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Beginning C++ Through Game Programming, Second Edition [Paperback]

Michael Dawson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 31.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Dec 7 2006
What is it that sets games apart from other forms of entertainment, keeping players coming back for more? Interactivity. The ability to control the outcome. Programming is an integral part of that interactivity, and C++ is a vital skill in programming for games. Beginning C++ through Game Programming, Second Edition will provide you with the core skills you need to begin programming with C++ specifically as it relates to games. You'll reinforce each new skill by creating small games along the way, and you'll put these skills to the test with one ambitious game project at the end. By the time you finish, you'll have a solid foundation in the programming language of the professionals!

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About the Author

Michael Dawson has worked as both a programmer and a computer game designer and producer. In addition to real-world game industry experience, Dawson earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. He currently teaches game programming and design to students of all ages through UCLA Extension courses and private lessons. Visit his Web site at www.programgames.com to learn more or to get support for any of his books.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A C++ Tutorial and Little Else June 23 2009
This is a decent book... as an intro to C++. Mind you, if I didn't already have a computer science degree, I might have had some problems with a few parts. For someone who had never written a "Hello World" program before, s/he may take some time to get used to the terminology.

Although the author claims to have written this book from a game programmer's perspective, and you do get to work through a few primitive games, you couldn't find work writing games for mobile phones after working through it. There is just so much more to game programming than what's covered here. So, the author leaves readers asking the all-important question: Where do we go from here?

BTW, for your sake, I hope this is just a strange coincidence, but my laptop suffered a hardware crash a day after I installed the software that came with the book. I then installed it on my desktop, which suffered its own crash a couple of days later, forcing me to reinstall the OS.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fun way to learn C++ May 13 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent way to learn C++. If you love games as I do, and especially if you want make your own games, as I love to do, than this is the book for you. It does as it states, it teaches you C++ programming, using game programming in it's examples. C++ classes can be confusing for the newcomer, but you'll find yourself understanding them much easier with this.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good if you don't want to use visuals studio. June 17 2008
It is a good book, even if a bit confusing. the book acts as though you are knowledgable in another programing language. it is also hard to use with microsoft visuals studio 2008. it comes with a decent C++ compiler which the book is suited for. don't buy if you plan on using Visuals studio. other than needing to read each page twice to understand it, it is a great book for n00bs who want to program games.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! Feb. 11 2007
By Louis Ingenthron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read C++ for dummies and this book was actually easier to read than that. Not only was the language that much clearer but it covered nearly every aspect of C++ console programming. But therein lies the one flaw. It is called C++ Through Game Programming, but the closest you can get to a game right from this book is a text-based adventure. It may seem a little misleading, but nowhere on or in the book does it mention visual/graphical work or tutorials. Great book for the basics though!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly a beginner's book: Jan. 7 2010
By John Knepper - Published on Amazon.com
I've been programming in perl for years, but I was ready to move on to bigger and better things. Wanting to learn C++, I was in search of a 'good' programming book, whether it go to an intermediate level or just the basic fundamentals, that a person looking into learning C++ would want. What more could stick out than a programming book that not only teaches you the C++ language, but the basic tenants of game programming? Here's the 'deal'. As a person with a lot of prior programming experience, I can say this book is huge when it comes to teaching you the basic fundamentals, and I mean for you to take the word basic to its very most possible meaning. This book is a bit more on the 'technical' side, and should probably be for a person who is fairly new to programming, can't stand scanning through long code excerpts, or wants to connect the dots; if they had thrown themselves into the realm of programming in the past without taking the time to acquaint themselves with the foundations.

The first eight chapters are almost beautiful. I really enjoyed going through those simple things that you haven't seen since your first introductory programming class in college. When you get to chapters nine and ten, the book gets a little rough. It does a good job of explaining the topics of chapter nine, like dynamic memory allocation, memory leaks, etc, but it's not as thorough, so I could see that a 'true' beginner could possibly get lost. The chapter 'does' explain everything, but you have to be more careful and pay much closer attention to the words you're reading or you might be left asking 'why' in the heck some things are the way they are.

