I would also recommend this book to an adult who wants to learn the basics of game programming. It's a pretty fast read, very easy to follow. I personally learned a lot from this book. I've been programming computers for 30 years, but I've never written a graphics-based game before, and this book efficiently and easily goes through all the techniques for creating good games very quickly. I think it would also be fairly easily followed by a teen or adult who has never programmed before.
The book uses Blitz Basic, which is optimized for writing computer games and seems to be much easier to use than Visual Basic (the computer language I first tried when teaching my child). A trial version of Blitz Basic is on the CD-ROM included with the book, and the full version (called BlitzPlus) can be purchased online if desired (but is not required). The CD-ROM also includes excellent example artwork, animations, and sounds for the games described in the book, which is a great way to get a teen or pre-teen into programming without getting bogged down with creating art and sounds from the start.
By the way, this book covers creating 2D games (like Pong, Space Invaders, that sort of thing). 3D games are (I am told) much more challenging, and are covered in other books. (Blitz Basic is for 2D games; for 3D games, there is a related programming language called Blitz3D.)
I have one important complaint about this book, which is why I gave it 4 stars rather than 5 stars. There are many errors in this book. It could have used more careful technical editing. For example, in the section on arrays, the author carefully explains how the indexes for a 30-element array range from 0 to 29, and cautions the reader not to try accessing element 30 (which is one past the end of the array), and then proceeds to give a sample program that makes exactly this mistake. There are several errors of this magnitude in the book, and at least a minor mistake every 3 or 4 pages. It's unfortunate, because these mistakes can be very confusing to a beginning programmer.
But having said that, I still very much recommend this book. It's a good one. Congratulations to the teenage author who wrote it, excellent job!
I couldn't have been happier with my purchase.
The author, although only a teenage himself, is absolutely brilliant. I am in awe at how straightforward and clear his lessons are in the book. I was able to get throught the first 100 pages in less than 2 days, and now I can create practically any text-based game I want!
The Language the book is based on, BlitzBasic, is basically noting more than the BASIC language (Which you may have already guessed is just that, basic) with the ability to do many graphical-oriented jobs, among other things. This allows the programmer to work on the code for the game itself, rather than the tedious as extravagant code of graphics libraries, Windows objects, ect.
Like a previous reviewer said, this book really gives you the feeling "Yes, I can do this" when the idea of a programming project comes to mind. I actally have a new-found confidence in my programming abilities, and plan on tackling C++ again once I have mastered BlitzBasic.
By the way, more information on the BlitzBasic program can be found at www.blitzbasic.com. I am already very impressed, and plan on buying the full version.
If you are looking to get started in programming, games or otherwise, teen or not, BUY THIS BOOK!
If you're already experienced in programming, and looking for a fun and easy way to get started in game progamming, BUY THIS BOOK!
If you're disgruntled with programming games in other languages and looking for an easier method, BUY THIS BOOK!