I am new to game development, not new to Java. I recently made my first game. Kinda of a proof of concept. Its a space invaders / galga analog.
I made it in eclipse using swing/awt. My images are stored in an images file in the src folder and my sound effects in a sounds folder under src. Everything works fine running from eclipse. I tried making a runnable jar from eclipse. I have done this before and they worked fine, but not this game, maybe because of images and sounds. Then I tried to use launch4j. It runs but its missing the sounds and images. So:
1.Not wanting to use and applet what is the best way to package / distribute my games.
2.Are there any other libraries people are using for java 2D games besides swing and awt?
3.Is eclipse the best IDE for games in Java ( I know this my be strictly a matter of opinion)?
1. This thread on stack exchange explains your options pretty well, granted, it's a bit old. If you are doing a commercial release, you will probably use an installer builder of some form. If you are just sending it to friends or download from your website, jar is probably ok.
2. Ugh, swing and awt are terrible choices for games. They aren't accelerated which frankly means SLOOOOOOOW. Slick2D is probably your best choice, but this guide goes through your options. Basically, its LWJGL on the low end, or a framework built on top of it, like Slick2D or PlayN ( which is in it's infancy ).
3. Yes, and it's crap. I suppose that's my opinion, I hate Eclipse, but so many libraries/toolchains are increasingly requiring it ( like Android for example ). I would take NetBeans or IdeaJ over Eclipse any day of the week, but almost every time I am working in Java I am forced to use Eclipse. Which means I am going to lose countless hours to stupid IDE bugs, something that should never, ever, ever happen, but does all to frequently. The above linked guide, also has links to the various IDE options, so start there.