By Mario Zechner
Published April 2011 List Price:$39.99, Your Amazon.com Price: $29.66
Amazon.com Sales Rank:579,145 Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Summary: Beginning Android Games offers everything you need to join the ranks of successful Android game developers. You'll start with game design fundamentals and programming basics, and then progress towards creating your own basic game engine and playable games. This will give you everything you need to branch out and write your own Android games.
The potential user base and the wide array of available high-performance devices makes Android an attractive target for aspiring game developers. Do you have an awesome idea for the next break-through mobile gaming title? Beginning Android Games will help you kick-start your project.
GDNet Staff Review: Apress is definitely gunning to be the number-one supplier of programming books for Android and iOS, with about a dozen books for each platform. Beginning Android Games is a hefty (600+ page) guide to building an Android game in Java for the Android platform.
Yes, Java. Actually Java is the preferred development language for Androids, and the Android "Dalvik" Java VM is quite fast and robust and has hooks to every OS-level service you will need for development. If you are planning to develop a game for Android, you are encouraged to do it in Java.
The first half of Beginning Android Games is concerned with the build process and tools, exemplified by a simple snake-game called "Mister Nom" built using Android's audio, input, and canvas classes. It is a great example of how Android applications are built, and it is a robust enough that you could probably stop there if your needs are simple. If you or your game plans are more ambitious, though, the second half of the book is all about OpenGL ES. For that, you will be building a 2D Mario-style platformer and a 3D Space Invaders-style game.
The final chapter shows how to submit your app to the Android Market. And this, above anything else, addresses one of my chief pet peeves with "how to write a game for [insert platform here]" books. And that is that they are rarely complete. They seem to think that once a game has moving sprites on a screen, then their job is done. Finishing the game and getting it into peoples' hands is treated as an afterthought. But it is not an afterthought. Application completion and deployment is the second half of the development process, and if your book neglects the second half of the process, then it is only half of a book.
One thing I like about Beginning Android Games is that everything is done on the cheap. And by that I mean free. After all, the Java JDK is free and the Android SDK tools and simulator are free, so why on earth would you not make these tools your first choice for development? I do not know either, but I have seen too many books that start out by requiring you to invest in the author'''s preferred third-party development system before you can build the example programs. Not so here.
Needless to say, I like this book. If you know enough Java to get by, this should get you the rest of the way to converting that Java knowledge into a working game.