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24. November 2015

 

Over on the Construct2 blog there is this announcement of a new free e-book Level Zero about programming games from scratch using Construct2.

 

This recently published book "Level 0" is a resource designed for the absolute beginner. You'll learn how to set up characters and backgrounds, apply in-game mechanics and implement if – then functions and end up with five fully functional mini-games. The book will also show you how to publish your games to app stores and make them available to millions of potential customers around the world. The goal of Level 0 is to give aspiring game developers the basic building blocks to apply their creativity and bring their vision to life. For example, one of the mini-games you’ll learn to build is a simple sound board app where you click on an image and the corresponding sound will play. Through this exercise, not only do you pick up the skills to build a virtual keyboard or maybe an educational app that teaches kids the sounds farm animals make but also learn how to use sound, music and touch functions that can be used for subsequent arcade and action games. Each of the 5 mini-games covered in the book has already been used by thousands of Construct 2 users to build their first game on Construct 2.

This book uses Construct 2 in all the featured tutorials. According to the authors,"Construct 2 is as easy as it gets for making a game". Spot on!

C'mon, gimme the download link!

It's available on Amazon.com for a little over $3 USD, however we've managed to get permission to distribute it for free on Scirra for now!

Download for Free

(Right click and "Save Link As")

And good news, Ankur tells us that there's a second book in development detailing how to build 3 classic arcade games. Keep your eye out!

 

So head on over to the Scirra blog to download a free copy, or support the authors by purchasing it on Amazon.

GameDev News

8. September 2015

 

Over the past couple months I have been working on a series of posts covering MonoGame with the intention of compiling them into an e-book when finished.  There have been a few preview builds of the book available to Patreon supporters (thanks by the way!).  Now however I consider the series to be complete so I am making the book available to all.  I will eventually be creating a more complete and formal homepage for the title but this one should work in the meantime.

 

Truth of the matter is, I had intended to cover a great deal more on the subject, but the level of traffic simply doesn’t justify the further expenditure of time.  That said, I leave the book at a state I think it should prove useful for anyone getting started in XNA or MonoGame game development, it is as comprehensive as any beginner XNA book currently available.  The book is composed of seven chapters:

 

Chapter One

An Introduction and Brief History


Book Cover

Chapter Two

Getting Started with MonoGame on Windows


Chapter Three

Getting Started with MonoGame on MacOS


Chapter Four

Creating an Application


Chapter Five

2D Graphics


Chapter Six

Audio Programming


Chapter Seven

3D Graphics 

 

 

 

Of course, the tutorials based here on GameFromScratch are still going to be available in addition to this PDF.  There is also a complete video tutorial series to go along with each chapter in the book available here.

 

With today’s release of the book, I also have published a github repository containing all of the source code used in the book.  This is a single Visual Studio solution containing each example as a separate project.  For some reason I don’t quite understand, all of the chapters are mismatched by one.  So for example the code in Chapter 8 on Github actually corresponds with Chapter 7 in the book.  Oops.

 

Alright, enough blathering, here is the book in PDF format.  I can make it available in other e-reader formats if requested.

EDIT: Here is an untested epub version of the book.

EDIT2: Now it has been posted on Smashwords as well, which should ultimately make it available from a number of sources.

 

If you enjoyed this free e-book and would like to see more similar free books, or would like access to books in development, please consider supporting GameFromScratch on Patreon.

 

 

Cheers!

Mike

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25. August 2015

 

I’m about to date myself brutally with this post (hint… I’m old… much older than this book, which is also old ), however when I stumbled upon this book it stirred a bit of my childhood in a way that no Michael Bay butchered film can even attempt.  You see my first home computer was the Atari 800XL, a machine that still owns a solid place in my heart.

 

SONY DSC

 

Such an amazingly sexy thing, no?  Well in 1983 it certainly was.  Within minutes of bringing it home, my dad managed to erase the disks that came with it, leaving me alone with an Atari 800XL, the manual, the ROM version of BASIC ( thankfully ROM is remarkably Dad proof… ) and 6-8 weeks will waiting for media replacement from Atari.  On this day two journeys began.  My Dad’s continuing and overwhelming hatred of computers and my programming career.

