Invent your own computer games with Python (4th edition)

Al Sweigart

Published by

No Starch Press


RRP £23.99
Reviewed by Mike Rees MBCS CITP, IT Consultant

8 out of 10

Invent your own computer games with Python is the fourth (and updated) edition of a book which was originally published in 2010.

The author is a software developer who also teaches programming.

Designed for the novice adult or child, the aim of the book is to teach the Python programming language, which it does by building a number of different games as examples.

The twenty-one chapters, running to over 330 pages, work progressively through the Python language, introducing more advanced topics at each stage.

Starting with a look at the Python environment - the shell and the editor, the book takes the reader through topics ranging from variables and loops, the debugger, flowcharts, randomisation, grids and co-ordinates, AI simulation, collision detection and using graphics and sound.

New concepts are introduced with either a new game, or by extending on an example in a previous chapter. The book contains not just each line of code, but also a full description of the logic and verbs used in the code.

The first 250 pages extensively use text-based game examples, which some may find a little tedious, especially the current gamers who have been brought up entirely on a diet of graphics-oriented game software.

The more exciting material doesn’t emerge until the last 80 pages, or so, when graphics and animation are finally introduced.

In fact the author says in the introduction - “the games you’ll create from this book seem simple compared to the games for Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo. The (games in the book) don’t have fancy graphics because they’re meant to teach you coding basics.”

Online resources include the source code of all the examples (for download) and an errata.

The book is competing against a hundred or so current Python titles, but it delivers pretty good value within the context of the title. It may also whet the appetite of a budding software developer.

Overall a good introduction to Python and some of the concepts of software development.

Further information: No Starch Press

October 2017