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  Java Gamebook recommendation  (Read 2786 times)
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Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Posted 2004-09-08 19:28:42 »

Has anyone read Brackeens recent Java Game book?  What about this one -
Practical Java Game Programming (Game Development Series) by Dustin Clingman, Shawn Kendall, Syrus Mesdaghi

Any comparisons?

What about -

Java 2 Game Programming by Thomas Petchel

Regards,
Dr. A>
Offline nonnus29

Senior Devvie




Giving Java a second chance after ludumdare fiasco


« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-09-08 23:52:14 »

I haven't read either one of those but I did really like 'the black art of java game programming' which alot of other people hated.

Search these forums, this topic comes up frequently.
Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-09-10 18:54:33 »

I thought you all would like to know Alien Flux by Puppy Games was mentioned in the new book -

Practical Java Game Programming

You can download a sample chapter which shows Alien Flux.  I opted to go ahead and get the book because of it!

http://www.charlesriver.com/books/javagameC.pdf

Regards,
Dr. A>
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Offline kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 212
Projects: 24
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-09-10 20:39:13 »

I have to say reading through that chapter makes me think the author really didn't actually want to write a book about game programming or even Java.

- Pro: Java can do some great graphics - actually this is true if you an external JNI based API

- Con: There is no high res timer - hold on a sec, if you're going to do great graphics with an external API you're going to be able to get yourself a highres timer at the same time.

---

The future : generics, autoboxing, enhanced for loop.. absolutely right but hardly what you'd call game related.

What an odd chapter to be distributed, I hope the rest of the book is better.


Kev

Offline Orangy Tang

JGO Kernel


Medals: 56
Projects: 11


Monkey for a head


« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-09-10 20:48:48 »

I was particularly impressed by the picture of an F1 game with the caption "Java Gran Prix".

Personally I think we need more octogenarians driving F1 cars at high speeds. Shocked

[ TriangularPixels.com - Play Growth Spurt, Rescue Squad and Snowman Village ] [ Rebirth - game resource library ]
Offline Giddy

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-09-11 07:31:12 »

Quote

- Pro: Java can do some great graphics - actually this is true if you an external JNI based API

- Con: There is no high res timer - hold on a sec, if you're going to do great graphics with an external API you're going to be able to get yourself a highres timer at the same time.


In later chapters the author does show you how to use an external timer through JNI and it has chapters on JOGL and JOAL
Offline kevglass

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 212
Projects: 24
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-09-11 10:25:41 »

Yes, but the point is that the author shows a pro as Java can give you commerical grade graphics (however, it'll have to go through JNI to do this) and then goes on to give a con that you have no hi res timer.

Its simply inconsistent in style and target.

Kev

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-09-11 15:29:08 »

I looked over the table of contents and liked how it had coverage of jogl and jni.  Brackeen's book didn't cover these in as much detail as I would have liked.

I'll post back after I read the book at how useful it was.

Regards,
Dr. A>
Offline ozak

Junior Devvie




Java demon has no respect for bad code!!!


« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-09-11 17:06:39 »

Brackeen's book is extremely good. Very thorough explanations of 2D animations, timing, side scrolling games, audio, input etc.
Interestingly enough the second half of the book is about writing a software 3D render with 2D BSP trees, scripts, AI and more.
Very interesting. Anyone can get JOGL up and running, but writing a software render is a lot harder.
And the 2D BSP stuff + AI etc. is applicable for a hardware render as well.
All in all a great book that covers a wide range of topics, without leaving the good parts out (Andre *cough* LaMothe).
Good chapter on Webstart, optimizations, making art, distributing your game, dealing with player comments etc.

Many thumbs up!

And I did work for many years as a professionel game developer so I can tell that this stuff is great Smiley

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It's scriptable through JavaScript!
Check it out at http://www.furi.dk/socky
Offline Eliwood

Junior Devvie




Stencyl


« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-09-18 20:52:26 »

Quote
I looked over the table of contents and liked how it had coverage of jogl and jni.  Brackeen's book didn't cover these in as much detail as I would have liked.

I'll post back after I read the book at how useful it was.

Regards,
Dr. A>


You missed the point of Brackeen's book. His book is completely software based and actually tells you about the major components to making a game in Java. He goes over full threads, screen setup, animation, sound, AI, pathfinding and more. He may not have covered JOGL or any of that, but IMO, that would really have been useless. There's nothing really to learn in explaining how to use a library. What is impressive and more important is that you understand how the libraries actually work. Once you know the fundementals of computer graphics, you can learn ANY graphics library in a snap.

You buy a book because it explains concepts, and is NOT a reference to something. Brackeen's book, although a bit brief for the $50 price tag, is the best Java Game dev book to date because it's the first and only book to show you how to make decent quality games in Java.

I understand that there is this other book by Croft (correct me on this). I haven't been able to evaluate his book yet so count that out if you decide to prod my statement on Brackeen's book being the best.

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Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #10 - Posted 2004-09-27 16:55:03 »

Well here's an update now that I have the book (Practical Java Game Programming).

In a nutshell -

Its crap.

In a bigger nutshell -

It sucks and its crap.


A little more detail -

- Fraught with errors both in the language and code samples.

- The CDROM doesn't contain all the source code (Chapter 4 is missing)

- The code doesn't contain ANT scripts / Eclipse files / or any other easy to use compiling.  You can't just pop in the CD, type a line or two and have things ready to run.  Some things are precompiled for you, but they don't always run.

- The sample code doesn't follow the Java coding convention or any other one that I can see.  Within the same class file you see this type of thing -

1  
2  
3  
4  
5  
6  
7  
8  
9  
10  
11  
12  
void myMethod()
{
     // Some code

// Code over here
                // Now code here
}

void yourMethod() {
   // Junk that contains $$$$ instead of <= like its supposed to

}


At least be consistent with spacing and braces within the same class file!

