Author: Jacob Habgood & Mark Overmars
Publisher: Apress, 2006
Aimed at: Beginners
Pros: Great fun and easy to use
Cons: Doesn’t go far enough
Reviewed by: Mike James
Jacob Habgood and Mark Overmars have produced a book (complete with CD) that you are going to enjoy. Games are a good way to get started with programming but it is very difficult to create anything that looks impressive. The solution is to use a game design program but the danger here is that all you learn about is the game design program and not something more general.
This book is based on Game Maker and a copy is bound into the back on a CD. You start off with detailed instructions how to install Game Maker and get started. From there you are shown how to create games using drag-and-drop techniques, which is the ideal way to get a quick and exciting start.
What is really good about the approach is that it does move on to more programming-based methods using Game Maker Language (GML) and covers wider programming issues such as AI and logic. It even strays away from dynamic graphics games to the quieter, but very instructive, coding of noughts and crosses.
Printed in full colour this book looks good and is very easy to follow. You should have no trouble following it from the beginning to the very last page. At the end you will have had a lot of fun and should have acquired many of the basic ideas of programming.
From here you could move on to a language such as C# and mainstream programming or you could find out more about game engines and stay with the world of game design.