 

I’ll admit however, although I managed to scrape together some simple text adventures, a dice rolling game and a few other simple examples, I was simply too young to get very far.  I was still quite young and information simply wasn’t as available as it is now.  It wasn’t really until I got a PC that I really started to learn to program properly.  Unless of course you count copying hundreds of lines of assembly from the pages of a magazine programming…

 

This is a bit of a shame too as the world of programming on 8bit machines was almost magical.  While those lines of cryptic bytes I typed back then seemed like magic, now that I’ve got a good 20 years of programming under my belt, I have an appreciation for how simple things actually were.  On top of that, expectations were so much lower, it truly was the age where a single developer in his garage could make a successful game.   Yes, you may have been working in BASIC or even Assembly, but the underlying processors were so simple compared to today, that with the right information, it really wasn’t the nightmare you expect it to be.

 

It’s funny, you hear lots of people say they want to work in C++ or C because they want to “get closer to the machine”.  Want to get closer to machine?  Travel back in time!  I actually think there is a lot of value in people messing around in these old systems.  So when I saw this book appear on Safari, I decided to give it a look.

 

Retro Game Programming:Unleashed for the Masses

 

Available on Amazon for less than $10 (starting at $2 actually).  With a 1.5/5 star review… that’s not a good start.  The book is old, the book is cheap, is it worth reading?

 

RetroGameProgrammingCover

I suppose that entirely depends.  The book is in a word, sloppy.  It covers a number of old systems including the Atari 800, C64 and TRS80.  It actually wastes a chapter on plugging these various machines in…  yeah.  This chapter alones suggests to me that the book may not have in fact had an editor.

 

But then it gets a bit more interesting, there’s a touch of history which I almost always enjoy, I’m not sure how it would go for someone without my rose coloured glasses on.  Then the book seems to flip back and forth between being a complete beginners book and… not.  We get a chapter on 6502 assembly programming… very cool.  We get some coverage of setting up the video and drawing to the screen, which are good reads.  Then a chapter on input and player AI, which frankly doesn’t have a single purpose for existing.  Followed by a chapter on audio programming.  It is then all capped off with a completely meaningless BASIC text adventure.  Had the book actually concluded on a complete Assembly project using what we’d learned so far, I think that 1.5 star rating would be a great deal higher.

 

So do I recommend this book?

 

No, not really.  However as I said earlier, I discovered it on Safari and it provided a few hours of amusement.  If you were looking for an interesting, but sloppy, look back at the way things were, it’s certainly worth the couple bucks it’s being sold for these days.  Even more so because it is now easy to get a hold of incredibly solid emulators of all the systems used in this book.  There is value in modern programmers experiencing how things used to be, and it’s amusing for the older folks among us to take a trip down memory lane.

 

You may be asking yourself…  hey did he just review a 10 year old book that he didn’t particularly like?  Why yes, yes I did.  I will say however, one of the advantages of being a book on retro game development is…  you never really become out of date, do you?

Totally Off Topic ,

24. June 2015

 

The MonoGame tutorial series has been written from day one with the intention of being compiled into book format.  As a thank you to GameFromScratch.com Patreon backers WIP copies ( as well as finishedMonogamebook books ) are available for download.

 

 

This represent the first compilation of Cross Platform Game Development with MonoGame and contains all of the tutorial series to date:

  • An Introduction and Brief History of XNA and Mo
    noGame
  • Getting Started with MonoGame on Windows
  • Getting Started with MonoGame on MacOS
  • Creating an Application
  • Textures and SpriteBatch

 

These represent early drafts, so the formatting isn’t final, there needs to be a thorough proof reading, some images need to be regenerated and of course “book” items like a proper forward, table of contents and index all need to be generated.  These tasks will all have to wait for the book to be finished.

 

The book is currently available in the following formats:

  • PDF
  • epub
  • mobi

 

The books are available for download here. (Authentication required)

 

If there is an additional format you would like to see it compiled for, please let me know.  Currently the book weights in a 77 pages.  As new tutorials are added, new compilations will be released.

, ,

14. June 2015

 

As mentioned recently, I am in the process of compiling the Godot Game Engine Tutorial Series into an e-book format.  Today I just published the 10 chapter, 150 page first draft of the Godot Engine book.

 

BookCover

It can currently be downloaded by Patreon backers right here.

 

It is currently available in the following formats:

  • PDF
  • epub
  • mobi

 

Due to the large file size (@15mb) to install on a Kindle you will need to install via side-loading, the file is beyond the limits for emailing to Kindle.

 

Right now, this is mostly just a straight compilation of content available here on GameFromScratch.com.  I will need to do an editorial pass to make sure text makes sense in book format, as well as replacing now static animated gifs with more meaningful images.  If you prefer to read offline, wish to print or want to reader on an e-reader, this book should be perfect for you.

 

If you are interested in checking it out, Chapter 8: Using Tilemaps can be downloaded here. Of course, if you’ve already read the Godot tutorial series, this is going to be incredibly familiar.

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