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Thursday, March 12, 2020

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 that allowed you to develop and sell games in Java, like 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 its high-performance and many top game development companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft Xbox 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 like 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 the LWJGL methods.

Btw, if you are interested in game development and want to learn the Android platform, the largest mobile platform for Java developers then I suggest you join The Complete Android Developer course on Udemy. This is an hands-on, project-based online training course where you will learn to build 23 Android apps from scratch.

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 like Super Mario Bros.

That's one reason I strongly recommend to all programmers to write few games like 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 that 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 like Game Programming Patterns by Rober Nystrom and Game Engine Architecture by Jason Gregory.

1. 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 takes to develop 2D interactive games using touch control.

This is also a good book to learn different UI components of Android by developing interesting games. You can also combine this book with The Complete Android N Developer Course on Udemy for some visual learning. I generally found that a book and online course combination works great for learning new technology.

Top 5 Java And Android Game Programming Books for Programmers

2. 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, for example, a command pattern you can read this book. Its example of a command pattern to map to the buttons on the remote of any Game console like 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. For Game developers, I suggest combining this book with The Complete LibGDX Game Course Using Java course for the better learning experience.

Best game programming book in Java

3. 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 a very popular one. It comes with a lot of examples and it's also very affordable.

4. 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 the theory and practice of game engine software development.

best book for Game programmers

5. 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 in 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

6. 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 were 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 Independent, 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 and if you want to learn Java Game Development using LibGDX then The Complete LibGDX Game Course Using Java is an excellent course to start with.

Other Books and Courses Recommendations for Programmers
The Complete Java Developer RoadMap
10 Books Every Programmer Should Read
Top 10 Courses to learn Java Programming
10 Algorithm Books a Programmer Should Read
Top 10 Free Courses to learn Data Structure and Algorithms
5 Books to Improve Coding skill
Top 5 Courses to learn Object-Oriented Programming
5 Books to Learn and Master SQL
Top 5 courses to learn Database and 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 questions or you have a very good on game programming, particularly Java or Android then please share with us.

P. S. - If you want to develop games for masses then there is no better platform then Android and iOS and if you are looking for free courses to start with Android and iOS, I suggest you go through this list of free Android courses and free iOS courses for beginners.

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