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Awesome Game Creation: No Programming Required (Game Development) ***--

Awesome Game Creation: No Programming Required (Game Development) By Jason Darby
Published September 2007
List Price: $49.99, Your Amazon.com Price: $49.99

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 2,740,660
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours

This is one of the first books CRM published in game development and it has been very successful. There are thousands of more game players today than there were in 2000 and many of these players want to know how to make their own games. Most of these people are not programmers, however, so they need a non-programming why to learn and that's why this book works so well! Awesome Game Creation: No Programming Required, Third Edition teaches game enthusiasts and aspiring developers how to create your own computer games without programming skills. It teaches how the whole game design process works, beginning with an overview of how to design a game, and moving through the creation process from the basic building blocks to sound, music, and graphics. Throughout the book, you'll learn how to create a variety of games, including an 2D Dragon Flying Game, First Person Shooter, space shoot-em up, and more. To make sure you're able to follow along easily, each game is created through step-by-step tutorials that use "drag-and-drop" game engines. You'll learn how to make and modify your own interactive 2D and 3D computer games. And, you'll learn how to use a variety of development tools, including The Games Factory 2 (latest version), GameMaker, and FPS Creator (new to this edition). This is a great way to learn the basics of game design and creation without having to learn how to program!!

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Whenever you see a book about game development or software that promises the ability to write games without any code, you can pretty-much assume you'll be working with some kind of sprite-based authoring environment. While that's not a problem per-se provided that the authoring environment is capable of making a decent game, you should assume from the onset that you won't have the wide ranging capabilities offered by a more traditional (and difficult to use) programming tool.

But if you or someone on your gift-list wants a little instant gratification in making games, an authoring system might fit the bill. It might also give you enough insight into game development to make you want to try some broader tools.

Awesome Game Creation: No Programming Required is aimed at the rankest of rank amateurs, and if you're looking for a book that'll just dive right in with the game development, then you'll want to look elsewhere. After a chapter-long description of various computer peripherals (RAM, Graphics Card, etc), you're treated to a history and description of programming languages (not the languages themselves but what a programming language is) as well as the various genres of games. If you're already a gaming enthusiast or you even have a passing knowledge of game development, you'll find yourself skipping the opening chapters.

One thing I found surprising about Awesome Game Creation: No Programming Required is that it's not married to one particular piece of game authoring software. While many books on more traditional languages like C++ can work with a range of different compilers and OS's, those sprite-based game authoring systems are closed and proprietary. If you don't like how one piece of software is working for your game, you can't just take it over to a competing product and recompile. That doesn't mean, though, that the book is locked to one system. Actually, the book covers several different systems, namely Game Maker, The Games Factory 2, FPS Creator, and 3D GameMaker. Although 3D GameMaker only gets about 20 pages of coverage. The lion's share of the coverage (and two complete game examples) is reserved for The Games Factory 2, which seems to be the most capable tool of the bunch. Game Maker and 3D GameMaker also get a game example each, so you can get a reasonable idea of how each tool can make a completed game. The examples are reasonably good and are pretty complete, so you can see "how much" of a game each tool is capable of creating.

The pack-in CD includes trial versions of every tool shown in the text as well as projects for all of the example games. If anything, this would be a good way to give yourself a fairly wide introduction to "codeless" game development.

What's the audience for Awesome Game Creation: No Programming Required? Well, given the title you would probably assume it's for the rankest of rank amateurs. Folks who want to see some sprites bouncing around on a screen but haven't yet written their first for() loop. And you'd be right. As I mentioned earlier, if you or someone you know is looking to dive right into game development, this is probably a good way to get 'em started. They might be disappointed that the next World O Warcraft won't be flowing from these tools, but they can at least get something on the screen without straining the code-node of their brain.