on March 20, 2003
Each chapter has one main project highlighting the main ideas of that chapter. They briefly present each at the beginning of each chapter, then teach you the different elements involved in that main project, within mini-projects. By the time you get to the end of the chapter, you already have an idea (or know exactly) how to put together the different individual elements to form that main project they showed you at the beginning of the chapter. The projects are fun, and they teach you new elements while building on things you learned from previous chapters.
This book reminds me a little of a textbook, in that there are exercises at the end of each chapter for you to do. This is helpful as practice, but what I dislike about it is that if for some reason you get stuck and cannot figure out how to do one of the exercises, neither the book nor the included CD-ROM provides you with explanations or answers for the exercises. Sometimes an exercise builds upon a previous exercise as well, which complicates it. For example, exercise #1 asks you to do something. Then exercise #2 may ask you to change the code you came up with for exercise #1, so that the code will do something slightly different. The problem is if you get stuck on exercise #1, you're at a dead end, unless the proverbial lightbulb suddenly goes off over your head.
The reason I like this book is that for the mini-projects, he shows you the code and the visual effects of the code first, and explains it afterwards. It may seem like a very trivial thing, but for some reason I don't catch on when I use the books that explain things first and then present the code.
on October 16, 2001
The CD for this book contains all the sample code from the book as well as a number of other games including BioBattleship, DropZone, Clix, IceBlocks, and more. There are also a number of examples on the CD that use a game library that is available online.
There is one thing I did not manage to figure out regarding this book. The cover has a very cool looking 3D Tetris block. This same graphic is animated on the CD. Additionally, Tetris blocks are used as design elements throughout the book. I never found a Tetris game in the book or on the CD. One of my pet pieves is when a cover on a book indicates something is in the book that isn't. If you find the Tetris game in the book or on the CD, let me know. Even if it isn't there, the book is still worth the cost.
on September 1, 2002
I didn't actually buy this book, but did a little browsing through it at the bookstore, and I can say that it is a good book for the absolute beginner. It's clearly written in a style that is fun and easy to read and NOT confusing. The examples keep you focused on learning the material - it's like swimming at the beach - you get exercise and enjoy yourself at the same time. You could have virtually no programming experience and do okay with this book (provided you have a basic familiarity with HTML).
on October 5, 2001
each chapter is centered around a specific goal; each has its own game to program. at the end of the chapter, you will have all the tools needed to program the game described at the beginning. you are motivated to actually learn the material, because it is presented in such a unique way.
there are so many examples in each chapter, complete with pictures of how things are supposed to look, and common and uncommon traps to look out for. also included, real world applications for just about every concept presented.
this book is fantastic. perfect for the absolute beginner and a great resource for anyone.
on December 5, 2003