Developing JAVA Entertainment Applets

COMPUTER BOOK REVIEW  

363 words

Title: Developing JAVA Entertainment Applets; 
John Withers; Wiley Computer Publishing; 
ISBN: 0-471-16506-9; Paperback, 392 pages, 
US$29.95, CAN$41.95


Reviewer: Tim Perkins, "Those of us who are 
interested in game design, and wouldn't mind 
breezing through a little Java, will find this a 
fine resource." 

Knowing the Rules of the Game before You Code It

This book is not a textbook on Java. It is an 
excellent primer on writing games with some 
Java tips thrown in. The author's purpose is 
to provide readers with a firm grounding in 
rules and principles of game design. This 
should save hours of effort, and avoid 
coding a virtual catastrophe.
 
There are step by step directions on coding 
a solitaire Java applet, a chat applet (which 
demonstrates the communication passing 
principles that are necessary in a multi-player 
applet), and an arcade-type asteroids takeoff 
applet dubbed Boinkaroids. 

Also included is the code for the Gamelet 
Toolkit developed by Mark Tacchi (which 
will be useful in developing those arcade-type 
applets).
	
The author employs Java to teach the reader 
the constitution of game design in any 
language. He begins with quick run through 
of Java's strengths and weaknesses to 
illustrate the limitations inherent in Java.

In the case of Java game developers with 
dreams of 3D applet shooters, John Withers 
recommends they keep dreaming because 
of the speed barrier inherent with Java. 
However, he doesn't rule out the potential 
for other styles of games that don't suffer
from speed problems.
	
Developing JAVA Entertainment Applets is 
also full of examples from other games that 
provide the reader with a checklist of what 
to look for during the game development 
process. 

It's fascinating to look through the eyes of 
a game developer at games with which 
one is familiar. Anyone remember Scorch 
or Scorched Earth?	

There is a wealth of material on the Java 
language to be found between the book's 
covers and the beginner in Java should 
be able to pick up the techniques
quickly.
	
There is also material on web page 
development and web server issues. 
There are users who may not have 
considered the web programming 
resources available from their ISP's 
(although there are a
number of issues on the subject that 
are explored in the book).
	
Those of us who are interested in game 
design, and wouldn't mind breezing 
through a little Java, will find this a fine 
resource. 

We will refer to John Withers; Developing 
JAVA Entertainment Applets often for 
ideas on new game projects and the 
improvement of old ones.

 


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