Friday, March 21, 2014

Packt's 2000th Title Campaign Offer

From Packt Publishing

Packt Publishing celebrates their 2000th title with an exclusive offer - We've got IT covered!

Known for their extensive range of pragmatic IT ebooks, Packt Publishing are celebrating their 2000th book title `Learning Dart’– they want their customers to celebrate too.
To mark this milestone Packt Publishing will launch a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ offer across all eBooks on March 18th – for a limited period only.
`Learning Dart’ was selected as a title and published by Packt earlier this year. As a project that aims to revolutionise a language as crucial as JavaScript, Dart is a great example of an emerging technology which aims to support the community and their requirement for constant improvement. The content itself explains how to develop apps using Dart and HTML5 in a model-driven and fast-paced approach, enabling developers to build more complex and high-performing web apps.
David Maclean, Managing Director explains `It’s not by chance that this book is our 2000th title. Our customers and community drive demand and it is our job to ensure that whatever they’re working on, Packt provides practical help and support.
At Packt we understand that sometimes our customers want to learn a new programming language pretty much from scratch, with little knowledge of similar language concepts. Other times our customers know a related language fairly well and therefore want a fast-paced primer that brings them up to a competent professional level quickly.
That’s what makes Packt different: all our books are specifically commissioned by category experts, based on intensive research of the technology and the key tasks.’
Since 2004, Packt Publishing has been providing practical IT-related information that enables everyone to learn and develop their IT knowledge, from novice to expert. 
Packt is one of the most prolific and fast-growing tech book publishers in the world. Originally focused on open source software, Packt contributes back into the community paying a royalty on relevant books directly to open source projects. These projects have received over $400,000 as part of Packt’s Open Source Royalty Scheme to date.
Their books focus on practicality, recognising that readers are ultimately concerned with getting the job done. Packt’s digitally-focused business model allows them to quickly publish up-to-date books in very specific areas across a range of key categories – web development, game development, big data, application development, and more. Their commitment to providing a comprehensive range of titles has seen Packt publish 1054% more titles in 2013 than in 2006.
Erol Staveley, Publisher, says `Recent research shows that 88% of our customers are very satisfied with the service knowing that we offer a wide breadth of titles in a timely manner, and owing to the quality of service that they receive 94% of customers are willing to recommend Packt to friends and family. It’s great that we’ve hit such a significant milestone, and we want to continue delivering this fantastic content to our customers.’
Here are some of the best titles across Packt's main categories - but Buy One, Get One Free will apply across all 2000 titles:
·         Web Development
·         Big Data & Cloud
·         Game Development
·         App Development

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Some great news! Packt Publishing is having a buy one get one free book sale going on now until the 26th of March.  They are a fantastic publisher with lots of game development books.  I have so many of their books that I barely know where to start.  If you decide to purchase any please let me know in the comments section.  Happy Shopping!
Buy one Get one Free Sale

Monday, March 10, 2014

Scratch 2.0 Game Development Hotshot

“Scratch 2.0 Game Development Hotshot”

[Note: I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing a review.  The review contains my own thoughts and opinions.]

                “Scratch 2.0 Game Development Hotshot” published by Packt Publishing is guide to learning how to program in Scratch 2.0, a new version of the popular visual programming environment originally developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). First thing to note about this book is that it’s not a beginner’s guide to Scratch.  I would suggest trying out a few tutorials from the Scratch 2.0 website before you start the projects that are in the book. There are 10 projects that provide exercises that are increasingly more complicated. 
                Each chapter guides you through making a game and some chapters let you enhance one of your previously made games.  There is a file that you can download from the Packt Publishing website that includes most of the graphics and scripts that are necessary to create each game.
 “Scratch 2.0 Game Development Hotshot” begins each chapter by describing the game you will create and what you will learn after completing it.  Then there is a picture of game in its finished state.  Step-by-Step instructions on how to make each game are included as well as descriptions of what you are doing and why it is important.  Each chapter ends with Hotshot challenges which provide you with several ideas of how to enhance the game.
                The appendix provides an overview of version 2.0’s new interface indicating where all the important tools are.  This is also serves as a primer on using Scratch 2.0.  Scratch 2.0 is available as a web-based application and also as a free download.  Before you download Scratch 2.0, be sure to check the version as there are still links on MIT’s website pointing to Scratch 1.4.
 “Scratch 2.0 Game Development Hotshot” published by Packt Publishing is definitely a good book to further you knowledge of Scratch 2.0 and while you are learning you also are development fun games to play afterwards.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I have added a new section on the sidebar called "Now reading"  I will be posting a review of the book "Scratch 2.0 Game Development Hotshot" on Monday, March 10th.

Monday, March 3, 2014

My review of CryEngine 3 Game Development: Beginner's Guide

[Edit: Here is the link to the book:]

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing this; however this review contains my opinions and thoughts.
Developing a game with the CryEngine 3 free SDK is no simple task.  This book strives to make this a little easier for anyone interested in developing their own game.  The engine is primarily meant for First Person Shooters (FPS) and other open-world games.  The book was based on CryEngine 3 version 3.4 and currently the engine is on 3.58, so there are some differences between the book and the engine you will be using.  The also recommend using 3ds Max, Photoshop, Notepad++, Flash CS 5.5 and a few others.  CryEngine 3 now accepts several free programs that you can use in place of the costlier software.
The book starts off with an overview of the engine and then jumps into using the Sandbox, which is the level editor for CryEngine.  Using the free level that comes with the engine the book demonstrates how to move around, sculpt your landscape and place items.  Once you have your basic level to use, the book moves to using the FlowGraph Editor, which lets anyone without programming knowledge, create a graph to have their game objects do things.
Up to this point, I have been using the book with only the occasional reference to CryEngine’s Documentation.  I definitely suggest that you bookmark the document and forum webpages for easy reference.
Next the book covers using C++ and for this the book suggests some prior knowledge in C++.  I agree that the programming aspect of CryEngine is a little difficult for a person new to programming. 
CryEngine 3 covers using Scaleform to create your HUD and then 3dsMax to create your own assets.  Flash CC, which is the current version of Flash, does not support Actionscript 2 which is what the book needs you to use.  You can use other products such as Blender to create your own models and there are several free alternatives to programming Actionscript 2; but I still suggest using Flash to create the health bars, etc.
CryEngine 3 has a wonderful cutscene editor that lets you create animations and all sorts of other wonderful cutscenes and such.  This book demonstrates how to use the tools for this and rounds out with a chapter on Audio design and another chapter on finishing the level for use by everyone.
CryEngine 3 Game Development: Beginner’s Guide is a definite asset to have by your side and you create wonderful levels with this tool.