GameSalad Textbook

24

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  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    OK, the book project is officially on. Are there any specific topics people want covered? Some have been mentioned already, and I already have a long list of topics too, but we can keep this thread going if people want to make requests.

    End of July is the deadline... will I make it?!
  • IntelligentDesignerIntelligentDesigner Member Posts: 517
    Like most good developer's guides in the aftermarket, it would be great if there were examples to get you started. Barebones frameworks for classic games like "Space Invaders", "Galaga/Galaxian", "Missile Command", "Joust", "Dig-Dug","Pac-Man", "Centipede", "Tempest", "Donkey Kong", "Zelda", "Defender", Lunar Lander", "Street Fighter", etc. would be awesome. Maybe you could collaborate with WayneH001?

    I'd be willing to contribute boilerplate routines for "In-app Purchasing", "iAds", "GameCenter", "Social Networking" and the like, in case we get access to our "XCode Source" that Gendai writes from our XML .gameproj files prior to compiling.
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    IntelligentDesigner said:
    Barebones frameworks for classic games

    I think that retro gamers will be quite satisfied with the content that I'm planning to include.
    I'd be willing to contribute boilerplate routines for "In-app Purchasing", "iAds", "GameCenter", "Social Networking" and the like, in case we get access to our "XCode Source" that Gendai writes from our XML .gameproj files prior to compiling.

    I doubt Gendai Games is going to allow XCODE modifications in the next month. If they do, that's really a topic for another book. XCODE is complicated, GameSalad is supposed to be user friendly. Now while I am planning to include some advanced techniques & topics in my book, it's geared for a general audience. I think iAds and GameCenter might make an appearance in GameSalad by the end of July. If so, I can easily add those topics into the book.

    One of the reasons I'm making this book is to keep myself busy. Ranting on these forums about iAds is not productive. I think Gendai Games got the message. So, if you see me babbling on, now you can easily say something like... "Don't you have a book to write Mike?"

    I plan to visit this thread to see if people make requests and to post status updates about the production of the book. Hopefully I'll make everyone proud when I'm done. This is our community and it should have a high quality textbook!
  • iPhoneDevForMeiPhoneDevForMe Member Posts: 362
    I suggest having 3 or so full games throughout the book. First game is beginner and easy to make but still shows the potential of GameSalad.

    Every game after that will just build off the last and become more complex, constantly exposing the reader to the same techniques used in a different way.

    This will teach the reader how to use GameSalad, but wont make them have to wait untill the end of the book to feel like they have accomplished something! It lets them have that "I just made a game" feeling early on, and hooks them!

    Just some idea's!
  • JackBQuickJackBQuick Member Posts: 524
    @Photics - It's wonderful that you are willing to take on this project yourself but isn't Yodapollo working on it already? According to 'The Big Picture' - May Update: April Part II (under Improved Knowledge Base), there will be "a vastly updated set of wiki and video tutorials as well as the first-ever GameSalad Manual".
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    Yes, it seems that he is. However, judging from the speed of the updates, I suspect that my book should be completed well before that happens. Plus, even if that's not that the case, he's creating a manual. Video games come with manuals, but I still go to Gamefaqs.com for strategy guides and cheats. In addition to GameSalad basics, the book is going to cover... marketing your game, designing your game, how to avoid common pitfalls, creating artwork for your game, creating sound effects for your game. You can go to GameSalad.com for the technical. This book is more about the total game creation process and how to make it more productive.

    ...and then there are the optimization tricks I've learned.
    ...and my game samples.
    ...and perhaps interviews with professional game developers.

    Will there be redundant topics, definitely. The wiki already has lots of useful information, but I think my approach will create something unique, entertaining and informative.

    It should be a very good book!
  • JackBQuickJackBQuick Member Posts: 524
    @Photics - It sounds like you've thought about this a lot. Good luck with your book. I admire your enthusiasm. And, congratulations on the success of Commove!
  • POLYGAMePOLYGAMe Member Posts: 3,470
    You know what I'd prefer? A DVD of tutorial videos. I prefer those to reading as you can see it being done. Tshirtbooth's videos have been endlessly helpful for me... I just want more of them!

    I'd still buy a book though. Bought a Unity one... fat lot of good that was.
  • chosenonestudioschosenonestudios Member Posts: 1,714
    Not to mention that if yoda wasn't working on a manual... He could be doing more important stuff.... Say improving GameSalad... *Hint Hint*

    Good luck Photics!
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    POLYGAMe said:
    You know what I'd prefer? A DVD of tutorial videos.

