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stein102

What book should I read first?

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stein102    556
Okay, so I went to the library today to get some new books and found a few that I thought might be interesting. I took out a few books and am now sitting here with a pile of books on my desk not sure where to go from here. I have a pretty good understanding of Java I'd like to think(not the best mind you). But here are the two books in trying to decide what to read first.

Data structures for game programmers, By Ron Penton
Developing Games in Java, By Daving Brackeen, Bret Barker and Laurence Vanhelsuwe.

So I'd like to know your thoughts? What book first?

Thanks!

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boogyman19946    1487
The choice might depend on your familiarity with the Java library and basic game dev ideology (for a lack of a better word).

From my perspective, if you haven't made many games (if any) or if you're not particularly familiar with drawing graphics (Swing doesn't count XD) and in general presenting your game to the player, you should plow through developing games in Java. Don't spend time reading sections you already know. If the book goes over a primer for the language, skip it to the meat and potatoes that you actually need. Re-reading things you already know is nowhere near as effective as actually using it in your programs. Read over whatever you're missing in your toolbox and try to think of a useful way you could use it... and then use it >.> Finishing that book should be plenty to get you going so from this point on, you'll probably end up spending more time making games than learning how to make games.

Data structures sounds like a book you should read to enhance your already existing knowledge, so if you feel you know some ground in game programming, you should go ahead with this one.

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stein102    556
That makes excellent sense. I've only made a few games(no graphics for java). My first game was a pacman type game in VB a couple years ago(grade 9 or something). It served its learning purpose. It was a rather simple game. Enemies had a linear plane of motion and you had to collect the items, then go back to start

A few weeks ago I made a console TicTacToe game, it turned out pretty good.

Right now I'm working on a game similar to zork, without as many commands and items obviously. It's a very simplistic version, but I've learned quite a bit from working on it already. Right now, you can go from room to room, you have a few items, you can drop, take items off the ground and some items have their own special functions. You can "Light" the lantern as example. I plan on adding combat and leveling up your character in the future.

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boogyman19946    1487
To be honest, I don't really know what to tell ya. I've been sitting here for at least a half hour thinking about what to reply and I really don't know what to say. Basically, skip the stuff you know and go over the stuff you don't. There is a massive amount of components that go into a game like physics or pathfinding, but there is just no way to fit them all in one-size-fits all book because that would produce waaaaay more than a puny 1000 pages. The language provides you tools to implement those ideas into a working game so the job of you as the programmer is to figure out how to convert those ideas into the if-for-while-switch statements of the language. Learning how to draw a bitmap to the screen isn't a particularly big deal (well, maybe in the Assembly days it was, but this is 2011 and not the 1960's). The big deal is when, how, and where to draw the darn thing. :D


The Data Structures book, by the sound of the title, probably covers some techniques you can use to store data and make your life a little easier. It's like learning about the quadratic formula so you don't have to solve for x every time you see a quadratic equation, you just plug the numbers in and simplify. Read it as you will.


Pace yourself is all I can tell ya. Experience holds a Ph.D. in teaching.

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