Unreal Development Kit Game Programming with UnrealScript: Beginner’s Guide Review

Great amount of information for working with Unreal scripting!

I am a beginner to Unreal scripting, and had not realized how involved it could be. This book helps you with setting up everything you need to get started, installing the UDK and external programs for script editing/compiling, and setting up a project.

The book appears to be aimed more so at beginners, with information about basic programming types, functions and states, albeit how to use them in UnrealScript. It does include some more advanced concepts, such as working with multiplayer, but it’s primary purpose is to give a good base for learning how to use UnrealScript.

Overall, it contains a ton of information on using UnrealScript, and would be useful for any looking to become very familiar with it.

You can pick up the book here:

Xna 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner’s Guide – Visual Basic Edition Review

Great book for beginners to game programming!

The book is aimed towards beginners starting out in game programming. Visual basic is one of the easier languages to get started in, and XNA is a well known game framework, so it is an excellent place for beginners to start.

The book starts out with an introduction to XNA, and how to set it up on your machine for development. The author explains everything he adds to the code, which makes it easy to understand what each addition does.

The first game is created in chapter 2, so the author quickly gets into actually creating games fairly quickly, while introducing important concepts such as sprite sheets and tile based games.

The following games continue to introduce important concepts, from collision detection to the A* pathfinding algorithm, and even using a map editor to make levels for a side scrolling mario-esque game!

I would definitely recommend this book to beginner and intermediate game programmers. The amount of important concepts introduced in this book would give you a great start to developing more advanced games in the future, and the concepts will still be useful for any 3d games. It doesn’t matter so much what language you start out programming, just learning the game programming concepts will get you started regardless of what language you eventually choose to develop in.

You can pickup the book here:

Cocos2d for iPhone 1 Game Development Cookbook Review

Great cookbook for Cocos2d game developers, and useful for general game development.

If you’ve had some experience with development in Objective C on the iphone, and want to learn how to develop games, this is a great cookbook. The book starts with an introduction to graphics, animated sprites, and OpenGL, but delves quickly into more advanced topics, such as writing and reading using different file formats, creating an isometric game ‘engine’, integrating box2d physics, and using the A* algorithm for pathfinding.
I’ve been creating games for a few years, and did learn some good tips and techniques in this book, but some of them I had already learned through trial and error on my own.

So if you have programming experience, and have started game development in the past, or created a small game, this book could save you lots of time, learning tools needed to create full games, versus figuring it out on your own over a long period of time. If you’re already an experienced game developer, and newer to using Objective C, this book might still be useful for seeing how to translate from development on other devices to on the iphone.

You can pickup the book here:

Android 3.0 Animations: Beginner’s Guide Review

This was a good read if you are interested in adding animation to your android applications. It shows several different methods, from frame animation to tweening objects around on screen.

The book is titled for “Android 3.0”, but almost all of the examples will work for any version of Android. You just need to change the build target of the project properties to whatever SDK version you are using, and change the android manifest file from build 10 to 3.

It does touch on what the new animation methods are for Android 3.0, and you have a warning in the chapter for the exercise file that uses a newer version.

The examples may not all look pretty (especially the first one), but it teaches the main concepts, and you can fill in your own graphics, using the concepts, to add some nice ‘flair’ to your applications.

One of the more interesting examples shows you how to create your own, animated, and interactive ‘live wallpaper’, which you could use to create pretty much any type of live wallpaper.

The book does not go into OpenGL programming, but does introduce the concept of a “game loop”, which would be useful for someone to see who has never created a game before. A lot of the concepts might seem simple to someone who has experience using tweens, or frame by frame animation.

I would recommend this book to someone who has programmed on Android application before, but would like to add more “polish” to their application, using animation to liven it up.

You can pickup the book here: http://www.packtpub.com/android-3-0-animations-beginners-guide/book

Flash Development for Android Cookbook Review

This is an awesome book to bring your Flash games and programs to Android!

This book provides you with everything you need to start developing programs and games on android using Adobe AIR, assuming you already have some knowledge in ActionScript.
It shows short “recipes” on how to interface with everything that you would want to on the phone, from gestures, drawing, acceleration and geolocation, camera, microphone, images, video, audio, local storage and SQLLite, to even putting the final app on the market.

