Beginning XNA 2.0 Game Programming: From Novice to Professional (The Expert's Voice in Game Programming) Paperback – 29 Apr 2008
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About the Author
Alexandre Lobão is a passionate man. His first passion was reading, starting with large books Mark Twain, Érico Veríssimo, Jules Verne, Monteiro Lobato, Alexandre Dumas, and others when he was 7. At age 12, he discovered his next two passions: playing and creating games (by that time on his first Apple computer), and writing. Many years later he's about forty now these passions still flourish. Now he's a teacher of academic game development courses, has written four books on the topic, and has participated in Brazilian gamse development contests, both as a contestant and as a judge. He has also written short story books, children's books, and young adult books, and in 2008 he released his first romance, The Name of the Eagle, currently available only in Portuguese. And, of course, he still loves to read, some favorite authors being Ken Follett and Paulo Coelho. His ultimate passions starting in 1995 and still burning are his wife, Waléria, and his kids, Natália and Rafael. Alexandre believes that lives needs passion to be lived entirely, and hopes that this book helps light this passion in readers' hearts. You can find his work at AlexandreLobao.com.
Top Customer Reviews
It is a good book, well written and informative. All the programs are effective choices and teach the language and the tools well. It also builds up to a nice and complex game prototype which gives you a lot of info and experience in XNA. ...But it isn't for complete programming novices (despite the book's title), simply because of the frustration and extra work getting some of the code to work. Oh, and the chapter on shaders is badly lacking in information on how you work with shaders in a seperate shader-authoring application (the book doesn't even list the shader code - you have to get that from the source code download).
It's like the code was still being converted from XNA 1.0 to 2.0 while the book was going out, or something, and as such some bits of code got left out. Other than that, it would be a superb book. I've given it the benefit of the doubt and gone with a 4, but recommend maybe quickly checking out a library copy first - especially as a programming novice would struggle and for them 2 is more fitting. A "second edition" that fixes the problems would likely get a 5.
This was made even clearer to me as I read through the first chapters of the book. When it came down to it the theory was all there as for the practical side of things the code you were shown in the book was nothing like what they supplied in the source code files. It seems they wrote the book using the XNA 1.0 Framework and left it at that but supplied the 2.0 source code online. After overlooking this I found yet more mistakes with the text, it was missing sections of code and contained numerous spelling mistakes.
I would not recommned this book to anyone intending to begin using the XNA Framework rather try one of Microsofts own books on the subject.
Aside from the errors, the code at times demonstrates inefficient or plain bad design. As you can probably gather, I am not impressed with this book at all. The only reason it gets 2 stars is that it will eventually teach you about XNA if you can fix all the mistakes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For example, on page 46 it tells you to include a line of code that doesn't seem to make sense (private SpriteBatch spriteBatch = null;) in the Game1 code. This of course is redundant and cause the game not to compile. And.... naturally, the downloaded source code runs fine. Why? Because this line of code is not in the project. I imagine the XNA guru they had reviewing this book (how come they don't hand the book to a total newbie and say 'here, follow this book exactly and tell us when the code examples dont work') fixed the errors he seen on the fly without thinking ..oh, a total newbie won't know this is an obvious mistake..
But I can honestly say I have NEVER read a 'teach yourself' programming book with flawless code examples. And of course the downloaded source always works and you just have to compare your file with thier file and see what is different. The only positive note I can say about the poor state of quality control with newbie programming books in general is that in a way it teaches you to troubleshoot code. But, for someone who is completely new and doesn't pick up on these things it is very frustrating. I'm lucky now in that I have learned enough that I can fix these errors, but a few years ago I would have just tossed this book out of frustration when I do exactly as instructed and it still doesnt work.
To the people who write these books I have a suggestion....
If the person in charge of quality control has ever written a single line of code they are not qualified to review a book targeting newbies. Give the book to your spouse, neighbor, 12 year old, etc. who will quickly hand it back to you 5 times every chapter and say 'hey, I did what it said and got a bunch of errors', or 'hey, it assumes here on page whatever I know where to type this'.
Now, all that being said, this is a darn good book. The authors make XNA and XBOX programming about as simple as possible... the examples are explained very well and easy to follow. If you have gone through another C# teach yourself newbie book you should minimal trouble getting a game up and running in just an hour or so!
Even if you aren't a programmer, this book will guide you step by step trough all the process, from a basic game to a complex character animation.
In short, this book is an excellent starting point for people who want to learn XNA and get involved in the videogames world.
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