Beginning Android Games riding into the sunset

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.

Happy coding 🙂

23 thoughts on “Beginning Android Games riding into the sunset

  1. I learned basics of game programming with that book.It was a milestone for me.Thank you Mario,just for everything.

  2. It still is ‘THE’ book on creating android games. irreplaceable & most authoritative on the topic. me & the few android devs at my company started our journey reading your book. thanks Mario. Hope you wrote the next one on LibGDX 🙂

  3. A decent libGDX book is currently the main missing piece of the puzzle. Something that would help newcomers start off on the right foot and would ease the earning curve a bit.

  4. I won’t say too much about me on internet, but this book changed a lot of things for me. In a very good way. I am used to say it here, but you can be proud of you for what you’ve done. I owe you so many beers, mail me when you step in Paris.

  5. 2n edition is great and got me started with games programming. Very pedagogic and covers all the bases!

    I hope a new edition will get done somehow but regardless second edition stands strong. Thanks for putting in the effort to create the book!

  6. Its the book that really straightened me out with all my programming. The concepts in the book were easy to understand and helped me grow as a programmer. It also led me to libGDX which is the framework I use for everything now. While people say I should use Unity for the kind of games I’m writing, libGDX just makes it fun to program. Mario, congrats and thank you!

  7. It’s a great book ( for me the best), not only for gaming development but also for writing any kind of software. I love it.

  8. I just found this book very recently and was hoping that a new edition would come out soon, so it kind of saddens me to read this post, even though I liked it :). May I ask what you would do different for a new version, very succintly. I will buy the 2nd Edition and will try to use newer API’s. Thanks and good luck with your new job! 🙂

  9. The book is still a good learning tool by itself for understanding the basics of game development, taking Android as it’s base canvas. I’ve read the book then moved on to libGDX which implements every aspect covered in it plus a lot more.

  10. I completely agree. Though a more solid tutorials, and better documentation would be a great place to start. I say this as an experienced LIBGDX user.

  11. It’s the book I refer anyone too, when they want to start writing android games, it landed me my first two published titles, and it still rocks today. If you decide to do a libGDX version sometime, just tell us, I’ll be right there on the pre-order list. (mavi games)

  12. A short break from “Beginning Android games…” to work on “Beginning Oculus Rift games”… 😉

    I guess with such a helpful book it would be hard to “out write” it 😉 Thanks for all the help from the book, and with LibGDX so far! (And spreading your knowledge to help others!)

  13. hi, I am Ender which is from China, thx man. I just use your game platform to develop a game, it is first time for me. you do a great job. keep going! btw, I already read your first edition.

  14. Beginning Android Games is the sole reason I’ve been able to overcome the learning curve of building games for Android (and any other platform, really.) I’m well on my way to publishing my first game thanks to all your painstaking time spent writing it. A million thanks to you, my friend!

  15. I just picked up the book and im not sure if i should follow ch 2 when it comes to the set up of the JDK 6 as JDK 8 has come out. If anyone knows where i can get help with this would you mind giving me some links?

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