Programming Linux Games

Author: John R. Hall, Loki Software, Loki Software Inc
List Price: $39.95
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ISBN: 1886411492
Publisher: No Starch Press (August, 2001)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 89,866
Average Customer Rating: 4.27 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5
Easy reading
The computer game market is dominated by dedicated game console platforms, like Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's XBox. But the steady rise of linux on fast, cheap hardware and the parallel rise of an open source community leads one to wonder if there are alternatives.

Which leads to this book. It has some of the ambience of the flashback to the 70s or 80s, when programmers in their spare time might gin up a cool game, which would then spread like a virus when word got out. Of course, you can use the book's advice to design a proprietary game. Nobody says you need give it away.

The book's code examples are in C. Not Java, please note. While Java is good for some applications, typically in gaming, performance is always an issue, as measured by latency, for example. The book also does not mention C++. Pity. C++ compilers nowadays are usually as efficient as C compilers. Plus, if you want to code a game of any complexity (over 100 000 lines, say), then C scales badly, unless you use really strict design and coding standards.

Overall, though, the book is well done. Very easy reading if you're experienced. Very little knowledge of graphics is required. The book is more about the back end design. Graphics is pushed out to OpenGL and similar packages.

Rating: 3 out of 5
A good start but needs more detail
Programming Linux Games is an excellent beginning to Linux and cross platform game development.
Its main deficiencies are:
detail on the libraries suggested,
the use of C instead of C++,
and buggy openAL code which I could not get working.

It is a very good reference to basic SDL and OpenAL, and is very handy to have in one place.

I still recommend as a basic book on game programming.

Rating: 3 out of 5
decent but could have been much better
I had high expectations from this book, coming as it was from a
company specialized in porting the most complex games to Linux.
Unfortunately it seems that the fall of Loki has brought down this book with it. As other readers have said it is a good SDL
primer (covering just the basics). Other APIS are mentioned but just ina cursory view. There is a whole chapter dedicated to the code of a sound player software whoch is really out of place here.. it looks more like the author stuffed it in since he for some reason had developed it and he thought it was marginally relevant.. A good point is the book is about a working 2D game, Penguin Warrion ( a spaceship against spaceship typical game ) but the game development is not properly explained.. it loks like the book is an appendix to the game and not the contrary... in short to really learn something you must go and scan the code on your own...
With a little bit more affort and time to give the book more depth and solidity it could have been a great beginner's text..too bad!

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