By Kimberly Unger, Jeannie Novak
Published October 2011 List Price:$73.95, Your Amazon.com Price: $42.56
Amazon.com Sales Rank:1,324,983 Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Explore a comprehensive examination of the art and technology of one of the fastest-growing segments of the game industry with GAME DEVELOPMENT ESSENTIALS: MOBILE GAME DEVELOPMENT. This ground breaking text walks students through the overall process of designing videogames and applications for mobile and handheld hardware. Through coverage of team building, production, QA and a look at the black box of the publication process both for independent and publisher backed studios; students learn the entire development process from initial concept to game design. Utilizing real-life examples, interviews and advice from developers already well established in the mobile industry, MOBILE GAME DEVELOPMENT serves as the 'how to' guide for students looking to break into the mobile game development industry.
GDNet Staff Review: Game Development Essentials: Mobile Game Development is a mobile-specific followup to the large and colorful Game Development Essentials: An Introduction that I reviewed a couple of months ago. This one is about half the size and is more narrowly-focused than Development Essentials: An Introduction, mainly because the topic itself is narrower. Trying to cover all of game development is a vast undertaking. Mobile game development is quite a bit smaller, with the "big player" platforms count-able on one hand.
Like the original, Game Development Essentials: Mobile Game Development is aimed at rank amateurs and others who are interested in the industry but don not really know how to start. And it starts at a very elementary level, explaining terminology accompanied with color photos. Also like the original, it shows the "heritage" of the platforms, from Nokia phones running "Snake" and Psion organizers to iPhones and tablets.
More than anything, the book is a very well illustrated, colorful, and easy-to-follow "dictionary" of mobile game development terminology. It is not as low-level as those Dorling Kindersley illustrated volumes for children, but it closer to that than the legions of "How to program in Objective C for iOS" at your local bookstore. And it does go into a certain amount of detail about a wide variety of topics, but not into too much depth about any particular thing. Most popular IDE's and graphics packages that are useful for mobile development receive at least a little mention. Again, it is not enough to familiarize yourself with a topic to any depth, but it is hopefully enough to give you some direction. For example, Xcode gets about a page of coverage. Now then, Xcode is a necessary thing for one of the biggest mobile platforms. And a page of coverage barely scratches the surface of its operation. But this is really about learning what Xcode IS rather than details about what it DOES. It is intended to at least inform you to the point where you can decide whether it warrants more investigation.
I can picture this book being useful to the following people:
People who have a terrific idea for a mobile game, but who have never written a line of code and don't have any idea how to start.
High-schoolers and pre-college types who may be interested in mobile game development but don't have enough of a handle on mobile development to get started.
Intermediate programmers who have written stuff for the desktop and have no idea what would be involved in implementing something on a phone or tablet.
And that's a fairly good market. If you are an experienced programmer, you will likely enjoy the breezy and colorful read, but you will probably do as well slogging through a more advanced tutorial. The advanced tutorial will get you closer to your goal, but it won't be as fun.
Each chapter ends with some questions and assignments for discussion, so this book is most likely intended to be a textbook for a design and/or beginning programming class. If that is the case, then I am jealous, as I never got to take a course this cool when I was going to school.