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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Play Online?


This by far is one of the worst strategy guides I have ever bought. The "new" Play Online option is terrible. I bought the stragedy guide to help me through the game, not to make me look on the internet every page. Plus, even when I tried to get on to the Play Online website, it was always to busy and having problems. The guide it's self is very unorgnized, and leaves out important info. For the final boss of the game, they don't even give you a strategy. I didn't buy the guide for them to tell me to find out myself how to cure a problem. The worst of all is that it is very confusing. I had many times where I had no idea what they meant. The strategy guide does, however, give an ok walkthrough of the game for people who try to beat the games without help, and if they get stuck, they can fefer to the guide.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Complete Wireless Design
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
Authors: Cotter W. Sayre
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book on Wireless Design


Circuits and Wireless Communication designers and Enthusiasts....ENJOY!
A true one-of-a-kind guide to wireless "design". It guides you through the design process step-by-step. The author presents design procedure for every circuit that make up a complete wireless system. He also provides design hints, tips and tricks. Primarily for Electrical Engineers and circuit and electronics enthusiasts, this book is a must for its primary audience. There's so much valuable information and experience in this book you won't find anywhere else.
The book is not intended for people with no electronics or circuit design background. People without such background will find the book difficult to follow and comprehend. Communication designers and engineers, however, will be extremely delighted with this book.I'm greatly thankful for the author for his excellent book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Advanced Perl Programming
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Sriram Srinivasan
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent book for serious Perl developers


This ain't no Camel in terms of production quality (there are quite a few mistakes I could discern on a casual read), but it is good. Some of the material overlaps with the Camel book, particularly the first few chapters. The chapters dealing with complex data structures and references are well covered in the Camel and the repetition here is, for the most part, needless. Also some of the examples appear boring and contrived. Other than the first 6 chapters, I have read the code generation chapter. This is what has me all excited. I have written my own code generator but the elegance of this one is remarkable. In conclusion, after reading through more than a third of the book, I can say that while it is not the best Perl book in existence (that honor properly belongs to the Camel), this book is worth a place on the shelf of a serious Perl programmer.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing Games in Java
Publisher: New Riders Publishing
Authors: Bret Barker, Laurence Vanhelswue, David Brackeen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great coverage of the basics of GAMES, not just Java


I've reviewed a few other Java game programming books and they're pretty much all stinkers. This one is head and shoulders and feet above the others. And it assumes you know at least some Java and don't have to be hand-held through a dozen chapters of the language basics before they think you're competent enough to get a peek at writing a lame card game or bouncing-ball applet like the other books do. I've only spent a day with this book and have not attempted to compile any code, so keep that in mind while reading the rest of this review. Speaking of code, this is not a code-listing book. It definitely has code in it and dissects it, but the ratio of text to code is very appropriate.
Right off the bat in chapter 1 David starts with a chapter on Threads! Then he moves on to several chapters of 2D graphics and animation and builds a complete 2D scroller in chapter 5! You're probably liking what you're hearing so far if you've read any of the other java game programming books. The next several chapters spend some time on understanding and then programming 3D graphics (great chapters, BTW), then moves on to collision detection, AI and pathfinding, game scripting (using BeanShell - excellent choice), optimization, and more. Somewhere in there is a chapter on multiplayer networking.
All chapters build on the previous ones. The examples all seem worthwhile and demonstrate the concepts and techniques. This is real meat & potatoes game programming, and as the author points out, just happens to be implemented in Java. It looks to me like this guy really knows Java well (I'm a professional Java/J2EE programmer) and points out everything you need to know about using it to implement the game programming concepts.
A few minor nits and notes. The focus of the book is on full-screen applications, not applets or windowed games. You can apply what you've learned to those two, but they're not covered (which is a good thing, but be forewarned). The book is printed with a relatively large font, IMO, especially the code listings, so it's a bit heftier than it should be, but I don't feel like they're over-charging, so I'll live. Also, almost no time was spent talking about writing tools like map editors, assest editors, etc. I feel like those items are important enough to spend a bit more time on, but I can understand why they are only mentioned in brief. The only items other items I would have liked to see some brief coverage of were 2D isometric tile-based maps and 3D terrain.
This is a great intermediate level book on writing games in Java. I'd love to see the author or other writers build on this book to cover more advanced topics like those mentioned above, but you can use the information in this book and other great game programming references (like the Game Programming Gems series, AI Game Programming Wisdom, Strategy Game Programming in DirectX 9.0 (EXCELLENT BOOK), Game Coding Complete, 3D Game Engine Design, Physics for Game Developers, and others) to get where you need to go.
For anyone disappointed with other Java game programming books, this is a must-have. Highly recommended.