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14. January 2013

 

One of the themes of this site has always been to focus on low cost (or free) game development technologies.  As a result, you will tend to find content here tends to focus more on products like Blender or Wings instead of 3D Studio Max or Photoshop.  I will of course share any game development related news regardless to price tag, but I tended to focus on the tools available to the most people, especially when it comes to tutorials.  As a result, one product certainly comes to the front of the pack, GIMP.  While Paint.NET is nice, the GIMP is really the only affordable (free) product that comes close to feature parity with Photoshop.

 

When I first started this site, I looked at compiling a list of resources for getting started with the GIMP and noticed well… it was a bit of a wasteland.  There were a couple books, mostly far out dated at this point.  Today on Safari Books, this title(Safari link), The Artist’s Guide to GIMP(Amazon link) was just added, although it was published a few months back.  So I decided to take a look at how well the GIMP world is represented in books since I last looked a couple years ago.  The answer is, surprisingly well.  So what follows is a list of books about GIMP, in chronological order of release date:

 

Book Title Publish Year Safari Link  
The Book of GIMP 2013 Link
The Artists Guide to GIMP 2012 Link
GIMP For Absolute Beginners 2012 Link
GIMP 2.6 for Photographers 2011 Link
GIMP 2.6 Cookbook 2011 Link
GIMP Bible 2010 Link
Beginning Digital Image Processing using Free Tools 2010  

 

 

There are more books of course, but these are the ones released in the last 2 years.  Anything much older would be rather out of date at this point. 

 

I have to admit, the body of work available for GIMP is vastly improved, as has the GIMP in general.  If you haven’t checked it out in a couple years, you really should.  The UI is a lot nicer now, although it still has a ways to go.

Art


4. January 2013

 

As you can see by the volume of posts here on GameFromScratch.com, I took a bit of a holiday during the, um, holidays.  During that time I did do a fair bit of reading.  One book that came up on Safari is Pro HTML5 Games  ( Safari link if you also subscribe ) that got my attention.  Now, there are a ton of HTML5 game books on the market, of which I’ve read quite a few, but this one is kinda special.  It actually shows how to create a Real Time Strategy ( RTS ) game in HTML5.  I don’t believe there has been a book on creating an RTS since the title Real-Time Strategy Game Programming way back in 1999.  A book I owned by the way and it was awesome… or at least according to my memory of 1999 it was.

 

Anyways, I haven’t completely finished the book, mostly jumped in and read a chapter here and there, but it is certainly an interesting title.  When I finish it, I might do a proper review.  Unlike most HTML books, this one is entirely about creating a single game… obviously an RTS title.  As a result, it covers pretty much every step along the way, as you can see from the detailed Table of Contents below:

 

 

 

Chapter 1: HTML5 and JavaScript Essentials


The canvas Element
The audio Element
The image Element
Animation: Timer and Game Loops
Summary


Chapter 2: Creating a Basic Game World


Basic HTML Layout
Creating the Splash Screen and Main Menu
Level Selection
Loading Images
Loading Levels
Animating the Game
Handling Mouse Input
Defining Our Game States
Summary


Chapter 3: Physics Engine Basics


Box2D Fundamentals
More Box2D Elements
Tracking Collisions and Damage
Drawing Our Own Characters
Summary


Chapter 4: Integrating The Physics Engine


Defining Entities
Adding Box2D
Creating Entities
Adding Entities to Levels
Setting Up Box2D Debug Drawing
Drawing the Entities
Animating the Box2D World
Loading the Hero
Firing the Hero
Ending the Level
Collision Damage
Drawing the Slingshot Band
Changing Levels
Adding Sound
Summary


Chapter 5: Creating the RTS Game World


Basic HTML Layout
Creating the Splash Screen and Main Menu
Creating Our First Level
Loading the Mission Briefing Screen
Implementing the Game Interface
Implementing Map Panning
Summary


Chapter 6: Adding Entities to Our World


Defining Entities
Defining Our First Entity: The Main Base
Adding Entities to the Level
Drawing the Entities
Adding the Starport
Adding the Harvester
Adding the Ground Turret
Adding the Vehicles
Adding the Aircraft
Adding the Terrain
Selecting Game Entities
Highlighting Selected Entities
Summary


Chapter 7: Intelligent Unit Movement


Commanding Units
Sending and Receiving Commands
Processing Orders
Implementing Aircraft Movement
Pathfinding
Defining Our Pathfinding Grid
Implementing Vehicle Movement
Collision Detection and Steering
Deploying the Harvester
Smoother Unit Movement
Summary


Chapter 8: Adding More Game Elements


Implementing the Basic Economy
Purchasing Buildings and Units
Ending a Level
Summary


Chapter 9: Adding Weapons and Combat


Implementing the Combat System
Building Intelligent Enemy
Adding a Fog of War
Summary


Chapter 10: Wrapping Up the Single-Player Campaign


Adding Sound
Building the Single-Player Campaign
Summary


Chapter 11: Multiplayer with WebSockets


Using the WebSocket API with Node.js
Building the Multiplayer Game Lobby
Starting the Multiplayer Game
Summary


Chapter 12: Multiplayer Gameplay


The Lock-Step Networking Model
Ending the Multiplayer Game
Implementing Player Chat
Summary

 

 

If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check it out.  Keep an eye here for a possible upcoming review.

