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++.

Continue reading

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

UDK iOS Game Development Beginner’s Guide Review

The unreal engine is a professional engine, made available to everyone. Getting started with it can be a real challenge, but this book walks you through creating a game step by step. Starting with first creating a room with lighting, to moving on and creating an outside, sky dome, buildings, enemies and AI, you’ll understand the basic tools, and how to start using it to create your own game! The book touches at least on a little of everything that you’ll need, custom models and textures, and the two types of scripting available to you. It also shows you hopw to deploy to your idevice for testing, as well as troubleshooting, ending with instructions for actually submitting your game to apple for approval on the app store.

If you’ve been looking to start with the UDK, this is a great resource. If you’d also like to learn how to deploy that game to idevices, then this book would be perfect for you.

You can pick up the book here:
http://www.packtpub.com/unreal-development-kit-ios-game-development-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

Our Fluffles Beta physics puzzle game released on Android Market!

Save the Fluffles! Fling them home through space in this new physics puzzle game
Help save the Fluffles and bring them home. Fling through space using your stored energy to get through the galaxy to get you back home with your friends. Carefully go through obstacles like spikes, black holes, and more! Help save the Fluffles and become a hero!
Have more fun with Fluffles by creating and playing your own levels with the built-in level editor. Challenge your friends and see if they can master your creations.
Don’t delay help the Fluffles today!
This physics based puzzle game is in the same category as Angry Birds. This is the BETA version. Like Minecraft, we will be continuously adding new features based on our players feedback. The initial release of the game includes the initial obstacles in 30 new levels. We will be adding more obstacles, powerups, enemies, and different environments! Help contribute to the advanced features being added into the game by leaving your feedback!

Download it Now!

Want it more challenging? More enemies, obstacles or features in the level designer? Let Us know! Just like the Fluffles, this game will evolve with your help!
Notes:
– Please send bug reports and feedback to info@ackmi.com
– This is the free version, supported with in app ads.
– Like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/pages/Ackmicom/119310251495822
– Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ackmiENT
– Leave comments on our blog at: http://www.ackmi.com
Leave 5 stars to let us know you enjoy the game! If you leave less than 5 stars, please let us know what we can do to improve it to a 5-star rating!

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