This is one of the first books I bought when I needed to learn Java. At the time I was changing jobs and was going to be teaching computer science for the first time, and Java was the language that we taught.
Even having never taught programming before, I knew that games would be a good way to hook students. There are probably only a handful of high school aged students in the country that haven’t played some type of computer game. Ok, that’s a wild speculation. So let’s just go with most high school students play computer games regularly.
The book is written for someone who has a bit of experience with Java, which at the time I did not. So I bought this along with another O’Reilly book on Java. Now that I know Java well enough for the book to server its goal of teaching game programming, I’ve shifted away from Java into ActionScript. Still teach Java. But AS3 is so close to Java that programming references in ActionScript port over to Java really well.
Biggest flaw I found with this book is the number of pages defending Java as a good language for writing games. It came across as too defensive. But, you can write games in any language. No, I wouldn’t use Java to do anything that was really graphic intensive. But I have seen some student created games written in Java that were absolutely amazing.
On the other side, the author does get the point across that Java is a valid option for some games.
Best part is the coverage of basic game design patterns. Using a language like Java that forces OOP concepts has helped me program in ActionScript which is OOP, but it’s possible to sort of ignore some of the object oriented parts.
If you’re interested, Amazon still sells the book. It was published in 2005, but Java is Java and the concepts still apply. They also sell it for Kindle which is what I would do if I was going to buy the book today.