One thing this book lacks is a good, solid introduction to the C++ language. It could get a bit more into the technical details of really learning the fundamentals to ensuring a 'nice' C++ programming environment other than tossing you at Dev-C++. In the past, I used the Eclipse IDE a lot with Java. I tried to use that for this book, at first, but found it rather difficult to set up, so I gave up and used the default IDE the book recommends; Dev-C++. I had code completion turned on, and I can say the code completion is rather sad in comparison with Eclipse. There are definitely some 'fine' details this IDE could work out to become just a bit more user friendly.

The book doesn't give you a good conclusion. I enjoy a technical book that points the reader to more resources or a 'direction' to go in. This book drops off a cliff at chapter ten and leaves you wondering where to go next? It'd be nice to get some perspective, honest perspective, and be 'informed' of a good book to pick up afterwards. I'm sure leaving the conclusion out of the book was the intent of the author and publisher, but it's always a nice thing to have.

I do recommend this book to a beginner as well as anyone that might have unfairly been thrown into a 'lower' level, low and high in C++'s regard, language like Java or C++ and wants to smooth out the wrinkles they might have with some of the basic fundamentals; myself included in some instances. If you wanted, you could probably run front to back in a day or two, but you won't learn anything that way, especially since the book slowly increases the learning curve as the chapters go on; very slowly. Nonetheless, I recommend you type out the examples by hand, instead of downloading them from disc, and try some of the exercises if time can't afford you to do all of them. If you do that, you'll surely be 'ahead' of those who might have breezed on through when it comes to the sponge factor. Spending extra time on chapters nine and ten would also do you a lot of good(!). Oh, yeah, and the book does a good job of bringing you into the wonderful realm of Object Oriented programming (OOP), but you might have to go 'research' some things like operator overloading, which will probably leave you a little dazed. Underline and italicize that last statement. For a person with a lot of perl experience, this book actually made me appreciate perl so much more, and increase my desire to really pick up a lot more C++ as well.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Foothold March 29 2009
By John Gall - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book 3 1/2 weeks ago and just finished going through all of the material in it. As a newcomer to C++ with only a light background in BASIC, I picked up on what the author was trying to convey almost instantly. This is my second C++ book, and I can say that unlike my other book, the material contained within isn't dry and keeps you interested. While many of the examples don't actually have you program anything that is close to a game, they use terminology familiar to gamers that helps you put 2 and 2 together and imagine what other creative uses you could use the code provided for.

A word of warning however, if you read it too quickly, you may find yourself lost. Some chapters go from unbelievably easy to fairly difficult very quickly, and make some of the concepts difficult to understand if you don't grasp it the first time since the material just builds upon itself. One notorious problem in the book is Chapter 9's Exercise 1. There are many people on several different programming forums asking for help with this particular problem since the solution isn't obvious and may leave one feeling as though they're stuck in a trial and error type situation. This could be easily remedied in a classroom type setting where the professor can give feedback, but for self-study, this pitfall may cost you many hours. It is for those reasons alone that this book receives 4 stars.

Over all, this book is a good buy for the beginning programmer aiming to make it in the gaming industry and is leaps and bounds better than many other books on the subject. I would highly recommend this book to any one looking to learn C++ for the first time.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Book--Uses What You Learn Right Away April 30 2009
By Homeschool mom - Published on Amazon.com
I have been very pleasantly surprised by the effect this book has had on my son. He is very interested in programming, and has already worked himself through half of the book. This is not normal behavior for my son, who doesn't like to read that much. The reason it is such a successful book is that it is PRACTICAL. At the end of every chapter, there is a game to build which uses the concepts that were just taught. This allows my son to really feel as if he is getting somewhere and not just reading about the topic. Great Book!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent learning material Feb. 24 2010
By Jeremy Raven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a great choice for me to purchase this book and I have to thank all the positive reviews on Amazon for it. Some people were apparently confused by the title on the first edition and so it was altered on the second. This book is for people who want to learn C++ as opposed to people wanting to learn game programming. This is the perfect choice for absolute beginners. The author explains things really well and assumes you know very little about programming. His writing style is concise yet light and quite methodical, starting off with basic programming structures and building his way up to classes. This book alone will not teach you everything you need to know but it surely was an excellent introduction for me into the world of C++ and the fact it used game creation as a vehicle, this made it even more interesting for me.
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