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Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python,…
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Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python, 2nd Edition

by Al Sweigart

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The best introduction available for Python and to computer programming. Few introductory books actually take the time to explain "why" and "how" a program works like this book. ( )
  DMCrimson | Apr 6, 2011 |
Hey, kids, have you ever wanted to make your own VIDEO GAMES!?

Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python reminds me of a book I got from the library once when I was a very young boy. It was about making video games in BASIC, and I had some fun with it. Sweigart has taken the same approach (and probably the book he mentioned as being inspiration for his book was the same book I read as a child), and has given us an updated book for an updated programming language using updated computers.

The language, no longer BASIC, is Python, one of the more simple programming languages for newbies to learn.

While the first few examples are all text-based, the latter few delve into Python's ability to draw 2D images to your screen. I would imagine somebody with a computer and a penchant for learning Python through the medium of video games would have no problem devouring this book, which is freely available from Sweigart's website devoted to it (http://inventwithpython.com).

While I, a seasoned programmer who knows enough Python to know he likes Perl better, found the book a little too simplistic for myself. Constantly, I was optimizing his code examples in my head (which I'm sure Sweigart also was tempted to do when he wrote them out). I realized, of course, that Sweigart was going for readability, and not for line of code reduction or fewer iterations. Optimization may be too advanced a topic to teach a kid wanting to make VIDEO GAMES.

The book is written towards a younger audience, but is completely readable, and understandable, by an older audience: you computer illiterate parents whose children fix your computers for you ALL THE TIME. This book could give you a little bit higher of an advantage when it comes to out-tech-ing your kid.

While the book was a wonderful introduction to programming and video games, I find that the amount of helpful make your own games resources are either outdated, or more a "make OUR own games." What I'd like to see, maybe is a Third Edition with optional exercises: "Congratulations: You're able to type in code exactly as it appears in a book. Now, do you understand it? Change the game so it does this instead!" Something like that.

I'd also like a Volume Two, in which Sweigart delves into the world of 3D games and network games. So, Al, if you're reading this, I fully expect such a book before too long. Okay?

Putting my personal feelings of Python aside, I found this book to be a valuable resource when it comes to teaching people (especially young people) how to program, which I feel empowers them to do what they want with their computer devices, have fun, and maybe even become the next big game development studio out there. ( )
  aethercowboy | Feb 18, 2010 |
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