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Practical Android 4 Games Development Paperback – Dec 13 2011
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About the Author
J. F. DiMarzio is a seasoned Android developer and author. He began developing games in Basic on the TRS-80 Color Computer II in 1984. Since then, he has worked in the technology departments of companies such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the Walt Disney Company. He has been developing on the Android platform since the beta release of version .03, and he has published two professional applications and one game on the Android Marketplace. DiMarzio is also an accomplished author. Over the last 10 years, he has released eight books, including Android: A Programmer's Guide. His books have been translated into four languages and published worldwide. DiMarzio's writing style is very easy to read and understand, which makes the information in the topics that he presents more retainable.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I highly recommend you find the code, and graphic resources on the Apress.com website. The first time I noticed the author mention that resources are available on Apress was not until the last chapter of 2D development, pg 208. Luckily, a review here alerted me to the availability of the resource when I started having trouble in chapter 4.
In the first chapter the author guides us through setup. I already had the environment setup for Android application development but I was surprised the author just blew off assisting readers through the process of setting up Eclipse, and then tells them there are resources available "somewhere out there" to assist readers with downloading and installing the SDK. Later the author has a section titled "Installing OpenGL ES" but then simply talked about OpenGL ES never explaining how to install it. After attempting to figure out how to install OpenGL ES on my own (since that seemed to be the theme) I realized later that you don't need to. A better section title might have been "About OpenGL ES".
The second chapter is all about creating a splash screen. I'm not a big fan of splash screens but it was interesting learning about transitions.
The third chapter is about making the menu to start or exit. Didn't have much trouble here.
The fourth chapter gets into drawing a background in your game. And the code errors begin. On page 86 the author tells you to create a special folder called drawable-nopi, actually it should be drawable-nodpi and if you name it the way the author tells you to, the game will not compile.
Chapters 5-10 walks you through 2D game development and has some good information. Unfortunately, this was overshadowed by all the code troubleshooting I needed to do to get it working. Not being able to exit the game, because the way the author ends the music thread is deprecated so it throws an exception. Crashing when you touch the screen (OnTouchEvent threw a NullPointer error), because the way the author determined the size of the screen was deprecated. With all of the code errors, I wonder if I will need to unlearn everything this author taught to develop games the right way.
Chapters 11-12, very lightly touch on 3D game development. If your interest is in 3D development, I recommend you find another book.
If you are interested in learning "best practice" this is definitely not the book. In one chapter, the author tells you to create a "good guy" sprite sheets. In the next chapter he tells you that's wrong and describes how you really should put all sprites into one sheet. In the next chapter he has you put sprites in separate sheets because it's good experience.
I will try to avoid books from this author and publisher in the future.
The most head scratching error was literally step 1 in the beginning of the book. The point of this book is to make a game called "Starfighter". But for some ridiculous reason, the author says to create a project called "planetfighter". Huh??? You've been talking about Starfighter for the previous 20 pages and suddenly you want to call it planetfighter? And right underneath all this is a screenshot of him creating a project called "Starfighter".
It's pretty obvious this was rushed and they wanted to take advantage of people(like me) who are trying to jump on the mobile game development bandwagon. Apress needs to either hire more proofreaders or dump the ones who went over this book, if they even bothered to proofread this at all.
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