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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.

Programming News


10. May 2015

 

 

Just noticed this on Twitter and it proved to be an interesting read.  JetBrains, the makers of IntelliJ, CLion, ReSharper and more, havebook sponsored this free book from O’Reilly Press.  It’s a 74 page book that combines a history lesson, modern introduction and Modern C++ overview all into one.  It’s free and a good read, what’s not to like?

 

 

 

Here is the Table of Contents:

 

1. The Nature of the Beast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. The Origin Story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3. The Beast Wakes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
4. The Beast Roars Back. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
5. Digging Deep on Modern C++. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
6. The Future of C++. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

 

 

 

The book is available as a free PDF download directly at this link.  No other actions are required, simply download and read.

 

Even if you are just bored and want a bit of a history lesson and look to the future of C++, this is a good read.  Of course, if you are actually a C++ developer, it will be much more useful.

News


29. December 2014

 

Shortly before the holidays began I received a review copy of Core HTML5 2D Game Programming and amid all the holiday insanity, I’ve been slowly making my way through this title.  As with all reviews, I don’t give star ratings, I think the value of a book is determined mostly by the perspective and requirements of the reader.  OfCoreHTML5 course, some books are just simply bad.  Bad grammar, bad topic choice, bad humour.  Fortunately that is not the case here.  From a technical perspective this is a good book (with one glaring flaw).  Now the question is, is it a good book for you?

 

First let’s talk about the target audience.  This book is not aimed at complete beginners, prior experience with JavaScript and HTML5 is assumed.  Some JavaScript related topics are covered ( dealing with this, profiling/debugging in Chrome, simple inheritance, etc. ) but if you don’t already understand some JavaScript and haven’t ever touched on HTML5 or CSS work, you will be lost.  No prior game programming experience is assumed, although you may struggle a bit with some of the terminology if completely new.  There is however a fairly solid glossary that while get you through.  For more experienced game developers, this probably isn’t the title for you.

 

Ultimately this is a learn by doing book.  Through the course of the book you are putting together a basic platforming game called Snail Bait, built using the assets of the open source Android title Replica Island.  The game is available to be played online at http://corehtml5games.com… or at least, it’s supposed to be.  When I go to that site I get:

 

image

 

Hmmm, that’s unfortunate.  I am not sure if this is an ongoing problem, or just temporary.  Judging by an earlier review on Amazon about the server being unavailable, this is a recurring problem.  It is however a bit of a big problem, as many of the code listings in this book are actually partial, so having access to the complete project is very important.  The book repeatedly references this site, so with it down, so is a great deal of the appeal of this book.  Unfortunately the publisher doesn’t appear to make the code available anywhere else, at least not the book’s version.

 

Now back to the actual contents of the book.  This book covers pretty much all aspects of what you need to make a complete 2D HTML5 game.  One critical thing to understand with this title is everything is created from scratch.  The book makes use of no existing libraries, so you learn how to do things from scratch.  There is merit to learning how to do everything yourself at least initially.  That said, you will probably make a better game using libraries that have already dealt with all the various cross browser issues and optimizations for you.

 

The book does cover a surprising number of topics, starting with handling the game loop and ending with basic network programming.  For each topic there are a number of callout notes on game development or HTML5 idiosyncrasies.  For the most part, they are topical and rarely feel superfluous.  In between it covers animation, graphics, input, hit detection, dealing with mobile (controls and resolutions), particles, audio, easing and more.  The coverage of each topic is fairly comprehensive and easily understood.  One thing you might want to note, this book is entirely about using canvas for rendering, with absolutely no coverage of WebGL.  Given the increasing support for WebGL ( IE and Safari are both finally on board ), this could be a pretty big negative.

 

As I mentioned earlier, the majority of the book is about creating a single game step by step using what you’ve learned up till this point.  The code snippets are clear but without access to the finished whole, trying to figure out how it all fits together is difficult.  There is however one chapter dedicated to putting all the pieces you’ve learned together to make a simpler but complete  game, Bodega’s Revenge.  Unfortunately, these are also partial code listings, so without access to the source code, readers may struggle filling in the pieces.

 

What’s my verdict on this book then?  The book itself is quite good.  If you have some basic JavaScript knowledge and are looking at learning how to do HTML5 canvas based game development from scratch, it’s a very good resource.  There is an impressive amount of information jammed into this book with no obvious missing pieces.  If you are looking at purchasing this title, be certain to check if the site is available before you do! 

 

I would highly suggest the author or publisher make the code available on a much more reliable source, such as Github.

Programming


27. February 2014

 

Just recently the book Production Pipeline Fundamentals for Film and Game ( Safari Link ) was released and it has been an interesting read.  Here is the thing, I am an ProductPipelineCoverabsolute sucker for post-mortems.  This was my favorite part about Game Developer Magazine every month.  I loved having a peak behind the curtain to see how other people accomplish do what they do, the problems they run into and their solutions to them.  This book is essentially a post mortem, from a number of different people in the industry, for the entire art production pipeline for both movies and games.

 

The book pretty much covers the process that game and movie companies use to develop art.  This starts at the money and concept stage, discusses pre-production, then production, discusses the details of the pipeline, the IT infrastructure each studio uses, gets into nitty-gritty details like software used, managing data and assets, disaster recovery, etc. 

 

The book actually turns into a weird mashup of experiences, and due to the many different contributors, the tone and purpose of the book seems to change all the time.  Sometimes it makes the book truly great, while other times it makes the book confused.  A good example is LIDAR being dropped as a term early on, like the reader is aware of what LIDAR is.  Assuming a certain audience is fine.  However, a few chapters later, a different chapter by a different author actually explains the process of LIDAR.  ( LIDAR coincidentally is the process of scanning an environment into digital form ).  A simply re-ordering of the book would have addressed this, but the disjointed nature of the book made that not happen.  That said, the most interesting segments of the book are when the authors are talking to you like they are talking to peers.  So the transition between lecturing ( this is what X is/does ), to tutoring ( this is how to do X ) to sharing ( this is how we did X ) can be a bit jarring.

 

That’s why I am hesitant to recommend this book straight out.  For the indie developer put frankly, the processes describe are almost entirely beyond your budget.  It’s almost the definition of what makes you an Indie vs a AAA.  On the other hand, if you are in the industry, you will find the tutorial/lecture portions of the book often either simple or patronizing.  That said, if you are wondering how other people do things, or what its like to work in various fields, this book is very unique in its perspective.  Just be prepared to struggle a bit at times.

 

There is a whole lot of knowledge being shared by a number of very talented individuals.  Just be prepared to fight a bit to access it.  If you are an artist or developer and want to see how all the pieces slot together to form a whole, this book illustrates that very well.  If you however are on an indie shoestring budget and looking for a practical book, this probably isn't the one for you.  This isnt a review, as I think this is one of those books you cant really review.  I can see how one person could love it for the exact reason another person hates it.

 

Oh and one last observation… it was funny reading how often I got the impression from (some of) the film guys that they were trying to wow with how uber-impossible their job is, while the game people seemed much more matter of fact.  If you read it, I will be interested to see if you got the same impression.

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