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When it comes to game programming, C++ is the name of the game. If you aspire to move from game player to game creator, it all starts with learning the fundamentals of C++ and game-programming basics. With BEGINNING C++ THROUGH GAME PROGRAMMING, FOURTH EDITION, you will find an up-to-date and thorough introduction to everything you need to get started�with no previous programming experience required. In the new fourth edition of this popular guide to learning C++, you will work with a complete program while learning each new concept and a game program at the end of each chapter. A final game project at the end of the book draws together everything you�ve learned. Written with the beginning programmer in mind, BEGINNING C++ THROUGH GAME PROGRAMMING, FOURTH EDITION is a great way to get started in game programming.

About the Author

Michael Dawson has worked as both a programmer and a computer game designer and producer. In addition to real-world game industry experience, Dawson earned his bachelor''s degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. He currently teaches game programming and design to students of all ages through UCLA Extension courses and private lessons. Visit his Web site at www.programgames.com to learn more or to get support for any of his books.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
444 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

A. M. Hernandez
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best Introduction to C++ Available. Great as Your First Programming Book.
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2017
I’ll cut to the chase: this book is one of the best introductions I’ve seen to the C++ language. I’ve read probably at least a dozen C++ books and I would say this would be the best place to start if you’ve never used C++ or even as your first programming book. There are... See more
I’ll cut to the chase: this book is one of the best introductions I’ve seen to the C++ language. I’ve read probably at least a dozen C++ books and I would say this would be the best place to start if you’ve never used C++ or even as your first programming book. There are some great C++ resources out there, but much of the material can be too advanced for a beginner and will probably scare you off before you get anywhere. With Beginning C++ Through Game Programming, Michael Dawson builds your knowledge from the ground up. The explanations are clear and easy to understand and no previous experience is required. You don’t even have to be a gamer to get value here as most of the games explored in the text are simple things like hangman or tic-tac-toe that anyone can understand.

Dawson walks you through 10 chapters, each diving into a different aspect of the C++ language, starting simply and working up to more difficult topics. The chapter breakdown includes: types and variables, branching, loops, the STL, functions, references, pointers, classes, dynamic memory, and object-oriented programming. These topics really are the most fundamental building blocks of C++, and many are applicable to programming in any language. Lots of source code is shown, and the author explains each step along the way with an impressive amount of clarity. Even though I’d consider myself an intermediate to advanced programmer, I still found some things useful in this book, particularly the usage of the const keyboard which was always somewhat confusing to me. All the examples are simple command-line programs, so you don’t need any special libraries, just an IDE that can compile C++ code, such as Visual Studio which has a free version on Windows. If you use a different operating system, you can just get whatever free IDE you want for your platform as this book uses all standard C++ code so any compiler should work.

What I have found reading other books is that they may explain concepts well, and even show code, but sometimes either they don’t give enough context on how real usage would look or the examples are so complex as to be confusing for a novice. In this text, the author is clearly aiming to teach beginners and explains everything in concise terms without becoming too complex. In each chapter, there is another full example game shown, which could be typed into a computer and run. I did not actually test any of the code, as I’d rather just learn from reading, but I didn’t find any obvious errors. Each of these games are fairly straight-forward, with apps like guess my number, hangman, madlib, tic-tac-toe, etc. My one complaint is that the final chapter covers a full blackjack game, and this was much more complicated than the previous chapters and may be a bit too advanced. However, it still may be helpful to some to see what a more involved program might look like. While the title of the book is about “game programming” I wouldn’t say you need to be a gamer to gain insight here. Though having some interest or familiarly with games can help, I’d still recommend this book for anyone interested in C++ or just wanting to learn programming in general. The author manages to cover the most key aspects of the language without burdening beginners with the more arcane constructs that will likely confuse you.

Keep in mind, C++ is a beast of a language, and one book will not make you a pro overnight. After reading this title, you will still likely need other resources before you are ready to build your own apps or games. With gaming in particular, you will likely also need to learn how to use libraries, various APIs, etc. and none of that is covered here. So think of this as merely a light introduction, which will build a foundation your can bring to other more complex books. That said, I really can’t imagine a better book for people wanting to get started with programming in C++. This would work as a great first coding book for teenagers or even younger. I’m not sure there is a better beginning C++ book out there, and this is highly recommended.
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Zachary
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not what I thought it was.
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2020
I thought this book was going to teach me how to make real computer games. It''s really just an intro to C++, with examples that are inspired by video games. You won''t actually learn how to code a real game with this book. It''s a descent intro to C++.
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Christian
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Buy this if you need a crash course in C++
Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2017
I''ve been programming on and off for about 4 years now mostly in Android development. I''ve recently turned my eye to this book which I bought about two years ago(and never cracked open) because I want to start playing around with the Unreal Engine and Game AI. I skipped all... See more
I''ve been programming on and off for about 4 years now mostly in Android development. I''ve recently turned my eye to this book which I bought about two years ago(and never cracked open) because I want to start playing around with the Unreal Engine and Game AI. I skipped all of the basic programming concepts which I am very familiar with (whats a variable, operator precedence, for loops, etc) which is practically chapters 1-5. The second half of the book gives a beyond excellent introduction to the characteristics that distinguish C++ from all of the other languages I have experience with(C#, Java, Python, JavaScript, Swift). The examples are thorough and the author speaks in a straightforward manner. The example code is clean and concise and really drives home the point of each concept. I''m on chapter 9 / 10 right now and after reading this far I feel confident reading any programming tome/tutorials with examples in C++ and applying them for my own purposes. Definitely recommend for any beginners

