Help Me Write a Book!

I just finished writting the proposal for the APress book “Beginning Android Game Programming”. This includes the full detailed Table of Contents. I would love the get feedback from you people out there on the contents of the book. You can find the table of contents at http://www.file-pasta.com/file/0/toc.pdf.

What i want from you:

  • What do you think of the structure of the toc?
  • Is there anything missing for a beginner’s book?
  • Is there anything you’d like to see added?

I will send this proposal to Apress tomorrow evening. Maybe i’ll wait till tuesday evening if i get a lot of feedback to integrate. Thanks for any replies!

8 thoughts on “Help Me Write a Book!

  1. Hi Mario

    I have nothing particular to add as i think everything is there, what i would be interested in. One thing though… a book for beginners? He has to be an enthusiast or the book needs to be mighty thick. There is a lot of ground to cover.

  2. Looks good. Perhaps it would be good to include a whole chapter on targeting the entire Android ecosystem and condense information in that regard all in one place. IE you have driver problems listed after the VBO discussion and touch floods listed elsewhere, but pulling it all together including manifest and resource tricks to get things working with 1.5+ requirements in a section that discusses targeting the ecosystem with the why and how could be pertinent. Topics on reflection and how to deal with the Android SDK across versions and a discussion of the additive nature of the SDK and OS evolution seem valuable to cover. Games & apps that can reach across the ecosystem and the long tail of devices can sell more copies, etc. A more advance topic I’m fond of and will be covering in the tutorial material I plan to put out is the limits of OO design and implementation when it comes to game dev and targeting the wide Android ecosystem from an architecture point of view. It may be good to cover some basic OO patterns that are useful for game dev though (flyweight, MVC, and such).

  3. The book is indeed for beginners and i think that is reflected in the topics covered as well as the topics left out. I hope to get it below 400 pages, i’m allowed to go 800 pages. If that happens i will probably put a bullet between my eyes though.

  4. I agree that there should be a seperate pitfall and caveat chapter that puts all those nice quirks in one place. It’s a hen and egg problem though as i have to discuss somethings before others and vice versa. I see what i can do about that.

    Design patterns are indeed something i’d like to include. However, i don’t want to dedicate a whole chapter to that, others have covered that topic in a lot more depth than i possibly could. I try to at least promote the MVC pattern, as can be seen by the reuse of the code for the 2D shmup in the 3D shmup which relies on the seperation of logic and presentation.

    Reflection is really only needed if you go multi-touch which i will not do in this book. The reason for this is that multi-touch is not available or severly broken on > 50% of current Android devices. I’ll just state that fact and move on.

    Thanks for the input, guys!

  5. Yah. Context is important, but a chapter providing an index that may cover the whole topic and provide pointers to other sections in the book where related ecosystem topics are covered could be good. Perhaps it could be a later chapter say between 10 & 11 or after 11. I think something to keep in mind too especially since it’s a beginner book is to provide the enabling ideas on how to attack certain problems with the Android OS/SDK across versions and not get caught up on specific applications such as the multitouch issue. In general I think the really good beginners books set up and provide the basic mindset on how to tackle problems at hand, but also how to approach similar issues that are beyond the current scope of material covered. That gives the book some staying power too.

    Mind that embedding conditional logic and reflection code is one of the design / architecture general trouble spots. In my efforts I’ve spent a terrible amount of time trying to come up with an architecture that externalizes that kind of thing. Yah.. beginner book and all.. There is no doubt that Android dev in general that targets the wide ecosystem requires a new approach at least to get to a graceful point where things are less get “kludgey”. In that direction one can probably only note the limitations of certain approaches in a beginners book and inform readers of limitations so that they know there is more than one way to skin that proverbial cat.

    Perhaps some game marketing advice and Android market metrics with the benefits discussed of having a free version vs ad only. Licensing issues w/ the new licensing API and any obfuscation techniques. Yah can get into more advanced territory quickly, but these kinds of insights are worthy to include.

  6. I think Multi-touch is definitely a topic that should be covered in-depth. I see what you mentioned above, but that will quickly become the minority as newer and better phones come out all with Android 2.2 or higher and bigger screens all supporting multi-touch (not to mention the slew of tablets coming out soon with 2.2 or higher on them). I think that is a big draw to new developers and beginners is the whole multi-touch experience, and being able to make a game or app to take advantage of the newest technologies and tablets.

    I would love to pick up this book in the future as I am always looking to read new material, but that is something I always look for as other books seem to ignore it as well or just briefly touch on it and move on. Seems hard to find good instructional material on this.

    Maybe it is a more of an advanced topic, but a good section showing a cool sample app would be awesome. Something for beginners to try out and have fun with. Just my two cents…

  7. I have to agree to some extend. However, i don’t see the slew of new fully multi-touch devices in the near future. Most devices sold are actually the cheap Android phones which still have 1.6. The same is true for tablets, with some getting out this year still having 1.5 on them. Then there’s the problem that you can’t debug multi-touch on the emulator.

    I will definetly go into details about multi-touch, it’s simple enough and should be covered in a couple of pages. However, i’ll also make sure that people know that it is broken on most devices at the moment. No update to 2.1 or 2.2 can change that.

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