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[java] Java games: Starting out

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Hello everyone. After programming C++ for several years, I have decided to move to Java game development. I have downloaded and learned how to use the Eclipse IDE. I have a working knowledge of Java syntax, but not so much the libraries. What topics should I study for Java game programming? I know threading is one of them, and I am working on that...

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Don't worry too much about threading - it's less useful than it first appears. If you're writing applets you'll usually start one thread and do all the work within it, but because Java threads aren't timeslices, they're usually not appropiate for multithreaded game development.

What do you want to develop? I recommend picking an API, then heading for that API's example documentation. If you want to develop hardware-accellerated 3D games, you're probably after an OpenGL binding. JOGL and LWJGL are the two big APIs in this area, although you could go for a higher-level API like jME or Xith.

Sound is either through JavaSound and the like, or the sound API most appropiate to the other APIs you're using - LWJGL comes with an OpenAL binding, JOGL has a sister JOAL project to do the same, etc. When there's a "sister" API like this, it's generally best to use it.

File IO, networking, collections etc are all to be found in the core J2SE API. Take a look at the Java tutorial:

http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/index.html

Read up on the new features of Java 5, but think carefully before using them - they won't work on earlier runtime versions. I recommend targetting 1.4.2 for now, consider moving up to 1.5 sometime in the next year.

And most importantly, sign up to the JGO forums at http://www.javagaming.org/cgi-bin/JGNetForums/YaBB.cgi - the focal point of the Java game development community.

--cfmdobbie

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