I read through all of the 1 star reviews and all of them were unwarranted because the reviewers bought this book expecting it to teach them how to program a game. THIS IS NOT what this book is for. This book is intended to teach you the ins and outs of the C++ language with a game programming perspective/theme.
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Family of Five
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
TREMENDOUS ! PROGRAMMING BOOK - Would give 6 stars if could
Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2020
I waited until I completed the first 8 of 10 chapters to write this review. I have worked through and typed (fat fingered) in every script so far. This is an exceptional book in general, an exceptional computer science book, and an exceptional self learning book for... See more
I waited until I completed the first 8 of 10 chapters to write this review. I have worked through and typed (fat fingered) in every script so far. This is an exceptional book in general, an exceptional computer science book, and an exceptional self learning book for computer language programming and C++ specifically.

1. Truly takes you from the beginning of C++. I am proficient in MATLAB, R, Stata, and a few other languages (historically learned Basic and Fortran in the 1980s) but C++ is my first compiled language of its type and first Object Oriented one too. BTW - C++ is amazing so far, very rich language, but lots to learn!

2. The order of the material is excellent and builds on the previous lessons/chapters. The writing is clear and error free. Most importantly, it starts with a short summary of a concept, then you write an enjoyable "game" script (think the old text based games for the most part) and run it. Then the author explains the code with additional Tips, Tricks, Traps, Hints, etc. This three step process with logical groupings shows the care of the thought put into this and likely the benefits of a fourth edition.

3. The chapters end with an excellent bulleted Summary, Q&A''s, Discussion Questions, and Exercises to expand knowledge.

4. I am using Visual Studio Community 2019 as my IDE (which I highly recommend but there is a modest learning curve for VS vs. Code::Blocks IDE which is good too) and so far all the examples (quite a few) have compiled and ran without problem or error, very impressive based on my other book experiences. One note, if you set Warnings to act as Errors during compile in your settings for the compiler then I had only one issue. The use of Enumerations in one example program. I changed these the Enumeration to an Enumeration ''Class'' (I am using C++17 with my VS 2019 and the Enum Class is safer and more flexible allowing you to specify types, encapsulating the name in the scope, and use type other than INT - all good things) and the warning went away. I also reset my default to allow compiling with warnings and then Enumerations provided no issue.

5. I bought both the paperback book and the kindle book. I call the kindle version (identical to the paperback) up on one of my screens and have Visual Studio on the other. I use this setup to help when I type the code into my VS cpp file and also do quick look ups on the kindle with search feature. I have the paperback open on my desk and have marked it up very extensively with two highlighters and three pen colors to reinforce ideas and concepts and draw attention to items important to me. This system has worked extremely well. I find having a marked up paper copy of the book is well worth the seemingly duplicative expense, at least for me since I learn better this way and can flip back and forth and use the index and TOC too. I still love the kindle version for all it can do to.

6. I took the time to write a detailed review because I am so impressed with the book and the detail and care the author took. I really would give it 6 starts if I could. I have five other new (C++17 ready) books on C++ and decided to use this one first after looking through them all. I am very glad I did.

Thank you to the author (Michael Dawson) for this fourth edition and sharing his skill with a noobie to C++ like me, to the publisher Cengage for publishing it, and of course to Amazon for carrying it in both paperback and Kindle and making the later a prime item. This was money well spent. Wishing you all good coding!
5 people found this helpful
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Mike Wnuk
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very basic overview of C++ core features
Reviewed in the United States on November 3, 2020
This book is only a great idea if its your first C++ adventure. Its all well and good as a nice easy start but the book seems to be padded with screenshots of the terminal displaying the output of the code followed by the code itself. There are large and normally take up... See more
This book is only a great idea if its your first C++ adventure. Its all well and good as a nice easy start but the book seems to be padded with screenshots of the terminal displaying the output of the code followed by the code itself. There are large and normally take up most of page. There are also large diagrams to show concepts that just don''t need to take up so much room, Not a huge deal but got a little noticeable. Other than that the book is great at introducing topics and how they relate to overall game development but refrains from diving any deeper by even saying a "hint" that "casting a variable from one type to another goes beyond the scope of this book."

