The next great Mac Game Development Book

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Post: #1
Over at the another great idevgames MMORPG discussion I asked:
igame3d Wrote:Where's these books some of you were supposed to be writing for five years?

To which there was this reply:
BeyondCloister Wrote:Personnally the real world of mortgages and other bills, setting up companies and developing exciting new products got in the way.

Exactly the same issues that come up in contests or individual development, there is nobody to pick up anyone's slack if they work alone and face the real world. iDevgames should, by now be shopping around for publishers of "Mac Game Development Gems" with a host of author's to list.

Please view Lua Programming Gems for an example of indivduals bringing what they have to a project that would be far too expansive for a single author.

I remember a conversation about publishing a few years ago, with people who contacted publishers who told them "there is no market for mac games programming books", might have been me talking to myself again...probably not though.

Since then new routes that cut out the old and dusty publishers have come about and new cool software for making mac games has made the scene.

Since then even Apple's web site has given Mac Game Development respect it didn't have in those earlier days.

Who here has had a book in the works?
Who has a page or more of anything on Mac Game Development written up?

Mark Szymczyk expects to have a new book out before the end of the year.

His prior Mac Game Programming is five years old now, and I've never seen it in a book store among the 20 "learn OS X in only 15,000 pages" titles. Briang Greenstones "Ultimate Game Programming Guide for Mac OS X" suffers the same "never seen in stores" fate.

There is an issue that both titles hold little interest to the majority of Mac users who are not and never want to be "programmers".

There needs to be "Mac game design and development", title because that 'design' word is what made Apple and the Mac community what it is today.
Apple and Mac developers win more awards for design than programming.

When is the last time your games have been reviewed at download portals with "stunning lines of code, i've never seen such sexy indenting"?
Doesn't happen, could happen in a book review though.

So anyway, I know some of you have something sitting on your hard drives or web servers.

Speak up and lets see where this goes.
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Post: #2
I could really use a good Mac game dev book myself. If there were one that consolidated information on SDL, OpenGL, Carbon, and Cocoa, and focused exclusively on things that were pertinent to making games, I would buy it, read it, and become unstoppable, like two turtles duct taped together. As it is, it's a bit daunting to have to read separate books for each API and language.

Naturally, such a book couldn't cover everything, and there would probably have to be different books for 2D and 3D to really get it right.

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igame3d Wrote:... Brian Greenstones "Ultimate Game Programming Guide for Mac OS X" suffers the same "never seen in stores" fate.

I remember reading somewhere a while back, when he put it out, that he said he had contacted publishers about the idea but they told him to take a hike because there was no market for such books. So what he did in response was to have a bunch of books printed and sent to him so that he could sell them through his site. He figured he'd at least break even with it, and last time I remember reading about it, that's just what happened.

I personally would love to chip in on a Mac game programming book. I actually started working on one a couple years ago but discovered after fifty pages or so just how hard it is. It was then that I realized how ridiculously large in scope the subject really is -- that is, if you are like me and can't do anything less than biting off more than one can chew.

I would suggest for any crew that dared to take on the task, identify the most commonly asked questions here at iDG and focus on those to narrow the scope of the book.

But in the end, and I hesitate to sound like a downer here, I suspect that such a project is not feasible to do in this community for some reason. There are a lot of super-smart folks here and the head-bumping would get in the way rather quickly, I would guess. It's not that it couldn't be done, but rather that it can be done so many different ways. Like for instance, what would the language and system API be? I'd say a thin Cocoa system layer and C for everything else. You will find zero consensus on that, I guarantee. It's like you'd have to have multiple books: One going my path, another going my path but Obj-C all the way, and another going my Path with C++ for the game core. Then do two more: One with C and SDL and another with C++ and SDL. Headaches dude, headaches...
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Post: #4
I think your concerns can be addressed by not letting anyone knock heads.

Like the Lua Gems book, people provide their area of expertise and the book covers as many subjects as are printable.

Somewhere in that bulk will be simple solutions and steps, followed up my some cracked out bi-polar 200 page treatise on all those issues you mention.

Note how the lua gems covers some of the same exact ground, yet is comes from a different perspective via a different author.

And yeah...thirty to fifty pages in is right about where most "non writers" start choking what they attempted to bite off, especially in a situation where you are coding, writing, double checking your code, correcting the writing, correcting your code, repeat rinse and spend time in a mental ward.

Thirty to fifty pages is also where you might lose your readers.

The compilation of Questions is a great idea, so whats the first question?

"How do I make a MMORPG?"

Second question
"I'm an artist/writer/sound guy/whatever, why is it so hard to find a Mac programmer to work with who doesn't tell me to go learn programming just so I can start making games?"


This could be very fun. :-)
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Post: #5
A wiki would be a good route for this, methinks.

Turning the wiki into a pdf / book would be the route to go.

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Post: #6
funkboy Wrote:A wiki would be a good route for this, methinks.

Turning the wiki into a pdf / book would be the route to go.

Doesn't someone here host a wiki?

The first problem to drop kick with wiki's is that they get spammed by bots.

Someone from the dim3 boards had a backup of an idevgames member's wiki, when I went to edit one of the entries I found 100 lines of viagra or something embedded within. Checked two more entries and found the same thing.

When I informed said user he decided to wipe the wiki out instead of restore from a backup.

I'm sure people with more wiki experience know how to prevent something like this.
I know I've never had any luck posting links to hot porn sites on Keith's wiki. LOL
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igame3d Wrote:I know I've never had any luck posting links to hot porn sites on Keith's wiki. LOL

Heh.

Actually, you've just been looking in the wrong place... I discovered recently that I had over 200 bug reports insisting that I needed to implement viagra, or hot lesbian teen orgies, or that my office sluts were buggy.

