Introduction to Game Development Using Processing

Author: J. R. Parker
Publisher: Mercury Learning
Pages: 350
ISBN: 978-1937585402
Print: 1937585409
Kindle: B00XZCZ0DC
Audience: Game creators
Rating: 3
Reviewer: Mike James
Game development is always a good motivator. Does this book help you into this area?

This is a book that isn't going to suit a lot of people. If you fit its reader profile then you will probably find it very good.  The main problem with it is that it is aimed at wannabe games programmers and most games aren't created in the way that this book describes. If its focus was"learn to program in Processing using games" then it might have some credibility, but this is not the way into serious games programming. This said, you can learn a lot of the basic principles this way - but then you would have much more to learn to actually be involved in modern games. Even creating casual games for mobiles requires more technology than this book delivers.

Chapter 1 starts out with a very academic examination of the whole idea of a game. It's not wrong, but it is mostly irrelevant to a wannabe games programmer. Chapter 2 explains basic image types and how to access pixels and draw primitives. Chapter 3 introduces sound via the Minim library - as Processing is a JVM language it can make use of Java libraries.

Chapter 4 starts a case study - Hockey Pong - It is basically a bat and ball game of the sort that you might find in any book hoping to teach you a language via games, but in this instance it is taken far more seriously. The actual implementation is fine, but with terms like "artificial intelligence" being used and "game design document" you can see that this is more academic than most approaches. I'm not sure this adds anything.

Chapter 5 is the start of 3D graphics and this is generally where games start to get difficult. It makes use of OpenGL in Processing, which is a fun way to learn 3D graphics and even to do some simple things, but for games you need to know about game engines like Unity, or at the very least modeling software, that will get you a realistic 3D model in no time at all - I lied about no time at all.

Chapter 6 takes us into the interesting world of collisions. Good collision detection is important and this is a nice, if somewhat mathematical, explanation of how to go about it and how to think of it. I'm not sure how many games programmers know this much about collision detection, however.

Chapter 7 changes to considering control and here we have a state machine controlling a car. Again, it's all a bit too academic, even if I am a fan of state machines. Chapter 8 is an example of a very simple 3D game with minimal animation. Chapter 9 is about HTML5 games, but as it uses Processing.js it is still really Processing. I'm not sure this is a way I'd consider to create HTML game, but if you disagree the chapter tells you how to do it. Chapter 10 is on animation, which I think is a little late in a book on games, but you should find it interesting in a theoretical sort  of way. Finally, Chapter 11 is on Android and Processing - again not the way I'd do the job.

The final verdict has to be that the book is good, but only for a very narrow group of readers. If you want to learn game design in an academic context using Processing you have found a book that does just this. It seems to me like a book about games that avoids having to learn a suitable language like C++ or a suitable game engine. If you actually want to create a game or move into the professional games world I doubt this has much to offer you. 

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Print: 1941222129
Kindle: B00N9I0RMQ
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Last Updated ( Friday, 12 April 2019 )