Ok, I realize my definition of a week may vary from what you might traditionally expect. When I started this concept I thought I would find things all the time, and winnowing it down to a single item would be the biggest challenge! Hunting down cool things is trickier than I thought! This “week” was quite easy, it was brought to my attention using the contact form on this site. If you have something you think other developers ( and developers in training ) would be interested in, send it to me!
Anyways, enough about my apparent inability to tell time, on to the cool thing. Are you interested in learning game programming but are intimidated by the gigantic mountain of details ahead of you? I understand your frustration, it’s an overwhelming subject with so much to learn and so many options available to you, options that you really aren’t well equipped to answer yet. This is why I put together my beginners guide and you may notice that one of the languages I suggested was Python, although that section was pretty sparse. Well this item goes a long way towards fixing that.
Author Albert Sweigart has created not just one, but two Python books about learning to program games using python. The first book teaches the Python language by building a number of classic “basic” games including Hangman, Tic Tac Toe and Reversi. Then around chapter 17, he starts to address more advanced games using the popular Pygame library. Three chapters is far too little time to deal with this subject, and clearly the author agrees, as the entirety of the second book is about using Python with PyGame.
The second book creates much more advanced games, while still teaching Python concepts by example. In this book you create a minesweeper-esque game, a SNAFU/Nibble clone, a 2D Katamari Damacy’ish with squirrels game, a box pusher type game and a handful more. It is slightly more involved than the first book, but together you should have no problems with it. The author set out to write a book that a 12 year old could understand and I believe he has succeeded.
At this point you may be wonder why exactly I’ve featured these particular books, there are literally thousands of books out there. Good question and how is this for an answer… They are free! Al has made both books available under the creative commons license completely free, by almost any definition of the word. You can head over to InventWithPython.com and read either book online, or download them as PDF. Absolutely no strings attached.
That said, if you are the type that prefers a physical book in your hands, or you want to reward the author for his hard work, both Invent Your Own Computer Game with Python and Making Games with Python and PyGame are both available on Amazon, for less than 25$. Looking at the reviews, it seems both of this books accomplished what they set out to do.
So, if you are just starting out or are picking up the Python language, these two books are a very good place to start. Really, at a grand total price tag of 0$, what have you got to lose?
Cool Thing of the Week