A few months ago i was contacted by Apress on wether i want to give my book Beginning Android Games another update. The fist edition was published in April 2011, with two subsequent updates, Beginning Android 4 Games (horrible title i objected to in vein), and Beginning Android Games 2nd Edition. You can imagine that there’s some kind of emotional band between me and that 700+ pages behemoth. So, allow me to close this chapter of my life by giving you a short history of Beginning Android Games.
I still remember those initial 6 months of writing the first edition as if it was yesterday. Android was still young, and i found a nice niche with the book. The book was the perfect outlet to document all the small and big issues i encountered during those early days on top of trying to teach people how i think one could approach writing games for Android.
For 6 months i had a bi-weekly 3 days crunch where i’d write an entire chapter (20-80 pages, including formating, figures, tables and of course lots of code). I’d write at night after work on my little ASUS netbook, cursing MS Word every few minutes. If you ever get approached by a publisher, ask for a Latex template. Chances are they may not know what that is. If they do, you got a winner. The use of Sharepoint may be the second filter you can apply.
After a stressful 6 months spree, the book went to the print shop, ready to be shipped around the world. For a month i didn’t hear from anyone. In April 2011, the book was finally available for purchase. It was one of those moments in your life when you couldn’t be happier. I seldomely felt such a feeling of accomplishment, irrespective of wether the book would actually sell or not. Shortly after i got 20 physical copies which i handed to friends and family. An equally satisfying feeling.
The books climbed the ranks on Amazon and eventually held the #1 spot for many, many months in the game programming section. This was another milestone, and it’s hard to describe how it feels. The book sold really well appearently. A fact that was later confirmed by royalty statements from the publisher.
A few months later, Apress approached me again, saying it was time to update the book. I’d barely recovered from writing the first edition, so i found a co-author in Robert Green. He was another early Android game dev with whom i exchanged a lot of gossip about Android’s peculiarities (broken multitouch anyone?). He singlehandedly updated the book which eventually became Beginning Android 4 Games. We had quite a few discussions with the publisher about the misleading title. They didn’t give in. End result: the book didn’t sell well, the first edition has always outsold it. Many readers were upset about the title choice, and i can relate.
Another few months later, Apress had another update request. This time,the book would be called Beginning Android Games 2nd Edition. I took over most of the update this time, adding a few new chapters, e.g. how to use the NDK to speed up performance critical code. This edition did quite well again and held the first spot on Amazon for quite a while.
Finally, i got approached earlier this year to update the book for Android 5.0. Again, i felt like i needed a co-author as i was just about to change job and felt quite exhausted from a long stressful period at my old job. I found a willing victim in Justin (Nex). Sadly this didn’t work out for various reasons (none of which can be attributed to any single person involved).
The book opened many doors for me and allowed me to go places and meet people i wouldn’t have meet otherwise. That alone was worth the effort. It also showed me what can be done if you are determined. I’m really proud of what we achieved.
It is thus with great sadness that i have to announce that Beginning Android Games will not be updated by me or any co-author. It had a good 4 year run. Apress may still chose to find an update author on their own, which i’d mentor if they want me to.
I’d like to thank many, many people. Stef for keeping me sane while writing the first edition and putting up with me and an empty bed for all these months. Robert for being a splendid co-author. All the editors at Apress who helped the book become what it is (who sadly weren’t available to correct this blog post). And last but not least, all you readers for sending me a lot of kind words over the years and sharing your stories.