Monday, 9 November 2009

Book Review: iPhone Games Projects

Name: iPhone Games Projects
Author: Dave Mark PJ Cabera
Publisher: APress
Price: $39.99
Pages: 258
Reviewed by: Pete Goodliffe
Verdict: OK
This is the second book I've reviewed in this Apress iPhone series (the first being "iPhone Cool Projects"). The book has many of the characteristics of the first: it is full-colour throughout, contains clear writing, beautiful presentation, and relatively good copy editing. It hangs together about as well as the other book, too, which is "mostly".

It is a series of 8 distinct essays by different "expert" (a relative term on such a new platform) iPhone game developers. The tone and approach of each chapter is therefore different.

The collection of topics covered is OK, but doesn't spread over the entire broad spectrum of game topics: there are TWO essays on networking, TWO essays on optimisation, one on multi-platform development (interesting in an "iPhone" book), one on writing a design document, and a walkthough of a simple board game.

There are many more topics that might have been interesting chapters to have in this type of book: a 3D graphics primer, when/how to select a third party games engine, considerations for getting your game noticed in the app store, and more.

There are some recurring themes: a few authors suggest prefering C over Objective-C (for obvious reasons). There is some discussion of why C is "better" than C++ which is (to a C++ programmer) unbalanced, and misleading.

As ever, the source code to each project is available from the Apress website. The quality of some of the code is quite variable.

If you want to write an iPhone game this book might be an interesting read, but I wouldn't suggest that every iPhone game programmer HAS to buy it. Some sections of it have far more value than others. In fact, I think overall you'd get more milage from the "iPhone Cool Projects" book since it covers a broader range of topics. I'm left feeling that the two books rolled into one would probably have been a better product. And I'm still not convinced that the title is even gramatically correct.

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