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Keeper01

Should i buy game programming books?

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Hello everyone,

I have been learning C#/XNA for the past months now with the goal of following my dream about making video games(like everyone in here),but until now everything i learned alone with the help of internet/this forum and many others with diferent tutorials,i've also read some saying that you could learn everything by internet and books arent that necessary.

Now i was considering buying one so i could learn even more during my time away from the computer,would it be worth it? Or i can just focus on learning it online,learning the same things and keeping my money?

Do you guys recommend me to buy books?

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It's up to you really -- do you want a book, or would keeping the money be more valuable to you personally?

It's certainly entirely possible to learn everything you need to know via experimentation and online resources, but books do have a number of potential advantages (to some people):

  • Books are structured, and present a group of related topics in some logical order. Some people like the more structured approach this provides, as otherwise you'll need to figure out for yourself what to learn next; on the other hand, some people find this annoying if the book in question is "wasting time" on material you already know. [size=2]Obviously this doesn't apply to "reference" books where you just look up certain things, but I don't think those are the sort of book you're considering.
  • A book might present a topic you would not have thought about studying if left to your own devices. Therefore, a well chosen book might give you a more complete knowledge base than learning as you go. The counter-point to this one is that you might spend time learning topics you don't need to know, although many would argue that no knowledge really goes to waste.
  • Books will usually provide you with practice exercises so that you can try out what you're learning; unless you actually try to apply what you're learning, you can't be sure you've really understood the material properly. You can of course do this just as well without a book, but for some people it can be convenient to have relevant practice exercises provided as they go along.


    Many people have had success by setting progressively harder goals to work towards what they need to learn to create their dream game; you might for example aim to open a window, then to draw an image, then to move the image, and so-on and so-forth. This can be done equally well either with or without a book, and is sometimes even more approachable without one as long as you're able to find resources to help you.


    Does that help to make your decision? smile.png

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One last thing to add is that books tend to be written by professionals, whereas online resources may not. That is very important in my book.

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Books a great way to learn, the main issue with learning with the internet alone is the topics you will learn are the ones you pick and you could quite miss out something that would be mentioned in a book.

However theres also bad things about books, if something is missed from a book, it obviously wont be obvious until you read another book, books dont often tell you what they have missed out. You could buy popular books in sets (2 or 3 more), this will heavily increase your learning material but buying books arent cheap, but then can you really put a price on knowledge.

I would recommend reading / learning from books and if you get stuck use the internet then, but this requires you to spend money (and even worse, wait for delivery which often takes forever depending on where you live). Dont get me wrong, the internet is great and theres massive amount of articles that are useful for pretty much anything but you really need a syllabus to go by or you could find yourself doing things the 'slow way'.

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Thanks for your help guys,more knowledge is never a problem,i'll try to search for a good book that i can use to help my studies,and use both(books and internet) so one can complement another.

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Hi Keeper01 one thing i would advise is if you buy a book make sure you get the CD because some books make it very difficult to get the code to work and its always good to see what you will end up with at the end of each chapter.

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Hi Keeper01 one thing i would advise is if you buy a book make sure you get the CD because some books make it very difficult to get the code to work and its always good to see what you will end up with at the end of each chapter.

On the other hand a lot of the code is outdated, especially XNA and won't run/work with latest version anyways.

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Well besides the actual code there is normally all the supporting files Models, textures, bitmaps, music and all that kind of stuff and normally there are exe for the example code.
i have brought 5 books in the last 2 weeks and only 2 came with a CD the one im working through atm doesnt really explain where the code snippets should be placed which leaves me wondering if the bugs i get are due to that or something else. At least if i have something to compare it to when i make changes from dx8-> dx9 ( the books are quite old that i got) i would know there are in the right place and order.

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Personally, I've bought and read tons of programming books and of course visited tons of websites forums with game tutorials, etc. and I've found in general books to do a better job of showing how to complete a substantial full game from start to finish. Any book showing how to create your own game engine is going to involve quite a bit of work! I'm not saying there aren't any websites that do this but if they do they probably charge money because it takes a substantial amount of time to document and write about all the work it takes to finish a complete game from start to finish as several game programming books I own do. For example:

Professional XNA Programming: Building Games for Xbox 360 and Windows with XNA Game Studio 2.0

Game Coding Complete, Fourth Edition

etc

Downside to books is that they get out of date faster so if the book author doesn't update the code you are out of luck whereas online websites usually have more up-to-date code.

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