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Developing Games in Java [Paperback]

David Brackeen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 78.99
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Book Description

Aug. 21 2003 New Riders Games

If you already have Java programming experience and are looking to program games, this book is for you. David Brackeen, along with co-authors Bret Barker and Lawrence Vanhelsuwe, show you how to make fast, full-screen action games such as side scrollers and 3D shooters. Key features covered in this book include Java 2 game programming techniques, including latest 2D graphics and sound technologies, 3D graphics and scene management, path-finding and artificial intelligence, collision detection, game scripting using BeanShell, and multi-player game engine creation.


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About the Author

David Brackeen grew up in Texas and has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of North Texas. He has created many games, level editors, and multimedia products in Java, including Scared (a 3D shooter game) and Race3d (a 3D racing engine used in several games). He will neither confirm nor deny allegations that he ever drank rainwater from a shoe. He currently resides in Los Angeles, but you can find him at www.brackeen.com.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close to 4 stars... April 7 2004
Format:Paperback
I have to admit that this book is a very good java game programming book. Probably the best book on the matter out there, perhaps until the new crop of 2004 java game programming books start showing up on the bookshelves. I was able to take the source code provided and get "most" of the projects running smoothly. Most importantly, the side scroller example worked great. Basically, the book does a great job of providing almost everything you'll need to know about getting a fullscreen java game running on your system. I have to agree with most things everyone has said about the book in their reviews. However, that doesn't mean the book warrants 5 stars...
What I don't like about the book is the pages and pages and pages of code plastered in the book. I simply cannot give a book a high rating when so much of the book contains cut-and-paste code. If you want to learn game programming, you should be sitting in front of you computer with code on your screen. I'm fine with some code snippets here and there, but when you're provided with a great downloadable source (which the book has), you don't need the overkill in the text. The book would be much more conducive to focusing on game framework explanations if you weren't flipping through pages of code but rather referencing the book and looking at your screen.
Just my two cents on programming books. Otherwise, the book does contain very good content that all java game programmers will want to know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs more in-depth discussion of the topics April 8 2004
By andrew
Format:Paperback
I agree with a previous reviewer about this book. It is a great book, covering a gamut of topics on developing games. The problem is what the other reviewer mentioned: the huge amount of code. It seems that the author is simply handing you his development toolkit to use rather than helping you develop your own.
Also, given that there is so much code and as the length of the classes gets longer, UML diagrams or some sort of visual representation of the interaction of the classes would make things much MUCH clearer. I've had to constantly refer back to such-and-such a class described pages before simply to grasp some trivial portion of a new class the author introduces.
The book is geared towards those that have worked with java before. This doesn't necessarily mean that the reader would have dealt very much (if at all) with graphics, animation, etc. As such, it would have been much better if the topics were delved into more thoroughly, referring to the code. As it is, the code itself is used to explain much of what is being discussed leaving the tedious reverse-engineering to the reader.
I've focused on the negative, but despite all this the book is still really very good. However, someone deciding to pick it up should come with a grounded understanding of java as well as a lot of patience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Getting a start in (Java) Game Development Jan. 4 2004
Format:Paperback
I'm a Java lover (even if I've been forced into C# lately :-( ) so to hone my skills, I've decided to write a small game in the language. I went to the book store and found this book...
It assumes that you have a basic knowledge of Java and the Games are programmed in Swing, however the concepts can be reused in other environments (I'm giving Swt a try in favor of Swing).
Currently I've read the first section "Java Game Fundamentals", which gives you everything to create a basic 2D tiled game with sound and networking support, and section three, "Tuning and Finishing Your Game". I've skipped the second section "3D Graphics and Advanced Techniques", because I want to finish my 2D Game first (a PacMan) before moving to 3D.
So far, the book has been helpfull to me to either confirm some concepts I've found by myself or to introduce me to concepts I didn't know before. The text is most of the time interesting/entertaining and the code examples are clear enough to make their point.
However, this book must be seen as a introduction to the topic of game development, you'll need to browse other sources of information (e.g. gamedev.net, ...) to fill in the blanks and do some thinking for yourself to get a finished and fun to play game.
Also, this book is more of a programming book, with the topics of game design and art work are slightly covered but needing above-mentionned additional input.
All in all, I like this book.
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By gerryg
Format:Paperback
I've reviewed a few other Java game programming books and they're pretty much all stinkers. This one is head and shoulders and feet above the others. And it assumes you know at least some Java and don't have to be hand-held through a dozen chapters of the language basics before they think you're competent enough to get a peek at writing a lame card game or bouncing-ball applet like the other books do. I've only spent a day with this book and have not attempted to compile any code, so keep that in mind while reading the rest of this review. Speaking of code, this is not a code-listing book. It definitely has code in it and dissects it, but the ratio of text to code is very appropriate.
Right off the bat in chapter 1 David starts with a chapter on Threads! Then he moves on to several chapters of 2D graphics and animation and builds a complete 2D scroller in chapter 5! You're probably liking what you're hearing so far if you've read any of the other java game programming books. The next several chapters spend some time on understanding and then programming 3D graphics (great chapters, BTW), then moves on to collision detection, AI and pathfinding, game scripting (using BeanShell - excellent choice), optimization, and more. Somewhere in there is a chapter on multiplayer networking.
All chapters build on the previous ones. The examples all seem worthwhile and demonstrate the concepts and techniques. This is real meat & potatoes game programming, and as the author points out, just happens to be implemented in Java. It looks to me like this guy really knows Java well (I'm a professional Java/J2EE programmer) and points out everything you need to know about using it to implement the game programming concepts.
A few minor nits and notes.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Reilly should hire this guy for big $$$
This guy is a true Game Programmer Guru. He is also very clear with his words and code. I don't think there is any other Java Game Programming book that comes even close to this... Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by NIO
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I have read countless books on games and Java and all those pale in comparision to this book. It teaches one thing: how to make games in Java. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2004 by O. Christensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Help please
This is a great book. Only thing that confuses me is the whole Ant thing. Can someone who bought this book help me? Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2004 by MC117
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely a perfect intro to game dev for Java Developers
I have been working w/ Java for the past 4 years in the corporate environment, but have always had a passion for games. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004 by John Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
I've been developing in java for about seven years now. This book is awsome!! It's well written and waisted no time getting into the stuff I needed help with. Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2003 by "tksinnott"
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work/book...
All the other books on this topic are just crap. Brackeen is
way ahead of anyone else. The chapters on 3D programming might
be a bit too short, though. Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Simple, Straightforward Explanations
I have been teaching Java to gifted adolescents for years and have developed my own method for teaching Java geared to video game development. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2003 by jam jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously, buy this book
If you know java and are interested in game programming, buy this book. It is so great. It is instant game programming gratification. Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for learning game programming w/Java
I have practically every book on learning game programming with the java language and this is the first one that doesn't start out with half the book being a java tutorial. Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2003 by Jeffrey S Cooper
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