Conclusion: Get this book to start C++ and you intend to go toward game development. If you are ready for more detail and want to understand all the tools of the language, I have been Reading C++ Primer and Programming Principles and Practices Using C++ together jumping between these and getting way more in depth understanding of C++.
3 people found this helpful
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Scott Anderson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Buy this book if you are serious in wanting to understand game programming
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2016
I absolutely love this book. I have always wanted to understand how games are made and decided to begin learning C++. This book not only is easy to understand and teaches well, but it is focused on the very subject I want to learn C++ for. You actually feel like you are... See more
I absolutely love this book. I have always wanted to understand how games are made and decided to begin learning C++. This book not only is easy to understand and teaches well, but it is focused on the very subject I want to learn C++ for. You actually feel like you are learning useful material (though very simplified). It also has end of chapter questions without answers that really challenges you to write or re-write a program to solve the answer. Believe me it can be frustrating but when you finally solve those questions there is a large amount of joy, excitement and a desire to continue learning. I would highly recommend this book to anyone just beginning to learn C++ to better understand game programming.

Truthfully I can not think of any negatives.
17 people found this helpful
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Peter R.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
C++ for C Programmers
Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2018
This book is a great introduction to C++. It''s also a really good book on C++ for people who are already C programmers. It''s an easy read, it goes at a good pace, and is full of relevant code examples, which are explained line by line. I particularly liked the section on... See more
This book is a great introduction to C++. It''s also a really good book on C++ for people who are already C programmers. It''s an easy read, it goes at a good pace, and is full of relevant code examples, which are explained line by line. I particularly liked the section on vectors and STL containers, but it is all good. I have no real interest in game programming per se, but we''ve all played (and probably coded) tic tac toe and hangman etc. at some point, and these games provide excellent opportunities to put the various C++ features to work. If you want to create games with fancy graphics, then this probably isn''t the book for you, but if you want a solid, hands-on, quick and easy introduction to C++, you might want to try this book.
6 people found this helpful
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J R Williams
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
O.K. - But Lacking Some Basic Programming Information
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2017
This book was required for a beginning C++ class that I took at the local junior college. I already had a little programming experience using several different languages when I bought this book. This is not the way I would have tried to teach a programming language to a... See more
This book was required for a beginning C++ class that I took at the local junior college. I already had a little programming experience using several different languages when I bought this book. This is not the way I would have tried to teach a programming language to a complete neophyte. I also found a number of topics that were not covered very well or at all. If you are in fact completely new to computer programming you are likely going to need an additional text to cover several additional topics that I found to be lacking in this book. But, overall I believe it is a fairly good book. I liked his explanation of Vectors, Iterators and Classes.
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Top reviews from other countries

Gordon Roger Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very, very good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2019
I learnt a great deal from this book which was well written. Not like the boring lectures I had at school but from someone who really cared if I learned anything. Downloading the code was a piece of cake and in all a pleasant experience. Heartily recommended to anyone who...See more
I learnt a great deal from this book which was well written. Not like the boring lectures I had at school but from someone who really cared if I learned anything. Downloading the code was a piece of cake and in all a pleasant experience. Heartily recommended to anyone who wants to learn C++
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Someone's Dad
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
So far so good for us
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2015
Although I agree with more critical reviews that this is a beginners book & covers only the basics where all of the examples are firmly within the console app, I would question whether there was another way to approach this subject''s learning curve. So far so good for us,...See more
Although I agree with more critical reviews that this is a beginners book & covers only the basics where all of the examples are firmly within the console app, I would question whether there was another way to approach this subject''s learning curve. So far so good for us, the exercises are do-able without going too far off topic. This is a huge subject and the book title does say ''Beginning C++'' so happy thus far. Onwards and upwards we go.
2 people found this helpful
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kineticalex
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book is ideal for beginners or for those like me have been out of programming c and c++ ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 28, 2015
This book is ideal for beginners or for those like me have been out of programming c and c++ for a long time. Or maybe coming from another language. The book uses simple text based games to teach you the fundamentals of c++ programming to get you started. Not a book on game...See more
This book is ideal for beginners or for those like me have been out of programming c and c++ for a long time. Or maybe coming from another language. The book uses simple text based games to teach you the fundamentals of c++ programming to get you started. Not a book on game engine creation, graphical games or more advanced game programming topics. Though does give you basic knowledge for very basic game creation. For it''s target beginner audience it''s worth the 4 stars. If you already know the c++ core language then this book is likley not for you.
2 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fast delivery
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 17, 2019
Great for beginners!
One person found this helpful
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Ryan Damian Busst
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Works for apple
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2021
A very good book, lots of information and projects. The only downside (for me peraonally) is a lot of it seems relient on Apple Directory, so doesn''t really work with Windows/Linux. If you have an Apple System, 5 stars. If you don''t than its basically useless.
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popular Beginning C++ Through Game sale Programming(Design new arrival may vary ) sale

popular Beginning C++ Through Game sale Programming(Design new arrival may vary ) sale

popular Beginning C++ Through Game sale Programming(Design new arrival may vary ) sale

popular Beginning C++ Through Game sale Programming(Design new arrival may vary ) sale

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