I'll be back

November 15th, 2007

I'm going away for a week on holiday. I will be back on the 24th. All mail, death-threats, wealthy Nigerian widows and Viagra special offers will go unanswered until then.


A bad review

November 14th, 2007

I got a bad review of my book on Amazon.com. I wanted to post a comment to address his points, but Amazon told me that I must have purchased an item to post -- which I have (many times)! So I thought I would post my comment here (below).

I'm the author of Beginning Game Development with Python and Pygame. Let me take a moment to comment on your scathing review.

1) As the title of the book indicates, the book is intended for beginners. As such there is an introduction to Python in the first two chapters. A total of 30 pages out of approximately 300. I don't think this is unreasonable.

2) Some of the smaller listings aren't in the downloadable files because they weren't intended to run independently. A few small stand-alone listings in the early chapters don't have filenames by them. My fault entirely, but then the downloadable code is organized in to a folder for each chapter - making it simple to find a listing you are looking for. The downloadable files don't include the GameObjects library (or PyOpenGL). This is intentional -- it is better to get the up-to-date versions. However, full instructions on how to download and install these libraries are given in the README.txt file and the book.

3) I use the GameObjects vector class because it is simple to use and efficient. But I do talk about how to go about creating your own vector class, which is far more important than the choice of library. I don't use the Pygame sprite class, because it is more important that the reader knows how to manage sprites manually, before using the short-cut.

4) You must walk before you can run, young padawan. Pygame isn't a game creation kit, it is an API. You can't write a game if you don't know how to do the simple stuff. If I write about how to create tic-tac-toe, then all you can do is create tic-tac-toe games.

5) 3D games are important. I don't think you can find a clearer more accessible introduction to 3D anywhere, for any language.

There are topics that I would have have covered, if I had more time and space (although my book still covers more subjects than typical games books twice the size). Games development is a huge field. I chose to cover the essentials and topics that are poorly covered elsewhere. You are entitled to your one-star review Craig, but I would ask others to check out the free chapter on my blog before making a decision.


Will McGugan


Free Game

November 8th, 2007

In 2005 I released a fun little puzzle game called Ping Ball. It took me 9 months of spare time to write, and I did all the coding down to the hand tuned assembler code for the blitters, and even render the sprites myself with Povray. It was the first project where I used the sub-pixel sprite technique, that I recently replicated in Python. The resolution is only 640x480, but you would swear it was a lot higher. I thought it was a great game, I enjoyed working on it, and I loved playing it. So I assumed I would do well selling it. I was wrong! It sold very few copies, apparently it was too hard for the casual games market, and didn't appeal to more dedicated gamers. *sigh* Here are a couple of screenshots...

PingBall Screenshot shot41.jpg

As someone who likes to create things, there is nothing worse than creating something that few people will ever see. So I have decided to give away the full version for free, as an experiment.

Download Ping Ball (full version) Update: You will need the following license key to unlock it: PING-43a3-2a4a-cb8a-1c23

I think it will appeal to programmers. There is a slight arcade feel, but basically it is a logic game where you have to think on your feet. The basic premise of the game is to bounce 'ping balls' around the screen by dropping mirrors in front of them and collect all the crystals.

I'm toying with the idea of making it Open Source, but I really don't have the time to maintain it or port it to other platforms (currently it's Windows only). So I would only release the code if there was a demand for it.

I hope somebody enjoys playing it as much as I do!

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