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iDano84 avatar 5:15 PM on 01.10.2008  (server time)
Beginning Game Development: A Refreshers Approach (Pt. 2 of 42)

Greetings out there once again Dtoid NationÖ

Itís been a busy past few days, but today I finally received the book Head First C# (Brain-Friendly Guides) [ILLUSTRATED] (Paperback). I had a very time putting this book down after reading the first chapter so I could give you guys an impression on this book.

I will start out by basically showing you the Table of Contents (the first 4 chapters at and 1st lab at least), and discussing how well the first chapter covered the material, and the direction that the book takes after chapter 1 (Iím a cheater, I thumbed ahead).

Chapter 1: Get Productive with C#: Visual Applications, in 10 minutes or less
Chapter 2: Itís All Just Code: Under the hood
Chapter 3: Objects Get Oriented: Making Code Make Sense
Chapter 4: Types and References: Itís 10:00. Do you know where your data is?
C# Lab 1: A Day at the Races

The First Chapter
At first glance at Chapter 1, it seems a little overwhelming, because it throws you right into the mix of working with a database. This is what differs this text from all the rest out there in my opinion. Most other introductory and beginner texts out there baby you, and hold your hand, or just completely leave out the basics and throw you out in the pasture to dry up. The great thing about this book, is it cuts out all the BS. It throws you straight into coding working applications in the first chapter, and teaches you (or refreshes you in my case) on all the basic programming terminology, structures, and practices, things such as DataTypes, Proper Syntax, and object properties, along the way, showing, teaching, and allowing you to use them in a practical way. I have dealt with databases in other languages, I know how much of a pain in the ass databases can be from time to time. This was a very refreshing approach for a Introductory Programming book.

It also covers the 2008 Visual Studio Express IDE very well. However, not much can really be said in this if you have ever used a prior VS IDE then it will be pretty straight forward to understand the layout of the IDE. (or if you have just used any IDE period honestly).

In the end, you have created a hypothetical application which will allow your CEO/Boss to go paperless in his Rolodex Contacts. The application will install via the windows installer, which another great concept I have never seen covered from the start. Your boss will also have a 100% paperless Rolodex of all contacts and can access these contactís on either his Desktop in the office, or Laptop on the Go (application hypothetically installed on both machines).

Note: Much more material was covered in Chapter 1, however, the blog would have been entirely too long had I included it all.

Looking Ahead

Well, I will bluntly tell you, the chapters ahead are much like shiny objects to me. Iím very excited in what I have seen in my thumb through of the text. After completing chapter 4, you have your first of 3 labs. Which is a Mini-Game called ĎA Day at the Racesí. Iím very anxious to get to this first lab, because lets face it, Games are why I am doing this in the first place. The code examples and solutions scattered throughout the book look to be very promising as well, however, on initial glance, I did discover a few little syntax errors, but if you are actually reading the material, you will easily catch these errors and be able to avoid them in your code.

Remember those 3 labs I told you about? Well, all 3 labs are the development of a Game, whatís great about this, is that you can take your own creative twist on each one, and push the skills you have learned to the limit, because the solution code for the Labs, is not provided in the book nor in the downloadable content. By the final lab, you will be creating ĎSpace Invadersí which, to me, is nothing more than a little orgasmic nostalgia to say the least.

Final Thoughts

In the end, this book truly has set itself up to be very promising after reading the initial chapter and working through the initial chapter. C# 3.0, VS 2008, and .net 3.5 are all covered very well, and very indepth for the beginner to the language. If you are looking for a book to just teach you whatís new to C# 3.0/2008/3.5, this isnít the book for you. This book is not made to be a reference, and is made to be a teaching tool. If you want highly advanced concepts of C#, look elsewhere, because this is basically an indepth look with the building blocks to further your C# development. On another note, I am highly shocked to be praising this book as much as I am. I tend to dislike OíReilly books, in fact, this is the first OíReilly book I have ever read that I actually enjoyed (at least so far). I tend to stick with Thompson, Course, and MSPress. In the end however, this will make an excellent edition to your Computer related library, and a great foundation in your progress to creating the games of tomorrow.

Verdict: Worth Buying
I would recommend this title to anyone for a solid foundation in the C# language.

Notice: Iím not saying this book will make you prepared to write high end video games by the end of next week. This is only the foundation of a multi step learning process. Take your time on your journey and learn as much as possible. Rushing things will make you the next EA Sports developer.

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