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on 20 May 2011
I'm not exactly a stranger to game development but have wanted to delve into the world of Android for a while and chose this as my entry. What this book does great is introduce you to all the little "issues" with developing for Android. The chapters themselves are well thought out and the progression you see is very much slow and steady. If you're familiar with Java you'll have no problems with this book.

My only gripe was that from about chapter 3 onwards I had the sneaky feeling the book was more involved with building a framework or engine than actual game development. Some of the levels of abstraction are insane. And that's where the crux of the problem falls, you get to the end and the author openly admits that you can save yourself an age and all the hassles by using one of any number of game frameworks out there (many are free), including his very own one, which is basically the book with bells on. The majority of the book is really teaching you to develop a framework that is way behind anything you could download free in 5 minutes.

If your idea of game development is actually writing the game then you could probably get away without reading this and jumping straight into a framework. If on the other hand you want to immerse yourself into the Android platform and build a game framework from the ground up then you'll be hard pushed to find a better source of information.
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on 4 November 2012
I have this and the previous edition on Kindle.

I'm feeling a little conned at the moment. The previous version was pretty good, and I thought this would be a useful update for all things 4, but actually it's gone backward in some ways.

First, it's gone black and white. All the colour illustrations are now monochrome. It's a small thing I know, but distracting, especially when skimming through it looking for the new stuff.

Then there's the new stuff. Well, they added a 4 to the front. Everything else though is pretty much as it was. For example, all the screen shots in the opening chapter about installing Eclipse and the Android SDK are from the previous book, so relate to version 2. This is not a small thing, it's lazy and means rather than having a nice little tutorial you're going to end up guessing which bits to install.

So generally a good book, nice beginner level, but I'll probably ask for a refund as it doesn't offer anything not in the colour original.
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on 11 December 2011
The more I read the book the more I wish I had other books to choose from at this difficulty which are as well written.

I really wish the booked was chaptered like this:

1) How to put a simple OpenGL object on the screen.
2) How to build an onscreen joy pad.
3) How to move a simple OpenGL object using the onscreen joypad.
4) How to add and remove multiple simple moving OpenGL objects.
5) How to add sound effects to on screen events.
6) How to add menus and music.
7) How to add extra control options.
8) How to add extra effects.

With this knowledge most people with basic java could build their own framework, design their own game, copy almost any game from the 80s era and scale the game to different devices. The steps of complexity would make sense to me. In this book they don't.

Ignoring chapters concerning getting to grips with android technology and explaining general game programming (views and view stretching, how audio is used in games, how menus are used in games etc yawn etc) the steps to programming a game are written like this:

1) How to artificially design a game on paper that handily fits in with a framework that the author is very familiar with and you aren't.
2) How to create and put input controls into a framework that the author is very familiar with and you aren't.
3) How to create and put I/O operations into a framework that the author is very familiar with and you aren't.
4) How to create and put sound controls into a framework that the author is very familiar with and you aren't.
5) How to create and put a 2D graphics system into a framework that the author is very familiar with and you aren't.
6) How to create a game loop for the framework.
7) Look how simple a game is to implement into the framework we have created!
8) ....onwards. How to strip out the 2D system for a 2D OpenGL system.

If I am going to spend so much of my time concentrating on a framework and getting to grips with abstract ideas purely for framework reasons, when the design I am forced to follow is a simplified version of a freely available framework, why don't I just download a freely available framework and shoehorn my own game in? The basics are all here in between the covers, but I am going to spend a lot of time cutting and pasting and re arranging the information to strip out the framework and get to what I wanted. The basic building blocks required to create a 2D game. Despite my criticism at the time of writing this is the best book available for the basic android game building.
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on 8 May 2011
I found the book extremely useful and easy to get me started with game development.
Even if the book starts off with an introduction to the Android ecosystem covering it in details, the content is very useful for non Android developers too who want to get into game development.

