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Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame: From Novice to Professional [Paperback]

Will McGugan

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Book Description

Oct. 19 2007 1590598725 978-1590598726 1

Like music and movies, video games are rapidly becoming an integral part of our lives. Over the years, you’ve yearned for every new gaming console, mastered each blockbuster within weeks after its release, and have even won a local gaming competition or two. But lately you’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about a game idea of your own, or are exploring the possibility of making a career of this vibrant and growing industry. But where should you begin?

Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame is written with the budding game developer in mind, introducing games development through the Python programming language and the popular Pygame games development library. Authored by industry veteran and Python expert Will McGugan, who most recently worked on the MotorStorm game for Play Station 3, you’ll be privy to insights that will not only help you to exploit PyGame to its maximum potential, but also make you a more creative and knowledgeable games developer all round.

  • Learn how to create advanced games by taking advantage of the popular open source Python programming language and Pygame games development library.
  • Learn about coding gaming preferences, sound, visual effects, and joystick/keyboard interaction.
  • Discover the concepts that are crucial to success in todays gaming industry, such as support for multiple platforms, and granting users the ability to extend and customize your games.

What you’ll learn

  • Take advantage of Python and the Pygame library to build compelling cross-platform games.
  • Learn to best use these technologies to turn your dream game into reality.
  • Create professional games by accounting for sound, special effects, and user interaction through the joystick and keyboard.
  • Build both two- and three-dimensional games, and learn more about the factors that contribute to choosing one approach over the other.
  • Provide users with the means for extending your games through level creation and custom modifications as a means to build a vibrant community around your product.
  • Package your games in a manner that allows even novice computer users to install, use, and update your games with ease.

Who is this book for?

This book has been written for any budding games developer. While knowledge of the Python language helps, it isn’t required. To help new programmers along, two early chapters are devoted to an overview of Python.

About the Apress Beginning Series

The Beginning series from Apress is the right choice to get the information you need to land that crucial entry-level job. These books will teach you a standard and important technology from the ground up because they are explicitly designed to take you from “novice to professional.” You’ll start your journey by seeing what you need to know, but without needless theory and filler. You’ll build your skill set by learning how to put together real-world projects step by step. So whether your goal is your next career challenge or a new learning opportunity, the Beginning series from Apress will take you there. It is your trusted guide through unfamiliar territory!


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Product Description

About the Author

Will McGugan is a software developer currently living and working in North West England. He has worked in video games and computer graphics since the early days of 3D and has created several shareware games in his spare time. Currently Will works for Evolution Studios, one of the world’s leading games development studios. He also has extensive experience in application development, having worked in the field of user interface creation and video conferencing. His current interests include application and web development in Python. Outside of work Will enjoys juggling and cycling, although not at the same time. For more information on Will’s current work and various musings, visit his blog at www.willmcgugan.com.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction, but still a little lacking in some places Nov. 18 2007
By John Salerno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from buying this book if you are interested in game programming with Python. Other than it being (I think) the only book out there on this topic, it's a pretty good and well-written book that will introduce you to a lot of material.

However, I do agree with some of the complaints from Craig Obrien's review. You can't run many of the sample programs without the author's gameobjects library. A couple of things this library does involves vectors and matrices, but I'm not sure why we weren't told about something like NumPy, which, while more complicated, allows advanced math computations like this. In other words, something that is not only pre-existing, but a standard in the Python world.

There is also at least one program later in the book that requires the win32gui and win32con modules to run, but this is not mentioned in the book, so unless you open up the code and investigate why the program won't run, you'll never know. What's even more perplexing is that the downloadable code sample that requires these extra modules is not the same code that is printed in the book, which *doesn't* require the modules. So there's misleading code in the book, and then code available to download that won't run.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was how in-depth it got concerning vectors. I love to know exactly how things are working, and it helped to read about all this. Ironically, when the discussion of matrices began in the section on 3D gaming, the author seemed to take the exact opposite approach. Instead of giving us a decent analysis of matrices and how they work, he more or less glosses over them and basically says "Don't worry, just use the gameobjects module." This I don't like, because I hate writing code that I don't understand, even if it ends up working fine. I re-read this section and still didn't understand the difference between "transformation" and "translation". I feel much of this topic wasn't given its due, and considering that 3D game programming is what many of us want to do, it's pretty important we learn this stuff, no matter how dry it might be at first. Simply having a bunch of functions and code thrown at you with the attitude of "Ignore all this, we just need it in there so the game works" is certainly no way to learn. In other words, the difficulty level of the material sky-rocketed in a hurry, and I felt left behind by most of the explanations in the second half of the book, particularly beginning with 3D gaming.

