I have 1 university years worth of C++ and Java knowledge, and an interest in games. Deciding to look into games creation as a hobby I was disappointed in how messy C++ (or C with classes) games programming books were. I'd bought about 5 and read through 3. Then I purchased killer game programming in Java. It is well written, focuses on why doing something one way is a good idea compared to another, and the topics fit in so well if you have a sound (but not necessarily expert) grasp of the Java language and programming concepts. It's going to take a lot of time and effort before I write a game I am truly happy with, but this book is certainly going to help along the way.
whew! So, it's been about 3 years since I purchased a few books about Java's 3D-API and writing computer games in Java. Of these books, Killer Games has definitely turned out to be most relevant to my requirements as an intermediate-level Java developer specializing in networked applications and aspiring to create "kick-ass" 3D user interfaces. Ploughing through all the material has been a lot of hard work, but equally rewarding. All in all, a very good return on investment. In less than a year from now, I hope, at least theoretically, to be able to earn a living as a professional games developer, thanks, in particular, to Killer Game Programming, and assuming that the erstwhile Sun Microsystem's 3D libraries used by the book gain long-term traction - which I hope they will because they're really good. By the way, Killer Games also goes into a lot of 2D detail, including isometric displays and side-scrollers. Extremely comprehensive and obviously written with a great deal of dedication.
This book is perfect if you want to go a step further than making hello worlds in tutorials designed to take you from the beginning. You need to have GOOD java knowledge to know what any of it means though. Chapter 1 really droans on for far longer than it should, spitting out jargon that isn't really needed, I myself used to make really simple animation loops that gave back fps and ups and I could control them both, but this just confuses me. That leads me to another point, its best if you start this book with good java knowledge and little or no game programming experience, if you already know some game programming techniques from somewhere else it is likely to confuse or annoy you, that said if you just persevere and diligently write what you see you'll get through it fine. Another thing is that he uses the Java3D library through most of the book, it took me a little while to install, but I found this useful link: [...] that shows you how to install. Java3D is a little outdated, but at the time of writing (2005?) it was probably a better option.
Overall: the beginning is very boring and a little difficult, but the actual game concepts later are very cool!
This is a great volume for anyone looking at game programming - not just java fans. The examples are straightforward enough that whatever language you plan to use for your game, you will easily be able to adapt the included code to your language of choice. The book gives a basic intro to various different approaches to writing games, lots of hints and tips that will save hours of annoyance and forehead-slapping 'If only I'd known' moments. Wicked book, essential for any would-be games programmer's arsenal.