’s

If you have been interested in creating applications using that tie into your iPhone’s GPS, this book provides many great examples.
The book starts with an introduction to GPS terms, but quickly transitions into examples for creating “Hello location” apps using many tools, including Xcode, PhoneGap, Titatanium Appcelerator, and several more, so you have a choice which tool you prefer. The book goes over the Core GPS functions, and then into tying your app into well known API’s to introduce more functionality to your app, without needing to try to code everything from a blank template. The API’s it includes are the last.fm API, MapKit for including maps in your apps, the Weatherbug API, foursquare and many more advanced topics, such as getting the direction, and storing and recieving events from a SQLLite database.
The book has so many different ideas, and different API’s related to GPS functionality, that you could find ideas to fulfill almost any of your GPS related app ideas.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in making an iphone application that they would like to tie into any location based mechanics that they might be interested in.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/iphone-location-aware-apps-beginners-guide/book

Moodle Gradebook Review

Comprehensive introduction to using the gradebook in Moodle.

If you have used Moodle before, but would like more detailed help using the gradebook, this book is great. This books starts with an introduction to the gradebook, but quickly covers more advanced topics, such as using your own scale for grades, using letter or words instead of simply percentages, and many other advanced grading methods.
Even though the book doesn’t cover every possible function in the gradebook, it provides a comprehensive walk through on doing most anything you would want to do.
If you have used Moodle, and want to become well versed with using the gradebook, this book would be a great reference.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/moodle-gradebook-to-track-student-progress/book

Adobe Edge Quickstart Guide Review

If you have been interesting in moving from creating content in flash, to creating content in “HTML5” that can be viewed on any standard web browser, this book is a great introduction to Adobe’s newest tool.
For a veteran of Flash, it compares the two side by side, showing what Edge can currently create (circa mid 1990s Flash). The book introduces and shows the new interface, teaches you how to work with tools and the timeline, as well as adding interactivity to your HTML5 based content. The book does a great job of showcasing Edge’s strengths and weaknesses compared to using Flash.
I found this book to be a great introduction to the Edge platform, and would think anyone that currently develops Flash content, or has been interested in getting into interactive web development would find interesting and useful.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/adobe-edge-quickstart-guide/book

The Game Jam Survival Guide Review

Very good book for preparing for almost any game project

While although this book specializes on giving advice from different experienced game jam developers, anyone looking for advice on creating games, how to manage everything that needs to be done, and how to prioritize and maximize their time on their project would find this extremely helpful.

It covers pitfalls that any game developer will run into, such as having to cut mechanics due to time, focusing on doing a few things very well vs. lots of things not as well, counting in time for things you might not have planned on, such as adding sound, packaging your game to distribute before the deadline, and planning on things usually going wrong.

Aside from avoiding pitfalls, he also introduced you to resources to improve the speed at which you can create games, such as free sound sites, resources for finding game frameworks/engines, and the best ways to prepare for a game jam (which contrary to what it sound like, does not mean starting from scratch after the game topic has been announced).

I would recommend it for anyone interested in participating in a game jam, building their own game, or interested in what goes into creating a game, and the types of things you’ll have to plan on, and ways of avoiding pitfalls which may keep your game from being completed.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/game-jam-survival-guide/book