It covers everything needed to create a game from start to finish.
If you try to build a game from scratch without knowing much (or anything) about game development, this book is for you.
The chapters introduce you gradually to game architecture, graphics, controls, sounds, physics, basic AI, animation in 2D and 3D with plenty of examples preceeded with a little theory. I found the inclusion of theory very good as it gives you the answers to "why?", not just to "how?" and you will know how much you can stretch the hardware.

Every introduced notion and/or technique comes with examples and by the end of the book you have built 3 games and a great reusable framework for building games for Android devices.

By studying the book you WILL learn how to make games.
The use of best practices and plain English along with short theory makes it a great starting point and reference for every aspiring game developer who does not know where to start, and not just on Android.

It explains OpenGL ES beautifully and the introduction to the 3D is very well done, which makes it even better.
Even if it says that it is just a beginner's book, it covers advanced topics such as lightning, materials in 3D, physics, sounds, with all the short theory that will make you understand everything and feel smart.

By reading it, I completely forgot that it is an Android book and understood game development in general. Android specific problems are well pointed out and Android friendly workarounds are provided as notes in each chapter in case it breaks a pattern or best practice. Knowing these, will save you a lot of time believe me! You have all the source code to play with.

Highly recommend it for game developers (beginner and intermediate too), not just for Android, but iPhone, tablet or desktop.

Glad this book came out and well done Mario Zechner!
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on 22 May 2011
This book provides good coverage of game development on the Android platform, whilst negating the requirement for SDK level specifics which so commonly blights other books. The examples are very easy to follow and build up slowly to help the reader build a good appreciation of game frameworks and the basic development constructs necessary. The game examples are very simple so as not to confuse and helpfully the author has also minimised the level of non game related development. You will, however need to know how to develop, to a reasonable standard in Java to progress quickly through the book. I found the explanations of game mechanics and terminology very helpful to enable me to branch out to web sources and gather further information on how to optimise the code and explore alternatives.

In the latter half of the book you quickly realise that the effort expended earlier on to define and explain the game engine code is very necessary. It is these basics that will allow you to either develop your own or assess the many engines available - a list of which is provided at the back of the book. Overall I am really glad I got this book and would recommend it to anyone thinking of starting to develop games in an Android environment.
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on 25 May 2011
This is a really good book. I like the style in which it is written. As someone with lots of programming experience but none in game development the book explains a lot of things that other tutorials or books I have looked at miss out and assume people know.

The reason I have given only 4 stars instead of 5 is due to the number of spelling mistakes and other little errors that really should not be in a professional text like this. Also I don't understand why 480x800 is so often written as 480! 800. I know that English is not the native language of the author and so I don't hold the mistakes to him, but to the proof readers for not spotting obvious mistakes.

Hopefully these will get fixed in the 2nd edition ;) I would still recommend this book to anyone wanting to get into Android game development as this book is very up-to-date and you don't get that "well that's not true anymore" feeling that you do with so many computer related texts.
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on 8 February 2013
First a bit on my background. I am a designer with a rather basic knowledge when it comes to coding (I mainly work with HTML, CSS and Javascript, and I used to do stuff with Visual Basic, so you get the idea). I had absolutely no idea about Java when I first bought this book. I really wanted to make a game and didn't really have any devs at hand who could help me do this, so I decided to work it out for myself and get coding.

Using the explanations of how java works in the book and other online resources, if you're fairly comfortable with coding you should pick it up in no time. If you're already savvy with Java, you'll build the engine in no time!

Mario is really great at explaining everything, including OpenGL, which in my opinion, having also experience working with 3D packages, is a pretty complex system when coding.

Not only that, once you're done with the book, it is really easy to then convert your code to libgdx, a game engine also by Mario which seems to build on the book's engine, taking it to the next level. There is loads of support online for libgdx, from including adsense to adding leaderboards such as scoreloop and swarm, even particle systems. And best of all, libgdx is multiplatform, meaning you can then port it to a desktop app, or even iOS.

If you want to start building games in no time, this is the book to get! :)
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