Review: LibGDX Game Development Essentials (2014)

  • March 7, 2015
  • James Skemp
  • review

The following is a review of LibGDX Game Development Essentials, written by Juwal Bose, and released in December 2014 by Packt Publishing.

Difficult to follow, but not a complete waste of time

LibGDX Game Development Essentials is hard to follow along with, and since I'm one of those learners who likes to follow along when I'm learning a technology, that made this book troublesome.

On the one hand, I certainly got something out of the book, and successfully got a glimpse of just how powerful LibGDX is.

But on the other hand, glossing over pieces of code, combined with incomplete (or usually just vastly different) code (and assets) in the downloadable zip files, made for a read that was just plain difficult to follow. These aren't merely typos, but rather like either the code or book was revised independently of each other.

The book focuses on a single project over its course, which is something I generally like, as it means the project is built upon and expanded. In this case it's a Flappy Bird clone, although it seems to be more of a tweaking of the LibGDX demo "The plane that couldn't fly good." Over the course of the book you learn the ins-and-outs of LibGDX as you create this, primarily from scratch (minus easy to obtain graphics).

Going merely with the flow of the book, it certainly does a good job of walking you through the process from initial creation to launch on the Google Play store (as well as a look at Apple's App store - that's all I can say as I skimmed over that particular section). I feel confident enough after reading this book that I could successfully go through that entire process (start to finish). And I have a firm grasp of what LibGDX can do.

But I am glad that I picked up two other LibGDX books, as this one just wasn't ideal enough.

While Juwal Bose certainly seems to know LibGDX, code confusion ultimately renders LibGDX Game Development Essentials a solid 3 of 5 stars.

Depending upon how the other books I purchased are, this review may be appended to in the future. I'll also note that previous to this I read most of Kevin Brothaler's OpenGL ES 2 for Android, which is an awesome book. However, given the power of the LibGDX tool, I don't see myself continuing down that path much further.