    Video files could be embedded in a PDF, so I thought about including video tutorials. But I'm targeting iBooks, so I don't think it's a good idea. I don't know if the video files would run well in the app... if at all.
    chosenonestudios said:
    Not to mention that if yoda wasn't working on a manual... He could be doing more important stuff.... Say improving GameSalad... *Hint Hint*

    Well, that is part of the main idea. I don't know if Yodapollo is a coder... but if the book is so good that people stop asking Gendai Games for GameSalad documentation, then that frees him focus on other aspects of community management and GameSalad marketing.

    I'm thinking that's an unlikely scenario. It seems more likely that GameSalad developers will soon have a plethora of GameSalad documentation.
  • MightyBooshMightyBoosh Member Posts: 83
    I'm in. It'd be good if it covered several different game genres and gave tips / examples about each one. Gamesalad game creation for the rest of us...Just a thought
  • QuinnZoneStudiosQuinnZoneStudios Member Posts: 452
    It might be good to cover game types - side scrolling platforms, jumpers, shooters, puzzles, endless backgrounds etc. Within that, how to use timers, make moving platforms, how to score and save score, save game and open it up where you left off. I still can't get my volume sliders behaving right!

    I also have found video tutorials really helpful. If you did videos, maybe they could just link to a separate site, perhaps password protected for the people who bought the book? Update the password monthly to avoid too many non purchasers getting in?

    Still the biggest weakness for me is the math functions, so real recipes would be awesome. Just be sure to test everything before putting it in the book ;)

    Once this is out, I'm pretty sure you'll have lots more buying it so I think you'll do well.

    Thanks again!

    Mike
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    There's an entire chapter dedicated to math... another chapter to physics... and an ENTIRE SECTION to game examples. (with the possibility of one massive project running throughout the entire book). The plan is to systematically going through every aspect of game creation with GameSalad.
  • gyroscopegyroscope I am here.Member, Sous Chef, PRO Posts: 6,577
    Photics said:
    There's an entire chapter dedicated to math... another chapter to physics... and an ENTIRE SECTION to game examples. (with the possibility of one massive project running throughout the entire book). The plan is to systematically going through every aspect of game creation with GameSalad.

    Sounds excellent! :-)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Spiral Gyro Apps

    ""You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike." - Zork        temp domain http://spidergriffin.wix.com/alphaghostapps

  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    OK, now I'm going to get serious. Since I'd like to publish the book by the end of the month, I'm going to try not posting here until the book is done. It been fun discussing GameSalad with you, but it's also very distracting. So, unless it's to cheer the inclusion of iAds in GameSalad, the next post from me on here should be something like... "The book is done and here's where to buy it."
  • Rob2Rob2 Member Posts: 2,402
    I hope you will be posting some sample pages/chapters?
  • aracknoraracknor Member Posts: 54
    I will buy if you hurry unless i learn everything the hard way first. Don't worry at my pace you have like a decade to finish it. So in other words save me a copy of the text book, a copy of the quick reference guide and a set of the quick reference index cards...
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    Photics said:
    So, unless it's to cheer the inclusion of iAds in GameSalad, the next post from me on here should be something like... "The book is done and here's where to buy it."

    Hooray! It seems that iAds will be included in 0.8.8
    http://gamesalad.com/wiki/whats_new:gamesalad_0.8.8

    ...but it seems that I have to go pro in order to get it. I'll have to seriously consider this matter.

    Photics: Revisions "Lite" was just approved.
    http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=332511745&mt=8

    It has iAds. I'm going to watch how this app does. If it does as well, I'll probably be going Pro.
    Rob2 said:
    I hope you will be posting some sample pages/chapters?

    Yes, I'm planning to include something of a preview.

    The progress on the book has been slower than I thought. But wow... it's a really good book. I've been systematically going through every aspect of GameSalad. In doing so, I learned new things. This book is highly educational - even for me. I'm looking forward to releasing it to the community.

    I'm still hoping to finish it by the end of the month. That seems less likely now, but it's still my goal.
  • peachpellenpeachpellen Member Posts: 977
    I'm poor and don't read much; but when I had the money I would ABSOLUTELY buy it. :)

    (I know you already had 10, but just sayin' is all.)
  • design219design219 Member Posts: 2,273
    I'm starting to really feel the need for this book. Looking forward to it.