General Programming


27. December 2012

 

Over the holidays a new game development book Game Tool Gems was released.  It is somewhat unique being focused on creating game tools, a subject I actually really enjoy that isn’t often covered.  The publishers description:

 

Game developers love what they do because of whizzy graphics and clever technical ideas, but creating games boils down to one hard reality we all know and hate to admit: the entire process depends on the robustness of the game tools pipeline. This book is all about that pipeline and the tools that support it. And that simply means one thing: if you’re a game developer, you must have it. Written by developers and researchers, the book offers tips and tricks relating to asset and data management, geometry and models, Web tools, and programming.

 

The table of contents:

Asset and Data Management

  • Plug-in based Asset Compiler Architecture
  • Where is it? GFX Asset Data Management

 

Geometry and Models

  • 3D Format Conversion (FBX, COLLADA)
  • Building Procedural Geometry using MAXSCRIPT
  • A Uniform Geometry Workflow for Animated Feature Films
  • Rock Solid Content Pipeline with the COLLADA Conformance Test Suite
  • Rendering COLLADA Assets on Mac OS X with Scene Kit
  • COLLADA Exporter for Unity Developers in the Unity Asset Store

 

Web Tools

  • Creating Web-based Tools with Django
  • Introduction to Utilizing HTML, CSS and JavaScript to Create Rich Debugging Information
  • Moving Tools to the Cloud: Control, Configure, Monitor and View Your Game with WebSocket

 

Programming

  • Decoupling Game Tool GUIs from Core Editing Operations
  • Do-it-yourself Game Prototyping Tool for Mobile Devices
  • Engineering Domain-Specific Languages for Games

 

A wide variety of subjects covered.  Over-all the book is fairly short at approximately 250 pages.  There is a fairly large amount of preview available on Amazon if the above topics sound interesting to you.  No reviews are available as of yet.  If you pick up this book, let us know what you think.

News


18. December 2012

 

I have added a pair of books, and replaced a duplicate entry with a different book on the Unity 3D Book Round-up. Another two Unity 4 books have been announced with release dates in March of 2013.

 

The first newish entry is Essential 3D Game Programming which replaced the duplicate entry of Unity 3.x Scripting on the list ( thanks for the heads up in comments! ).  This book has been on my radar for some time but had minimal information, now there is a bit more available.  That said, something about this book is really setting off my warning alarms… starting with the fact the artist on the cover graphic doesn’t match the author of the book.  Caveat emptor and all of that!

 

The other two are from established publishers, so no concern in that regard, both are upcoming books on Unity 4.

 

The first is Learn Unity 4 for iOS Game Development published by APress.

The second is Unity 4.x Cookbook published by Packt Press.  Oddly enough, this book isn’t yet up on Amazon.  Will edit the links when this changes.

 

As stated earlier, both of these books ( as well as Beginning 3D Game Development with Unity 4 all ship in March of 2013.

News


9. December 2012

 

Things have been ultra quite on the Unity book front, perhaps the market was over saturated with books.  Today however I have added the first new book in a couple months and the first book covering Unity 4, Beginning 3D Game Development with Unity 4 by Sue Blackman.  If that author or book title sound familiar, they should, Sue already released the book Beginning 3D Game Development with Unity, the very first book on the list.

 

Now the catch… the book’s release date isn’t until March.   All the same, it’s nice to see some Unity 4 books starting to show up on the radar.

 

As of right now, I don’t have Table of Contents information to share, but the following is the book description from the publishers website.

 

Beginning 3D Game Development with Unity is perfect for those who would like to come to grips with programming Unity. You may be an artist who has learned 3D tools such as 3ds Max, Maya, or Cinema 4D, or you may come from 2D tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator. On the other hand, you may justBeginning 3d Game Development With Unity: All-in-one, Mult-platform Game Development want to familiarize yourself with programming games and the latest ideas in game production.


This book introduces key game production concepts in an artist-friendly way, and rapidly teaches the basic scripting skills you'll need with Unity. It goes on to show how you, as an independent game artist, can create casual interactive adventure games in the style of Telltale's Tales of Monkey Island, while also giving you a firm foundation in game logic and design.

  • The first part of the book explains the logic involved in game interaction, and soon has you creating game assets through simple examples that you can build upon and gradually expand.

  • In the second part, you'll build the foundations of a point-and-click style first-person adventure game—including reusable state management scripts, load/save functionality, a robust inventory system, and a bonus feature: a dynamically configured maze and mini-map.

  • With the help of the provided 2D and 3D content, you'll learn to evaluate and deal with challenges in bite-sized pieces as the project progresses, gaining valuable problem-solving skills in interactive design.

 

By the end of the book, you will be able to actively use the Unity 3D game engine, having learned the necessary workflows to utilize your own assets. You will also have an assortment of reusable scripts and art assets with which to build future games.

 

So, if you are looking for a Unity 4 book, consider checking out this one.

Programming


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