Book Review

Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well

Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well Review

Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well
Brief synopsis of Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well

Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well is a short introduction to the C# programming language. It’s focused on syntax and not so much answering how or why things work. It’s succinct and does an adequate job covering the most common features required to get you started. It will not teach you the language well in one day. It’s inexpensive and serves as a quick shot of dopamine; you’ll finish it fast, learn something, and feel a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, if you don’t immediately quit programming right after reading this thing you’re going to need another book to expand your knowledge. There is, however, something to be said about repetition and incremental achievement milestones. For the price it’s worth a look.

Length

This book is 148 pages in length not counting the appendix and index at the end.

Target audience

The target audience for this book is beginners with limited programming experience. I say limited because I want to highlight that this book may not be appropriate for someone with zero programming experience. Why? Because the author does not explain very basic low level assumptions related to code execution, what IDEs are, what .NET is, etc. This could leave someone with zero programming experience with a lot of unanswered questions. If you’re coming from another programming language this book will get you started quickly, but it will not cover advanced features or techniques you’re certain to want to know.

Relevance to game development

The relevance of this book to game development using Unity 3D is high. However, it won’t teach you anything about Unity-specific functionality. Still, it’s a powerful start and it’s just so easy to finish. If you’re at all intimidated by scripting in Unity (and dense textbooks for that matter) this book will provide a quick confidence boost.

How Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well should be read

The book should be read from start to finish. However, the index at the back of the book means it can also be used as a quick reference for basic syntax questions when you forget how to implement a language feature.

Best features

The author does a great job limiting his scope. Things are greatly simplified and leaned out. As a result you’ll cover a lot of ground in a very short period of time. You’ll never get bogged down in complex explanations because there aren’t any. It’s a functional book focused on syntax. Syntax is just a piece of the puzzle, but it’s a substantial piece and, well, you’re technically programming once you have it down.

What I wish was different

There is nothing substantial I would change about this book. This is because it’s lean and the scope is limited. Anything I can suggest would end up changing the scope. For example, adding more content to cover the complex aspects of C# programming or explaining how and why things work. All of this combined with a low price means there is really nothing to complain about. There is really no way the reader’s expectations will not be met. I think this explains the very high rating on Amazon, but it could also be related to reader ignorance. After all, they don’t know what they don’t know.

Writing quality

The book is well written with very few typos or errors. The author assumes a completely neutral tone. I don’t detect any personality and there are no opinions or advice of any kind. The only thing I detect is spelling variations that suggest the author is British.

Code quality in Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well

The code examples are very brief and pragmatic. In fact, the author keeps the code examples throughout the book extremely short. This is in contrast to the average author of a computer book. Instead, this author creates one large code example at the back of the book that demonstrates all of the concepts taught throughout the book. This really helps keep the page count down, but might not mesh well with some readers. I could also see this as being overwhelming.

Author’s attitude

As mentioned above, the author does not convey much of a personality. This is fine, of course. I have nothing negative to say about his writing. It’s merely an objective observation.

Should you buy Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well?

I would recommend this book to someone hesitant to start programming in the C# language. However, if you’re not somewhat familiar with what programming is and how it works I would recommend supplementing this text with something else. If bigger textbooks don’t scare you and you’re hungry for knowledge you can safely skip this one for a more comprehensive selection like Illustrated C# 7 for example. For me this book was nothing more than a self-esteem boost. I felt good plowing through it quickly because the content was so easy to understand. However, the feeling wore off quickly once I realized I hadn’t really learned that much.

William M Coyne, PharmD, MBA

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Illustrated C# 7

Illustrated C# 7 Review

Brief synopsis of Illustrated C# 7

First and foremost, I will be approaching this Illustrated C# 7 review from a Unity 3D game developer’s perspective. This is considered a beginner-intermediate book, but some previous programming experience is required. The author does spend some time explaining the .NET framework, but no pages are specifically dedicated to orienting a brand new programmer with zero experience. Someone with absolutely no idea where to start would struggle with this book as a result. As such this is a better second book than it is a first book.

The author makes numerous references to the C++ language in passing. Almost as if he expects many readers to have some experience with that language already. It is not at all necessary to understand these C++ language references, but it is interesting they are included in the text.

The book does a great job taking the reader from a beginner to intermediate skill level. A great deal of effort is invested in explaining why things are the way they are in C# and how they work behind the scenes. This is not just a book about syntax and rules. The author will almost always take the time to answer your questions about how something works, why it works that way, and any lingering “what about this scenario?” questions you might have. I admire the ability of the author to almost telepathically predict my follow-up questions in this regard.

Length

This book is 783 pages in length not including the index.

Target audience

The book states the intended skill level is beginner-intermediate. The content is generic C#. No specific platforms (like Windows) are presented beyond a few brief examples which probably just serve to promote the author’s other book focused on Windows C# and WPF. The author does not over-promote his other work; it’s very modest and done well. Some previous basic programming experience is required.

