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Atari Inc.: Business is Fun
Atari Inc.: Business is Fun
by Mr. Curt Vendel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.34

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atari Business is Fun ~ A Good Read, 10 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This 796 page tome is full of the history of Atari and it's pre-history from the l968 up to the Tramiel acquisition of Atari from Warner Communications in 1983.
I was one of the few survivors that worked for both the Warner Communications Atari (2 years) and the Tramiel Atari (6 years). My awareness and knowledge of what was happening in the USA within Atari prior to the acquisition was sketchy both at the time and even more so 30 years later. From what I read in this book, we in Atari UK were not aware of half the products and problems developing in Atari Inc. across the pond.
I can't really judge the completeness and accuracy of the story concerning the Warner Atari, but for me it filled in a lot of the gaps. Now, I can't wait for the sequel Atari Corporation - Business Is War.
A great read!

Windows Phone 7 XNA Cookbook
Windows Phone 7 XNA Cookbook
by Zheng Yang
Edition: Paperback
Price: 27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Windows Phone 7 XNA - Review, 31 May 2012
Windows Phone 7 XNA Cookbook
Author: Zheng Yang
Publisher: Packt
ISBN: 978-1-849699-120-8
Pages: 432
For me the Windows Phone was one of the most exciting platform announcements in 2010. I finally got my hands on a Windows Phone in 2011 and it had the great attraction of supporting c# / XNA, allowing my Xbox XNA development skills to take short excursions into the world of mobile phone development.

Chapter 1: Jump into Windows Phone Developer Tools and XNA Game Studio 4.0
The first really important feature is that there is now a simple explanation on how to get started in developing on the Windows Phone 7 using XNA. The Microsoft website is still too confusing for the novice, having to decide what is required for XNA development for just the phone and wishing to ignore XNA development information for the Xbox and PC.
After obtaining all the development tools, you should then download all the books source code from the [...] website.
You are then taken through step by step creating your first WP7 application using either a real phone or the phone emulator.
The information was a little out of date because since release you now have the option to select either a 256 Mb or 512 Mb emulator device. Not an important omission. but I add it here for completeness.

Chapter 2 Playing with Windows Phone Touch and Sensors
The example WindowsPhoneDpad reported the Dpad.png file to be missing. Not so, it was just the reference to the Content was missing from the project. Rectified by right clicking on the WindowsPhoneDpad project and selecting Add Content Reference. Simple enough, but enough to divert a novice off track.
The next example MultiTouchImage also reported missing the fileMountain.jpg. Again the file was in the project file, but had not been added to the Content. Again easy to rectify by right clicking on the Content and select Add existing to load the Mountain.jpg into the project.
Also note that all these examples are written for Windows Phone OS 7.0, but the current version is 7.1, but I see no reason why these examples should not run on 7.1.

Chapter 3 Coordinates and View--Your First Step into XNA Game Development on Windows Phone 7
This chapter covers a set of simple examples introducing you to different camera types. These are simple examples, but well explained to get the concepts understood.
The culling example is too simple to really give justice to the importance of culling.

Chapter 4 Heads Up Display (HUD)--Your Phone Game User Interface
This chapter covers Scaling an image, introduction to Sprite sheets using both a simple example and a more complex example using a free download tool called SpriteVortex.
An introduction to text, image and model based menus, progress bars , buttons and listboxes.
All very basic simple examples to give you a good foundation to build upon in the following chapters.

Chapter 5 Content Processing
Content Processing is important for when you need to import your own data. This is explained with some examples. I felt the bounding sphere / bounding box examples could have been improved with a simple example to display the representation of either a bounding sphere or box around a model.

Chapter 6 Entering the Exciting World of 3D Models
At last we start to build upon the knowledge learned in earlier chapters, in this case how to manipulate an object viewed by a camera.
You also learn how to scale a model, and load the standard XNA model tank. The model animation example is poor and the author should have continued to use the tank for the model animation example.
The terrain mapping example is the most impressive example up to this point, both on the emulator and the phone device, but the ocean example just does not justify what's really possible.

7 Collision Detection
An interesting set of collision detection examples that I do not think I have seen compared in other XNA books so well. While the examples are too simple and boring the explanations are good. The most interesting to me was the simplest - the line segment intersection example.
It would have been nice to see the previous terrain model and tank model used to demonstrate collision detection of the tank moving on the terrain.

Chapter 8 Embedding Audio in your Game
All sound examples work and explain the basics.

Chapter 9 Special Effects
DualTexturedEffectBall would not run due to a bad asset reference in the fbx file. Just remove the path F:\My Own Produced Movie\ in the fbx file and it will work.

RenderTargetTransitionEffect would not run.

RenderTargetCharacter would not run because it breaks the texture size limit of 2048 in Reach.

