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Advanced 2D Game Development ***--

Advanced 2D Game Development By Jonathan S. Harbour
Published June 2008
List Price: $49.99, Your Amazon.com Price: $33.25

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,145,265
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours

Get ready to build a complete, professional-quality 2D game engine from start to finish! "Advanced 2D Game Development" is your comprehensive guide to 2D game development using DirectX in the C++ programming language. Each chapter of the book covers one major component of the game engine, including 2D and 3D rendering, DirectInput, FMOD audio, game math, multi-threading, Lua scripting, and more, and the game engine is built upon chapter by chapter. Through the creation of the game engine, you'll learn step by step how to write solid code for multiple compilers, adding to the code as you work through each chapter. And every chapter includes an example game that illustrates the new techniques being taught. Perfect for game programming students and professionals alike, this book is your ultimate guide to awesome 2D game development.

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Advanced 2D Game Development is Jonathan Harbour's 17th book on game development. And if you've read his other books, you know what you're getting.

The book features step-by-step instructions for creating a game engine, in this case a 2D engine built in DirectX 9. Most of the book concerns itself with the code of the game engine itself, although it does digress at times into a couple of chapters about creating 3D and 2D sprites. In this case, kudos to the author for using the reasonably-priced (read: free) Blender and Gimp tools in his tutorial. There's little more frustrating than seeing a book that assumes that you spent a couple-thousand dollars on high-end 2D and 3D software but with a tutorial budget of a chapter or two in a $40 book. . .but I digress.

Most of the book is code-centric , concentrating on Windows-only (at least while it's being abstracted into a game engine) projects built with the free Visual C++ or Dev-C++ compilers -- the author prefers Dev-C++, but either will work with the book's projects. Topics covered include 2D rendering (post-DirectDraw), audio (using FMOD), Fonts (a homebrew bitmap font class), collision detection (bounding-rectangle and/or distance based), threading (POSIX), and scripting (LUA).

A couple of the author's choices are a bit puzzling. For example, he extols the virtues of POSIX threads and how nicely they abstract the Windows thread model into something cross-platform, but the graphics layer is built from DirectX, and no real effort is made to make this library cross-platform even though the resulting 2D game engine is abstracted far enough from the underlying system that it could've been done with a couple more chapters. Given the scope of the book's resulting "take home" games (simple 80's style 2D breakout/invader/asteroids games, some done using Ari Feldman's Spritelib bitmaps), it would've been nice to see the engine ported to a system where games of that type would generate more interest, like a handheld or a TV console. As it stands, the book's "take home" projects are a far cry from the 2D games that are available under Windows today. A book of this type, especially one that calls itself "advanced", must concentrate on more state-of-the-art 2D techniques and special effects (think Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2) and such, lest you end up with results that look like something that could be done in Flash but without Flash's innate (cross-platform and browser-embeddable) advantages.

Still, if you have some C++ under your belt and you understand enough underlying concepts (threads, DirectX, scripting libraries), you can probably get enough of a foundation to build the author's game engine into something that'll work everywhere, can make state-of-the-art content, or both.

So get to work.
I gotta say, this book is good but most of the programs don't work good, I spent 50 bucks on it hoping it would be the best thing since sliced bread, saddly, it disappointed me a lot, i just got it today in the mail and have tried the files that come with the book and most of the project apps don't work good, some of them crash, some of them aren't made for vista meaning that their side-to-side configuration isn't good with the current configuration or something. I've yet to read the book it self but based on the source files and apps that don't work, i think i made a mistake buying this book, maybe i did, maybe i didn't all i know is that his other book was good (Beginning game programming - second edition) WHat ever happened to this book, i'll never know, all i know is that the project files don't work as good as i had hoped.