Concerning, the other reviewer's criticism of the first two chapters, I do agree with him to some extent. Personally, I've been away from Python for a while and those chapters *did* serve as a refresher, but overall I feel the space could have been better used to expand on the other topics, at the very least. Let's face it, no one is going to learn Python from those two chapters, and if you need to be refreshed, use the books you learned it from to begin with.

All in all, though, it's a worthwhile book to read. You will learn a lot of details about the making of games. It's just that there came a point where I felt like I lost my handle on the material. Part of that could be my own fault, but I enjoy math so it isn't simply that I lost interest, it's just that I feel like the more advanced topics were glossed over more than the topics earlier in the book.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprised by what is covered Dec 21 2007
By Paris Treantafeles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There aren't many books on this subject so I was very happy when I found out that this book was in the works. I have a growing number of books published by Apress on my shelf and the author regularly posted to the Pygame mail list while working on this book.

For the most part, Pygame a Python wrapper for SDL which is a great opensource media library. Most of my experience with SDL has been using it with C/C++ on GNU/Linux but Pygame is of interest for other reasons. For one, since it is a cross platform scripting language, set up and development time is cut down. Secondly, but related, is that as part of an educational program in NYC, I teach teachers and students various topics in multimedia and would like to move into gaming. In my opinion Pygame is perfect for that because it is powerful, fairly simple to learn and since it is cross-platform they will be able to run their programs on whatever platform they use at home.

Like a previous reviewer said, I would not discourage anyone from purchasing this book.The book did, however, surprise me a bit in the choice of topics to cover in depth. I can imagine that as an author this is always a hard decision to make if you want to keep the book at a reasonable size.

As some people have pointed out, the biggest surprise is that you don't actually work through creating a game (outside of a very simple text based game early on). So the editorial review above (bullet point two) should be changed.

Personally, I'm not sure that this bothers so much since
a. it would have lengthed the book and in many cases I don't feel that I learn that much from a lengthy example - it would really depend on how it is presented. A short 2D game with full code and documentation would have been nice.
b. there are many full games with source code that you can download from the web and study.

Still for those that are expecting full games or having each chapter introduce you to something that you add to a game that you develop while working through the book, this may be a deal breaker.

On the other hand the writing is good, it's a fairly easy read, the principals apply to any game programming environment and there are several good surprises:

1. Contrary to how some other reviewers feel, I think that the first two chapters introducing Python are great and not too long. In fact, they could likely be the best Python introduction that I've read. The author even does a quick coverage of object-oriented programming that is presented in a very practical manner.

2. Vectors and the Game Objects Class
As mentioned by others the author uses a library that you can download to handle vector calculations. Personally - I don't see this as a problem because prior to that he gives all the necessary info to build your own vector library. Further, if I am teaching game programming to students in a limited amount of time I might prefer to use a library like this knowing that if they are going to become serious game programmers they will at some point want to do all the math themselves.

3. The chapter on AI was a pleasant surprise and is very good reading.

4. 3D and PyOpenGL
I wasn't expecting so much on this but enjoyed it since all of my prior Pygame experience was in 2D.

In conclusion, if you have a chance, take a look at the book before purchasing and make your own decision - there is a sample chapter online too.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Introduction to Python and the Pygame library. Nov. 14 2007
By W. Pullan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I had dabbled in Python before purchasing this book so I wasn't a complete novice, but it seemed to hit the spot in terms of easing the reader into python programming and the pygame library. It's very well written, the examples are interesting and by the end of the book I was able to put together a simple 3D shooting game pretty quickly on my own. Excellent stuff!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's pretty good. April 13 2008
By Brad K. Montgomery - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Here's my Pro/Con Opinions about this book:
Pros:
- Very easy to read.
- Great examples that actually work
- Chapters 1 & 2 give a great intro to python, so this would actually be a good book if you've never touched python before (but did have some programming experience)
- Lots of info using pygame+opengl
- A lot of examples use his gameobjects library, so a lot of the grunt-work coding is available to use already.

Cons:
- My biggest complaint is the lack of discussion on Sprites. Pygame is really a 2D library, and I think he left out a lot of very important information by not discussing how the Sprite class can be used.
- Only cursory discussion Sound. If you're writing a game and just want the basic sound effects and/or background music, this is ok. However, if you want to do something really interesting with sound, you'll need to dig way beyond what this book offers.

Overall, I think the book is worth getting unless you've already done
a few significant projects using pygame. It's definately an Intro
book, and it does a really good job giving the user an idea how to put
a project together.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Aug. 2 2013
By sandarva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i gave this 5 star cause it reached what i was expecting and i got the deliver on time like was said on tracker.And i would recommended this to other people too. Excellent product .

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