Every recipe is well written, and specific to the interface you will be looking for, so you can easily find how to use the accelerometer, or load up the browser within your app. Most examples show how to do everything in Flash Builder (Flex), Flash ‘professional’, FDT, and even command line, so you have many options (although the code will work well in any of them).

The only negative I found with the book is that in Chapter 1, you learn how to compile, and run a program on Android, but Chapter 10 is when it actually goes into debugging, and setting up different configurations for testing your app. I wasn’t sure how to have the app test run in Windows instead of running on my Android directly until that chapter (although it is a cookbook- you pick which chapter is relevant what you’re trying to do).

If you have built applications or games using Flash/Flex before, and would like to have a version running on Android, this book will give you all the information you need, and is a great reference as well!

Get it now to get your Flash apps running on Android!


Review of Cryengine 3 Cookbook

I picked up this book because I wanted to get some hands on experience using the CryEngine with a reference book, but had not used the CryEngine before.

I feel this book is more aimed towards beginners, and allows someone new to the CryEngine to be able to easily jump in, and have a reference for doing a ton of stuff that might not be very straight forward, as well as a lot of detail on using the interface.

Overall, just reading through the first chapters, I was able to get comfortable with the interface, and able to create and setup my own basic level. Further on, the book goes into a more general “cookbook” style, with recipes for doing a variety of different things you might need in your level.

The book is well written, easy to read and a beginner can pick it up without a problem. There are lots of recipes for most things you would want to do, such as: creating terrain, changing level layout, placing items, changing lighting, putting down enemies, creating assets to import into the CryEngine, creating vehicles, some game logic, creating cut scenes, and much more.

The one problem I did have with using the book with the CryEngine are that the assets have changed since the book was published, so some of the items, or textures it tells you to look for at the beginning aren’t there. You can use alternatives instead, but it would be nice if the downloadable files included them, or you could know which version of the CryEngine Sandbox was used in the book.

Overall a great book for learning how to use the CryEngine Sandbox, with lots of helpful recipes that will have you creating cool levels.

It was also very interesting frm a game developers standpoint to see the CryEngine Sandbox tool, how it was made, and what kind of things were taken into account for creating levels. It gives me better insight into how I should layout my own tools, for simpler game development projects 😀

You can see the book here:

Packt Publishing 30% of open source ebooks

I’ve been getting a lot of my technical books from Packt Publishing, as they seem to have a ton of tech books, and e-book copies of everything, so I don’t have to wait to read them.

If you’ve been interested in any of their open source based software books, they are going to be on sale for 30% off on e-books (and 20% on printed copies) starting July 4th.

Some that I will be looking at in the next few weeks will be ‘PHP jQuery Cookbook’, ‘PHP 5 Social Networking’, ‘Inkscape 0.48 Essentials for Web Designers’ (vector based graphics program, and ‘Blender 2.5 Lighting and Rendering’, although they have quite a few more books offered for the discount as well.

Apparently they have also donated over $300k to open sourced projects this year as well, which is pretty cool that they are helping to support the open source community.

I’ve got lots of good reading to do!

You can see the books discounted here: http://www.packtpub.com/article/packts-best-selling-open-source-books-offer/

CakePHP 1.3 Application Development Cookbook Review

I have been developing web sites and web applications for several years now, but have been wanting to try out a PHP development framework to take care of not having to program lower level functionality, which would also let me develop applications in much less time.

CakePHP is a php, rapid development framework, and the tutorials on the site walk you through creating a basic blog application in relatively little time.
The CakePHP 1.3 Application Development Cookbook, like all “Cookbooks”, gives you many code snippets to create commonly needed systems, which are used to create complex applications.

Continue reading

Review of Flash Game Development by Example (Author: Emanuele Feronato)

When I found out the author of the largest Flash game development blog had written a book, I was very eager to pick it up and try it out.
(his announcement on his blog HERE)

Emanuele’s blog has been around for many years, and he has great information from starting out in actionscript and beginning game programming, all the way up to developing complete games, using 3d and physics engines.

Continue reading