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  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    peachpellen said:
    I'm poor and don't read much; but when I had the money I would ABSOLUTELY buy it. :)

    (I know you already had 10, but just sayin' is all.)

    That's good to know. I'm still working out the final page number and the price. International shipping is a challenge. I might handle the shipping myself. It seems that the PDF will be available first, and should be significantly cheaper than the printed version.

    ...like $14.95 for the PDF and $24.95 for the book.

    I'm not sure of the final price yet, as I like $19.98 for the printed book, as that's the year I started Photics.com. It depends on the final page count. Considering that I created three pages just for "Display Text" ...and I found a trick that I don't think has been discussed here (and even the ones that were are scattered across the site) ...I don't know how long this book is going to go. I'm being very VERY detailed. The community wanted more documentation... high-quality documentation... I think this book is going to meet that need.
  • design219design219 Member Posts: 2,273
    How will you handle the ever changing nature of the software? Will you offer pdf updates?
  • AppChogieAppChogie Member Posts: 503
    Where do I pay I'm in
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    design219 said:
    How will you handle the ever changing nature of the software? Will you offer pdf updates?

    I'm still working that out. One idea is that, yeah, the PDF should probably be updated... which is why it might be a little bit more expensive than a PDF should be... and why the printed book will be offered a little bit later. I'm thinking that 1-year of updates from purchase is a nice value, but then I have to manage subscriptions and send new PDFs, so it gets really tedious.

    ...but then I think... no... I only update until 1.0 is released... and the book is made available when GameSalad is out of beta. Then, when 2.0 is released, I can make a new edition of the book.

    So far, I'm leaning towards the latter scenario.

    I'm not sure which is best. I still have to review the e-commerce software. Right now I'm focusing on creating the book, but updates are a concern.
    AppChogie said:
    Where do I pay I'm in

    That's good to know. The PDF should be available from Photics.com "soon". The target deadline is the end of this month, but I'm concerned that the book project could run longer than that. I'm setting up a digital download system, with Google Checkout for processing. Ordering the printed book may be handled the same way, as I'm thinking about doing the shipping myself. I can make more money and charge less per book by eliminating the middle-man. But of course, that means a lot more work for me. HA!
  • adadoadado Member Posts: 219
    A general GS creator app introduction highlighting its features and a general description of each behavior and the behavior's options would be a good first couple chapters. Then maybe an advanced topic chapter covering the nitty gritty - maybe melded into a "hacking" GS type thing (or make that the final chapter). Then the rest done as a "cookbook" divided into chapters on audio, video, touch, etc. or something thereabouts. Just spouting off some pick-n-choose ideas.
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    The outline is pretty solid now. I don't anticipate major changes to it, as I don't think it's necessary. I'm covering every aspect of creating a GameSalad game, from the idea stage (GameSalad game types) to marketing your app on the iTunes store.

    Behaviors are a big part of Chapter #4. I'm going through each one, giving detail explanations of what they do and often giving examples of where they should be used. That's about 25 pages.

    The book is not about "hacking" as GameSalad is not really that customizable. I don't discuss installing on a hackintosh at all, as I don't want to encourage that technique. However, I do have some cool tips placed throughout the book. HA... but I don't want to ruin the surprise.

    Wow, I'm so excited about this book. I'm glad that the GameSalad community is looking forward to it too.
  • adadoadado Member Posts: 219
    By hacking I meant mainly troubleshooting issues with GS as well as fixing/cleaning up manually within the ".gameproj" file itself (with plenty of DISCLAIMERS). Also, a WTF FAQ section on common "beta" issues may be a good thing or at least an Appendix that can later be removed.
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    There will be an Index. I paid good money for my copy of Adobe InDesign, so I'm certainly going to use that feature.

    I am planning to cover some package content changes. I haven't messed around in there too much though.

    Heh, and I like disclaimers. The Cool Tip on page 26 has one. HA HA!
  • PhoticsPhotics Member Posts: 4,172
    Wow, this is bad. I woke up with no motivation to work on my textbook project.

    The situation with iAds has ruined my morale. I have a really good game project, specifically designed with iAds in mind, but now I'm not sure what to do with it.
  • chosenonestudioschosenonestudios Member Posts: 1,714
    Whatever you do, Don't do nothing!
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