- The audio chapter was worthless IMO.

- The Chapter on Game Databases and JDBC was more than basic, though more well written than the others, given someone from Sun did it.

- You never really get a good sense of structure when going through the book.  It feels like snippets pasted in all over the place.

- The networking chapter (ch 7) was annoying because at the top of every source file is the huge Sun disclaimer.  The chapter is well written compared to others, but it was extrememly distracting to wade through a 1/2 page disclaimer every few pages.  The other disappointment was that in the first few paragraphs of the chapter, the author says NIO is really complex and won't be convered.  ARGGGHHH!  Then they just cover lan and state that WAN is more difficult because of latency.  So far neither this one or Brackeen's scores any points for a good networking chapter.

I haven't finished the book yet.  Two things will improove my current review.

1. An author actually writes me back so I can discuss some of this.  I've got several emails out to the various authors and haven't heard anything.

2. The chapters on jogl need to be very good.


More to come . .

Dr. A>
Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #11 - Posted 2004-09-27 16:56:17 »

Eliwood -

Have you gotten ahold of Croft's book yet?

Regards,
Dr. A>
Offline immudium

Junior Devvie




Gorram it!


« Reply #12 - Posted 2004-09-28 16:36:58 »

DrA, I really appreciate you posting your thoughts on a couple of these Java game books.  Sometimes, as you've shown, standing in my local Barnes and Noble store reading the table of contents doesn't give a very complete preview of a given book.  Or, as in the case of Brackeen's book, the local bookstore doesn't even carry it so I have no way of knowing its worth or sometimes its existence without some outside, trusted recommendation, like from this forum for example.  Thanks again.
Offline 20thCenturyBoy

Senior Devvie


Medals: 3


So much to learn, so little time.


« Reply #13 - Posted 2004-10-01 04:46:58 »

I had a quick browse throught Practical Java Game Programming in my local store. My first thought was who is it aimed at? A chapter on JDBC for example, although useful to a few is hardly material for the majority of game programmers who just want to get decent sprites going. It seemed very waffley.





"I have never done unit testing and I don’t find it a very useful concept" - Jonathan Blow
Offline zparticle

Senior Devvie




Thick As A Brick


« Reply #14 - Posted 2004-10-01 12:43:46 »

Just a note on Practical Java Game Programming. I hope I'm not going to upset anyone but I contributed to the book (and therefore feel I have the right to comment on it) and I found it disappointing. (Chapter 3 2D Graphics Programming was my contribution)

The publisher did an absolutely horrible job, the code snippets are full of errors as well as the text. I know there were tons of other problems with the publisher as well. Some of these helped bring down the quality of the book.

I think it is safe to say that anyone that is publishing a book with their name on it wants the book to be the best that it can be. I didn't have anything to do with the rest of the book but I know the primary authors wanted a better product than what was produced.

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #15 - Posted 2004-10-01 14:53:44 »

What all did you contribute to the chapter?

Unfortunately, a majority of errors I've found is in that chapter.  They are primarily with the code though.  Things such as #### instead of the < symbol.

I did think ch3 did a fairly good job of giving an overview of getting images onto the screen.  I have other comments, but I'll reserve them for now.

Dustin Clingman wrote me back, so I will be passing on info to him as well.

Regards,
Dr. A>
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #16 - Posted 2004-10-01 15:42:07 »

Quote
Well here's an update now that I have the book (Practical Java Game Programming).

In a nutshell -

Its crap.


It doesn't sound perfect from your review, but it also doesn't sound THAT bad ?

Quote

- The networking chapter (ch 7) was annoying... in the first few paragraphs of the chapter, the author says NIO is really complex and won't be convered.  ARGGGHHH!  Then they just cover lan and state that WAN is more difficult because of latency.  So far neither this one or Brackeen's scores any points for a good networking chapter.


Wait for my book devoted to network game dev, coming out sometime next year Grin...There's so much that *has* to be said that personally I think you'll never find a general book that has anything much useful to say on the topic when it's constrained to just a chapter or two.

I still haven't signed the contract yet, but despite that it's progressing well

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #17 - Posted 2004-10-01 15:45:29 »

Quote
The publisher did an absolutely horrible job, the code snippets are full of errors as well as the text. I know there were tons of other problems with the publisher as well. Some of these helped bring down the quality of the book.


I'm really surprised by that; CRM are usually very good with their editing (I have a couple of their books).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline zparticle

Senior Devvie




Thick As A Brick


« Reply #18 - Posted 2004-10-01 15:52:32 »

Quote
What all did you contribute to the chapter?

Unfortunately, a majority of errors I've found is in that chapter.  They are primarily with the code though.  Things such as #### instead of the < symbol.


I wrote the enitre thing but Dustin cleaned it up because I tend to write in first person which is not the format they were going for (and he added a bit to make it flow into the other chapters). All of the code snippit errors and textual errors are the fault of the publisher. I have the original document and it doesn't have the errors. I assume the publisher has some automatted way to translate the original into the book form and that it has a number of bugs in it.

EDIT:

Quote

I did think ch3 did a fairly good job of giving an overview of getting images onto the screen.  I have other comments, but I'll reserve them for now.


Please don't hold back, this was my first published work and I need to know what would make it better. Dustin's edits made a huge difference as he is a far, far better writer than myself.

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #19 - Posted 2004-10-06 00:27:58 »

I'm marking all the errors I come across as I go through the chapters.  I'm most of the way through the IO chapter now.

I'll give more specific feedback here in the next few days.  I'll drop you a PM as well for anything that might be more appropriate for your eyes, instead of everyones.

My aim is to always provide feedback which is constructive, so it may take a bit to generate it.

Cheers,
Dr. A>
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