Saturday, June 17, 2017

Top 5 Java And Android Game Programming Books for Programmers

Many programmers and game developers  think that Java isn't the best language for game design, but you cannot ignore Java for game development. There is always some popular platform which allowed you to develop and sell games in Java e.g. J2ME in past and Android now. Ever since Android used Java as a programming language, the game development in Java has got a new lifeline and seems to be doing quite well. Even games like Minecraft also doing great on the Java platform. It's true that C++ is still the best language to develop games due to their high-performance and many top game development companies e.g. Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft XBox they prefer C++ over Java when it comes to developing great games. But with the Introduction of Android and iOS has completely changed the game development industry.

Nowadays, it's possible for a game developer to launch their own games in Google's PlayStore and Apple's AppStore and can dream about being rich and famous in one quick, remember Flappy Bird and Pokemon Go?

When it comes to performance, I would like to add that on a modern JVM with a good Just In Time (JIT) compiler, performance becomes less of an issue as the JVM will compile the frequently invoked code into native code, optimizing them in the process.

Due to this, Java can in some cases outperform C and C++, although not by a large factor.   Java also has some good Java game development libraries e.g. LibGDX. They allow you to build Game   UI, Game Engine by using their high-performance component. Though, I think that the worst performance penalty when writing games in Java are probably the constant Java/Native switch when calling LWJGL methods.

Android and Java Game Programming Books

I have done some game development in the past, especially in early 2000 when J2ME was a popular platform for developing games. Believe me or not, but those initial years teach me most about programming, design, and coding.

While developing games I learned how to use Physics and Maths in Programming. I learned about GUI development, game loop, how views are renders, and how you can use a data structure like a 2D array to draw the scenery and background of platform games e.g. Super Mario Bros. That's one reason I strongly recommend to all programmers to write few games e.g. Tetris, Tic Tac Toe, Sudoku, Super Mario Bros etc. Developing games are the best way to learn coding and design.

Though there are many books out there which will teach you how to develop games in Java, following are my curated list of Java game programming books. It contains some of the best books you will read on coding games, writing a game engine, library, game patterns, and also developing games for Android.

I have also included one of the two general game programming books which are independent of programming language e.g. Game Programming Patterns by Rober Nystrom and Game Engine Architecture by Jason Gregory.

The Beginner's Guide to Android Game Development
If you are serious about developing games for Android using Java then this is the right book for you. The  Author James CHO has done an amazing job in explaining where to start and what it take to develop 2D interactive games using touch control. This is also a good book to learn different UI components of Android by developing interesting game.s

Top 5 Java And Android Game Programming Books for Programmers

Game Programming Patterns
This is one of the best books to learn programming or design patterns used in Games. If you are not developing games and just want to learn OOP design patterns e.g. command pattern you can read this book. Its example of command pattern to map to the buttons on the remote of any Game console e.g. Nintendo of Microsoft Xbox is some of the best real-world examples of design patterns. Though, this book is more suitable for Java developer with some experience but new to game programming.

Best game programming book in Java

Developing Games in Java
I was going recommend Java Game Programming For Dummies as that is what many of my colleagues have used to learn in the past but apparently, that book seems quite old now and given how far Java has moved from 1998.   Yes, the Java Game Programming For Dummies by Wayne Holder was released almost 20 years back in March 1998. Though, If you can find an e-copy though it's definitely worth a glance.

The Developing Games in Java by David Brackeen, Bret Barker, and Lawrence Vanhelsuwe is another good book and it's also very popular one. It comes with a lot of examples and it's also very affordable.

Game Engine Architecture
The Game Engine Architecture is for serious Game Programmers, who really want to develop professional games which are both robust and has good performance. This is not a Java book and examples are in C++ but it's still a must-read book for any game programmer. It provides a complete guide to theory and practice of game engine software development.

best book for Game programmers

Killer Game Programming in Java
Another best book to learn game programming in Java is the "Killer Game Programming in Java", you simply cannot go wrong with it. This book is published by O'Reilly and some of you might think its quite old as well, given it was published on 2005 but I can tell you the book is still relevant. In short, The Killer Game Programming in Java by Andrew Davison is one of the must-read books if you are developing games in Java.

best book to write games in Java

Beginning Java 8 Games Development
Finally, since many of my readers have specifically asked about Game programming book in Java 8, I'm assuming you've seen this book already, but I will mention it in case you haven't. This is the book I gave to my colleagues who was learning Java 8 and relatively new to programming. It may be a bit easy for your level if you are already a decent programmer. If you need more Java 8 books, you can also check this list.

best game programming book in Java 8

That's all about some of the best books to learn Java and Android Game programming. You can develop games for the living but if you are not doing so then also you can learn some of these books to just improve your programming and coding sense. In my experience, developing games are the best way to learn programming and coding.

Some of you might be wondering how easy it is to port a game coded in Java to iOS and iPad. Even though Java is Platform Indepent, as much I know, there is no JVM for iOS. You would need to convert the Java code to Objective-C to port your Java games to iOS for running on iPhones and iPads.

There are tools that can help you do this, but I imagine it would be quite a bit of work, especially if you did not keep iOS porting in mind when designing the game in Java, but if If you use LibGDX, you don't have to actually port it, just add backend.

Further Learning
Introduction to Android Development By John Sonmez
The Complete Android N Developer Course
Android Java Masterclass - Become an App Developer

Other Book Recommendations for Programmers
10 Books Every Programmer Should Read
10 Algorithm Books a Programmer Should Read
5 Books to Improve Coding skill
5 Books to Learn and Master SQL
10 Books to prepare Programming/Coding Interviews
5 Books to Learn Data Structure and Algorithms

Thanks for reading this article, if you like these books then please share with your friends and colleagues. If you have any question or you have a very good on game programming, particularly Java or Android then please share with us.

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