I really enjoy reading books from other people in the web development industry so I plan to start a weekly post about a new book I have read.
Anyway first up is ‘HTML5 games development by example’ written by Makzan. When I first picked up this book I was excited to read about how I could get started with making my own HTML5 games so I wanted to jump right in but for the purpose of this review I started with reading chapter 1 ‘Introducing HTML5 games’.
To get started the book helps you to discover new features in HTML5 which can be used for the purpose of creating a game. This includes short descriptions of the canvas element, audio, geolocation, webgl, web socket, local storage, offline application and CSS transitions. This is very helpful to people who haven’t already read up on HTML5 new features and want to know about the features they will learn to use as a part of this book.
Before you get started with your development the book gives you links to example games all of which use HTML5 and CSS3. This is really useful for those of you who want to see what is already possible using these technologies and a good way to how the doubters that HTML5 is the future of gem development on the web and that flash is going to go the way of the commodore 64 (which I must point out I’m to young to remmber’. Unfortunately I was disappointed that in between the day the book was written and the day I started reading the book some of the links were unavailable but as we all know this is the nature of the Internet and we can’t blame the author for this would one would home all the links will be checked before a second edition (if their is one) goes to print.
The book does a good job of explaining the benefit of HTML5 games to both the developers and the end users as neither have to rely on a browser plugin for these games to work. Saying that, I feel that a little more could have been said about the disadvantages of HTML5 games, these being that your users need to have a compatible browser and even in the latest releases of Firefox some features you might want to use are unavaliable. Both Google Chrome and Safari do a good job of providing support for everything you need though, we are now just waiting for everyone else to catch up.
One thing I particularly liked about the book was that it didn’t assume you were a jQuery guru and spent time to explain how to use the basic jQuery selectors, it explained the benefit of using jQuery but unfortunately didn’t point out the main disadvantage, that being the extra load it adds to both the DOM and the page load. To get you started it shows you how to manipulate CSS using jQuery and then advances you from their.
For those wishing to get into game development that already have a background in HTML it is great as it helps you extend your knowledge into game development. One type of person that the book is perfect for would be anyone looking to get into iOS game development, through combining what we learn from this book with PhoneGap we are able to deploy iOS native games easily.
The pricing of the book depends on which format you read it in, the kindle version clocks in at £17.47 where as the paperback is £22.39 (or £27.99 on amazon). This again shows the huge savings you can achieve if you are using a Ebook reader, I myself used my iPad to read this book. The best deal for buying this book though has to be the PDF version available direct from the publisher at only £16.14.
So no review wouldn’t be complete without some sort of scoring, so I score the book as follows.
Value for money – 7/10 – although the ebook is fairly cheap I would like to see it sitting around the £9.99 mark as this would give younger people with less to spend more incentive to pick up this book and learn from it.
Ease of understanding – 8/10
To buy the book I advise you get it direct from publisher at Packtpub