10 Performance Optimization--Fast! Faster!
A good set of notes for code optimisation

Review Conclusion
This book has been misnamed. It is not a cookbook, but it is a very good introduction into using XNA to program the Windows Phone. To me a cookbook is a set of code modules that can be easily utilised within other programs, for example the creation of a camera class that can be used in any XNA phone application.
The book does achieve what it describes in its preface section and introduction. It is not a book for those that also require an introduction to C#, or into .Net concepts such as garbage collection. The code examples are well written except for those in Chapter 9.
The code errors in Chapter 2 are not logic errors, but more likely occurred during the distribution of the example files, but apart from that the examples are well written and explained well.
Who would I recommend this book to: Anyone that has a basic understanding of C# and wants a quick introduction into XNA on the Windows Phone. But it's not a cookbook as its title suggests!
Despite my concerns I give it 4* because it is a good introduction to Windows Phone 7 / XNA despite my gripes.
For this review I used Windows 7, Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate SP1 and a Windows Phone 7.1

XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner's Guide - Visual Basic Edition
XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner's Guide - Visual Basic Edition
by Kurt Jaegers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 27.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for new programmers: c# or VB?, 29 April 2012
XNA originally required the novice programmer to learn a few new concepts all at the same time the XNA Framework, .Net, C# together with many programming and maths concepts required in created 2D and 3D games. Jumping directly into C# itself was a tall order especially when one already learns other languages at school / college such as Visual Basic (VB). This is possibly why the most requested feature for XNA was to enable support for Visual Basic.
This book does not dwell on the pros or cons of C# v VB for development, and assumes that the reader has already made this choice, otherwise why read the book. It is for each novice programmer to decide which programming language is more suited to them and if undecided it may make sense to use this book orientated to VB and compare it with its sister book XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example, orientated to C#. They use the same sample programs and are so a good way to determine which is easier to learn for each individual.
As a novice programmer the first thing you should do is download the complimentary source code that is available from the publisher's web site. This book is not a typing tutorial and so it is always better to load the code for each sample.
As I was already familiar with the actual example programs I skipped through most of their detail, and concentrated mainly on the differences between C# and VB, mainly to fill in my own knowledge of what had occurred in VB since my last venture with VB6.
I continue to like the books editing style with detailed explanations of each step with regular sections of `What just happened?' . This makes it easy to distinguish the stepped explanations from the general content for each chapter.
I must again highlight the excellent explanations for path finding using the A* algorithm. This topic is essential for every game programmer eventually.
Having read the book it failed to convert me from C# to VB, but that was not its objective.
If you are a novice programmer and still undecided whether to follow the C# or VB route what better way than to acquire both the VB and the C# version of this book can decide for yourself which language suits your existing knowledge.

XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner's Guide
XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner's Guide
by K Jaegers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 26.59

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars XNA 4.Game Development by Example: Beginners Guide, 12 April 2011
This book uses three very different games to gradually introduce new concepts in XNA and c#.

Chapter 1, Introducing XNA Game Studio

A brief history (thankfully brief) of XNA and how to install. I like the "What just happened?" explanations. These offer a more detailed description of what you have actually done- assuming that you are working through the book together with your computer.

Chapter 2, Flood Control - Underwater Puzzling
Using a 2D board game to introduce the XNA Content Pipeline, and sprite sheets. This book does not assume that you are a C# programmer and makes some efforts to try and explain some c# concepts at the same time as introducing you to XNA concepts. If you are new to programming and c# then terms such as Overloading, and Alpha blending are explained as they are introduced.

Chapter 3, Flood Control - Smoothing out the Rough Edges
Through the use of this interesting introductory game the author continues to teach you c# concepts such as inheritance. Most games also contain some maths knowledge and the author does not leave it to chance that you may not know what a radian is.

Chapter 4, Asteroid Belt Assault - Lost in Space
This second game is an introduction into 2D animation and introduces you to collision detection and how to support such a requirement. (This game brought back to me the concept of Player-Missile graphics on my first Atari in the early 1980's).

Chapter 5, Asteroid Belt Assault - Special Effects
This chapter introduces you to explosions and sounds and the various ways of handling sound in XNA. This also contains an introduction into a 2D particle system.

Chapter 6, Robot Rampage - Multi-Axis Mayhem
The previous two games limited you to a single screen sized world, but this game will introduce you to scrolling around a world bigger than your screen. Also contains a nice introduction to tiled maps and of course a new camera class.

Chapter 7, Robot Rampage - Lots and Lots of Bullets
If you don't know what A* is then you will after reading this chapter. There are entire books written on path finding and this author does well to explain the basics and put them to a practical use. Also introduces a way to implement "powerups".

Chapter 8, Gemstone Hunter - Put on your Platform Shoes
A side scrolling game is used to introduce multiple layers of tiles and how to use Windows Forms with XNA. Also serves as an introduction to serialization. With the introduction of implementing a Game Library, this example starts to get professional.

Chapter 9, Gemstone Hunter - Standing on Your Own Two Pixels
After reading this chapter you will me even more familiar with class inheritance and derived objects. This just has to be so much more fun to learn than via the kind of books that I learned c# from.

You cannot write a game in XNA without some understanding in c#, object based programming and some maths. Unlike many similar beginner books, this book does not assume that you know everything (eg what a radian is) and explains each new concept as it is introduced.
This books use of some interesting games certainly beats yet another way of printing "Hello World" on the screen and this will make it a great learning experience of anyone that wishes to start programming with little or no programming knowledge.
At first I was not too enthusiastic in reading a book for beginners but very quickly lost my lack of interest as I eager to discover how this author was going to explain some of the more complex concepts of c# and xna.
This book is not for those that expect to get an introduction into the 3D world of XNA, and for that reason the book title should have included "2D". However it is essential that these 2D concepts are fully understood before moving onto 3D.
After reading this book you will be well placed to get an introduction to 3D with the next title from the same publisher 3D Graphics with XNA Studio 4.0
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2011 7:23 PM BST

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