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Killer Game Programming in Java Paperback – May 30 2005

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"Packed with Java content, with hundreds of links to even more information. The last word in Java game programming." - Paul Hudson, Linux Format, October (Top Stuff Award)

About the Author

Andrew Davison received his Ph.D. from Imperial College in London in 1989. He was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne for six years before moving to Prince of Songkla University in Thailand in 1996. He has also taught in Bangkok, Khon Kaen, and Hanoi. His research interests include scripting languages, logic programming, visualization, and teaching methodologies. This latter topic led to an interest in teaching games programming in 1999. His O'Reilly book, "Killer Game Programming in Java", was published in 2005.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 40 reviews
67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Far better than any other book on this topic May 27 2006
By Blaine A. Simpson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is miles ahead of other Java gaming books... For one thing, this is an excellent book in its own right. For another, the other existing books on the topic suck.

Anybody who spends a lot of time writing games in Java ends up running into certain challenges. For each of these real issues, it takes a lot time to identify the issue then many hours to come up a satisfactory solution or work-around. This book saves you from 99% of that work. The author has documented nearly every complication that you will run into. The other Java gaming books explain how to apply common sense and traditional gaming strategies to the Java APIs (usually following Sun's tutorials exactly), giving step-by-step instructions on how to do so. Besides the point that this adds no value for somebody capable of following Sun's tutorials and APIs, they offer no help where you need it most... where the straight-forward approach is unsatisfactory or just doesn't work for some reason.

Another thing that has saved me a ton of frustration and time is advice from the author. For my specific game project I've run into several questions which I've been unable to answer by web searches, posting to forums, etc. I've emailed Davison (the author), and he has answered each of my questions concisely and to the point every time. (I don't want you to spam him, so please don't send questions until after you have looked for the answer in his book!).

To address concerns that other reviewers have posted:

This book is not just for "advanced" Java developers. As Davison has emailed me, the intended audience is, "someone who has just got past their first Java course". He purposefully avoids avoids all but elemental Java features (e.g., no ternaries, abstract classes, logging infrastructures, IOC).