So, I turned off all permission to do anything, as I already had for the wiki proper, and other sections of the trac Wink

There is still a wiki at http://gamewiki.evolpenguin.com/, and buried deep in the history under all the spam is still some good content. Looking at the commit comments will help you figure out which page version contains the goodies Smile
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OneSadCookie Wrote:There is still a wiki at http://gamewiki.evolpenguin.com/, and buried deep in the history under all the spam is still some good content. Looking at the commit comments will help you figure out which page version contains the goodies Smile

This was the wiki I was refering to, I guess he had second thoughts before annihilating it. Isn't it an duplicate of another wiki? I believe he said that it was and gave that as the reason for it being "ok" to drop the delete bomb.
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igame3d Wrote:I remember a conversation about publishing a few years ago, with people who contacted publishers who told them "there is no market for mac games programming books", might have been me talking to myself again...probably not though.

About 4 years ago I wrote to 5 or 6 publishers. Some came back saying Mac books were not their market. One came back and said that their last Mac gaming book had sold hardly any units in the last quarter so that meant there was no demand for such a book. The fact that their book was to do with OS 9 and OS X had been out for a couple of years was just pure coincidence. Of course who in their right mind would then trust such a publisher with their hard work?

Only one came back with anything close to positive but they wanted to change the direction of the concept. However they then failed to get back to me on any of my replies.

I got as far as around the 200 page mark. I was not going for the wizzy 3D graphics kind of thing though. I was going down the similar kind of route to a lot of the early game programming books of the 1980s. The simple concepts of learning programming in a fun environment. The FlipSquare tutorials I did for CreateMacGames followed the same style and level. An ideal kind of book for those wanting to learn when told they need some programming experience before tackling that MMORPG.

I also had a section about the pros and cons of jumping into big projects straight off and other pitfalls to watch out for.
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Post: #10
A couple of years ago, I proposed a Mac game development gems book to Carlos as a fundraiser for iDevGames. The idea was discussed in the iDevGames chat room, and just about everybody preferred a book that built a complete game to a gems book. People couldn't agree on what game to make and couldn't agree on whether to make the book a programming book or a design/development book so the idea died.

If people are more open to a gems book now, wouldn't hosting the gems on iDevGames make sense? We're all here, iDevGames needs the content, and we wouldn't have to worry about spam on a wiki.

Mark Szymczyk
http://www.meandmark.com
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Post: #11
Sounds like the discussion happened during a uDevgames contest, I almost recall it.

[QUOTE=szymczyk;127873
If people are more open to a gems book now, wouldn't hosting the gems on iDevGames make sense? We're all here, iDevGames needs the content, and we wouldn't have to worry about spam on a wiki.[/quote]

A series of PDFS?
A series of forum threads in a new subsection?
Author designed web pages per chapter under an gems.idevgames subdomain?

Certainly something like this could work too, and working through someone like Lulu.com the content can be updated, posted, and printed by anyone who wants a hard copy to put on their local library bookshelf.

If Andrew already has 200 pages, and AnotherJake has 50, and we just keep naming names and counting pages, there will be a bulky volume ready to order off a self publishing site in no time, once we decide how to gather the material under one virtual roof.
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What about doing a "uDevGamesBook" competition?

Contestants have to write an article that could be used as a chapter in a Mac games book (any level or language, but maybe aimed as a more basic tutorial)?

Judging would potentially be a bit of a pain though Smile
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Post: #13
I believe nowadays there is even less market for *mac* games programming book than there was once, with bootcamp and great cross platform technology such as sdl and opengl.

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Zwilnik Wrote:What about doing a "uDevGamesBook" competition?

That's a very cool idea.
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Najdorf Wrote:I believe nowadays there is even less market for *mac* games programming book than there was once, with bootcamp and great cross platform technology such as sdl and opengl.

Likewise one could say "There is no market for *mac* games".
I do believe I've heard that mantra repeated at E3 and online too many times for the last decade.

The Xcode books don't cover games and go on for 600 pages about building currency converters and other boring apps. I picked up "Building Cocoa Applications" from the library and I have to thumb through some 300 pages before it even mentions a line of code.
So guess what? I won't even be opening Xcode except to build iGame3D from CVS by pressing one button.

Every game development book tells you how great Direct X is and how to do everything for .NET and for using Microsoft Visual something or other.

We are talking about millions of pages dedicated to windows development.
Tens of billions of dollars globally that Mac developers aren't seeing maybe .0001% of.

I go to the book store, any bookstore, and its row after row of "do something amazing with Windows", with a tiny subsection of "Mac OS X for dummies" and "itunes the missing manual"
and month after month the stock doesn't move, same damn books collect dust for five years.

An openGL book, or an SDL book doesn't cover anything about game design, project management, developing assets with Mac tools. None of that and because they don't cover these topics then they are completely and utterly useless to people who want to make games without gagging on hours of monotous and boring programming.

Not every game developer wants to program, nor do they want to reinvent the wheel as is too often done, just to make pong.

Thats why there is a need for an all around making games on a Mac book.
Covering design, production, programming as well as breaking into the market and industry.

I remember some here telling me there was no market for game making software on the Mac
and that nobody would ever make it, and that if they made it nobody would ever use it, and that it would never be useful in any way.

Funny how well Unity is doing just five years later.

Similiarly people here dissed Blender and Torque, and yet now there are what four Blender books and two Torque books or more. Hundreds of thousands of users worldwide.

Don't be short sighted, other people are already working on "books" and they deserve to be heard/read and make a real difference.

As for a contest, why not focus on collecting what is available, and then have a future contest address specific holes in the material, or addressing whatever an interested publisher desires after presenting what is already available, or addressing where the available material completely loses the new developer.

iDevgames does not have a good reputation of maintaining and consistantly hosting the material it has acquired from contests.
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