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  • Book Review: Basic Game Design and Creation for Fun and Learning

    [09.12.06]
    - Brad Kane

  • Feature!Introductory Topics

    After a quick primer on the Game Maker software, the authors begin with an introduction to the world of object-oriented game design. In the first tutorial, you’ll learn key design concepts such as creating game rooms and game events, understanding object lifecycles and actions, working with collisions, and keeping a running score. You’ll also take a foray into image asset management, and do a little graphical work with sprites and text in the software’s image editor.

    Next up is a more detailed look at object technology, including the core components of an object, an introduction to object hierarchies, and a number of more advanced topics such as behavior encapsulation and polymorphic responses. Armed with this new knowledge, you’ll then create a series of games that teach you to assign keyboard controls to various objects, dynamically change the appearance of an object based on cursor actions, and integrate projectiles into your games.

    Game Maker
    Game Maker Interface

    By midway through the book, you’ll be working with multiple levels, keeping track of player health, and tallying a running score. Who knew game design could be so easy?

    Advanced Topics

    The book gradually moves into more advanced territory: the importance of inheritance, the use of simple in-game physics (e.g. gravity and friction), leveraging paths and timelines, and including user variables. There’s a chapter dedicated to the art and science of debugging, and another that discusses the finishing touches which round a game out, such as title screens and background music.

    For the grand finale, the authors explore the world of platform games – and you can’t help but enjoy creating the Mario-like tutorial game, called “The Color Game.” You’ll also find some tips and tricks for designing games in other genres, such as side-scrolling shooters and driving games, for which the CD-ROM includes a number of examples.

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