WRT examples, you are not buying a gaming library or framework. The goal is not to give you production classes that you can use as-is in production quality products. Other reviewers are demanding production-ready examples. It is impossible to make production-ready examples that can be easily understood by first-year Java developers. If you want production-ready classes, don't look for them in a HOW-TO book, find them elsewhere or read this book and then write them yourself.
84 of 89 people found the following review helpful
Great for Java game programming and much more Dec 4 2005
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most interesting books I have read on the subject of game programming in Java. In addition, it is a great tutorial on how to use Java to accomplish a number of multimedia programming objectives independent of game programming. Since there is no table of contents shown, I will summarize the book's contents in the context of the table of contents:
1. Why Java for Games Programming? - Many discussions are revisited about why Java is not a bad choice for game programming- speed, memory leaks, etc.
2. An Animation Framework - The animation algorithm developed through most of this chapter is embedded in a JPanel subclass (called GamePanel), which acts as a canvas for drawing 2D graphics. The animation is managed by a thread which ensures that it progresses at a consistent number of frames per second.
3. Worms in Windows and Applets - The threaded animation loop of chapter 1 is tested inside a windowed application and an applet. The programs are all variants of the same WormChase game.
4. Full-Screen Worms - Three approaches to full-screen games are investigated.
5. An Introduction to Java Imaging - The aging AWT imaging model is discussed, followed by the BufferedImage and VolatileImage classes, ImageIO, and the wide range of BufferedImageOp image operations offered by Java 2D.
6. Image Loading, Visual Effects, and Animation - This chapter examines how to efficiently load and display images, apply visual effects such as blurring, fading, and rotation, and animate them.
7. Introducing Java Sound - The Sound API is compared to the Java Media Framework (JMF), and the recently introduced JOAL, a Java binding to OpenGL's music API.
8. Loading and Playing Sounds - Discusses a single application, LoadersTests, which demonstrates "ClipsLoader" & "MidisLoader" classes for the control of clips and sequences.
9. Audio Effects - Different ways of applying effects to audio, which is key to the advantage of the Sound API- access to audio files to the bit level.
10. Audio Synthesis - How to create tone sequences for sampled audio and how to create MIDI sequences at runtime.
11. Sprites - A game's active entities are often encoded as sprites. A sprite is a moving graphical object.The Sprite class developed in this chapter builds on the animation framework and image and audio loaders developed earlier in the book.
12. A Side-Scroller - This chapter describes JumpingJack, a side scroller much like Super Mario, but considerably simpler, that illustrates tile maps, layers, parallax scrolling, and a jumping hero called 'Jack' who has to dodge exploding fireballs.
13. An Isometric Tile Game - Isometric tiles are the basis of many real-time strategy games, war games, and simulations, and Java-based "Alien Tiles" is demo'd here.
14. Introducing Java 3D - A brief introduction to the Java 3D API.
15. A 3D Checkerboard: Checkers3D - This chapter describes a Java 3D example called Checker3D that demos many Java 3D programming techniques.
16. Loading and Manipulating External Models - Many times it makes sense to create an object using 3D modeling software, and then load it into your Java 3D application at run time.
17. Using a Lathe to Make Shapes - One of the most ingenious chapters of the books shows how to create complex 3D shapes using a Java-based 3D lathe.
18. 3D Sprites - A Sprite3D class is developed.
19. Animated 3D Sprites - Poses and animation are included for the Sprite3D class of the previous chapter.
20. An Articulated, Moveable Figure - The implementation of an articulated figure is performed, composed of rotatable limbs, which can be moved around a checkboard floor in a similar manner to the 3D sprites in Chapters 18 and 19.
21. Particle Systems - Three particle systems are developed in this chapter: one where the particles are points, another using lines, and a third using quadrilaterals (quads).
22. Flocking Boids - Flocking is a computer model for the coordinated motion of groups (or flocks) of entities called boids, performed in 3D.
23. Shooting a Gun - The application in this chapter, Shooter3D, contains a gun which fires a laser beam at the point on the checkered floor clicked on by the user. The flight of the laser beam is accompanied by a suitable sound, and followed by an explosion.
24. A First-Person Shooter - Builds on the previous chapter by putting the gun in the player's hand.
25. A 3D Maze - Emphasis is on navigation through a complex scene (a 3D maze). The two main topics will be how to generate a realistic looking scene as in "Doom", and how to use multiple views to aid navigation.
26. Fractal Land - The FractalLand3D application creates a landscape using a plasma fractal to generate height values for the landscape's component quads.
27. Terrain Generation with Terragen - Landscape is designed with Terragen, then exported as a OBJ file (representing the landscape as a mesh), and as a BMP (showing the surface viewed from above). The BMP is subsequently edited and converted into a JPG.
28. Trees That Grow - Shows foliage that actually grows over time.
29. Networking Basics - runs through networking fundamentals and explains basic network programming with sockets, URLs, and servlets.
30. Network Chat - about online chat, the "hello world" of network programming. There are three chat variants: one using a client/server model, one employing multicasting, and chatting with servlets.
31. A Networked Two-Person Game - Pulls everything together to build a simple networked 2-player game.
32. A Networked Virtual Environment - NetTour3D is a very simple networked virtual environment which allows sprites representing users (clients) on different machines to move about in a shared world. The world is a checkboard, with simple scenery and obstacles.
A. Installation Using install4j
B. Installation Using Java Web Start
If you go to the author's website, he has additional chapters that are not in the book on J2ME, bluetooth, and mobile 3D gaming. Plus the downloadable code for the book is also there. Since Amazon usually throws out reviews with web addresses, just type "Killer Game Programming in Java" into Google and the first address you see should be the author's website.
In summary, I would highly recommend this book to any experienced Java programmer who is interested in programming games, as well as those interested in advanced Java Sound or Java 3D techniques which might be of use to any Java multimedia programmer.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Fun way to learn Java 3D June 6 2005
By Eric Wuehler - Published on
Format: Paperback
I thought the idea of "killer" game programming in java was a bit far fetched. (Note: I have very little experience with Java3D - as in, I've gone through the demos and not much else). After reading through this book, I still think "killer" game programming is a generous description. However, I did discover a pleasant side effect; it was a fun way to explore the Java3D APIs.

This book does not spend any time on introductory java nor does it build a "killer" game from start to finish as it moves through the chapters. There are snippets of source code throughout the book, but I'd suggest downloading the source. The source code was very helpful, easy to compile and run. I had no problems running the code on a Mac and Java 1.4.2.

The text is very academic and thorough in its descriptions. While the title might suggest "game programming" as the primary focus of the book, I think this is almost a secondary issue. The real thrust (or at least what I got out of it) is a fun way to learn the techniques to 2D and 3D graphics programming, dealing with lighting, perspective, and movement using the Java Sound, Java 2D and Java 3D APIs.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
one of the best Aug. 2 2005
By David Wallace Croft - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have all of the Java game programming books published since 1996 and this book ranks in the top three. There are no gaps in the coverage of the subject and the author has clearly done his research. While I might do some things differently here and there, overall this book is clearly one of the best. I highly recommend. -- David Wallace Croft, Founder of and Author of "Advanced Java Game Programming"
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Bad name, great book on the fundamentals June 23 2005
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on
Format: Paperback
I wish I could have waved O'Reilly off this name. It reminds me of the bad old days of the "Secrets of the Game Programming Mega-Gurus". Happily this is where the similarity ends. This book is far better than any of the old books that essentially covered graphics primitives and left it at that. This book goes in depth on 2D and 3D graphics and covers specifically how these interfaces are used in a game setting with real examples. Simple example games are provided and their implementation is well documented. Even network programming was discussed.

I'm pleased with this book, and the other recent gaming titles I have seen. Finally tech books that treat game programming with respect.