Relevance to game development

Remember, this is an Illustrated C# 7 review from a game dev’s perspective. The relevance of this book to Unity 3D game programmers is high. This is because the C# being taught is platform-agnostic. However, because the book is a complete language reference it covers all of the object-oriented programming (OOP) abstractions C# has to offer. Some of the OOP abstractions are probably not immediately useful to a Unity 3D programmer. And, what’s more, if you haven’t read at least a single book on programming patterns you’re going to struggle to think of ways in which all of these abstractions might be useful.

How Illustrated C# 7 should be read

This book should be read linearly from start to finish and kept as a reference. I would not spend too much time trying to memorize all of the OOP abstractions. Since, again, this a complete C# language reference and not all of C# will immediately become useful to you, the reader. Instead, just be aware those tools exist and refer back to them as needed. Focus on higher level concepts and the kinds of problems that could be solved with a given bit of C# functionality. Your goal should be to understand what the tools are in your toolbox and generally what they are used for.

Best features

The best features found in this book are the diagrams, code examples, and code explanations. The diagrams are a boon for visual learners; the author uses them to convey complex concepts and they are highly effective at achieving this purpose. The code examples are clear and useful. The code examples are explained in a succinct bullet-point style which is tremendously helpful for learners.

What I wish was different

Where this book falls a little flat is its coverage of programming patterns (even extremely basic ones) or at the very least some greater depth in regard to the applicability of the different C# features being introduced. That is, more discussion about the kinds of problems the OOP abstractions can solve or interesting ways in which they might be combined. There is some discussion, mind you, just not enough in my opinion. However, in the author’s defense the book is already nearly 800 pages in length as it currently stands. One could easily argue this is simply beyond the scope of the book.

Writing quality

The writing quality is high. Only a few typos were identified; much fewer than average. The author slips in a few humorous lines here and there, but they are few and far between. The writing does not convey much in terms of personality, but it reads well.

Code quality in Illustrated C# 7

The example code segments are done quite well. They serve as clear and purposeful aids to written explanations. The code examples are also clearly explained in a bullet-point style format. I did not feel it was necessary to type anything into Microsoft Visual Studio myself.

Author’s attitude

As noted previously the writing does not convey a strong personality or much of the author’s own opinions. It feels more “factual” and objective. But, when the occasional opinion does show up I get the impression the author is humble and not at all arrogant.

Should you buy Illustrated C# 7?

The conclusion of this Illustrated C# 7 review is that this is an essential book; it bridges the C# beginner and intermediate levels. It also serves as a very useful reference and the diagrams are a rare treat for visual learners. It should be emphasized this is not a great first book, but it is an excellent second or third one. It is a rather large book and assumes the reader generally understands what programming is and to some extent how and where to create programs.

William M Coyne, PharmD, MBA

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Start Your Video Game Career

Start Your Video Game Career Review

Brief synopsis of Start Your Video Game Career

Start Your Video Game Career: Proven Advice on Jobs, Education, Interviews, and More for Starting and Succeeding in the Video Game Industry is a book focused on searching for jobs in the game development industry. It focuses on what hiring managers want to see on your resume and, broadly, how the reader can get the experience being asked for. It is not a blow-by-blow instruction manual for every skill a game programmer or audio engineer needs to learn. Instead, it covers the most frequently asked questions someone might have when considering a career in game development, how to apply for jobs, advice for interviews, etc. This is a book most suitable for someone inexperienced at applying and interviewing for jobs with limited knowledge of what the game industry is like. If you’re looking for a specific list of technologies to master, look elsewhere. This is a book for someone that isn’t aware of all the possible jobs that are available in the game development industry, what they pay, and what the work is like.

Length

This book is 113 pages in length; there are only a few extra pages at the back of the book for the credits and the author’s bio. This is a lean book with no bloat to bump the page count.

Target audience

The target audience for this book is anyone looking to enter the video game industry as an employee. Specifically, individuals with limited knowledge of the game development industry and those just starting out in a professional-level career. The author covers game testing, art, design, sound/music, and programming. A handful of other super niche areas are also covered briefly along the way. This is not for solo or indie game developers hoping to create their own studio or publish their own games on platforms like Steam and the Epic Game Store.

Relevance to game development

The relevance of this book to game development is 100% if your goal is to work for someone else as an employee. This is probably the majority of people who will actually get paid to develop games. If you’re a solo or indie developer hoping to create your own studio this won’t have much to offer, however.

How Start Your Video Game Career should be read

The book itself suggests the reader can skip around to applicable sections, but because of the short length I would recommend everyone just read the entire thing. When the time comes to apply the content to your job-seeking endeavor you can just go back and reference the respective section you need help with.

Best features

Start Your Video Game Career offers solid advice for applying to companies and landing a job as an employee. Much of the content could be applied to a career in any field, however. The video game applicability comes down to a few key areas covered: what each role in game development does, how each role gets experience employers care about, what the alternative education paths are, and how to transition from other careers into game development. I like how the author never spends too much time talking about any single game development role/job type because they don’t all apply to me as a reader. The FAQ format was great; the content is presented as answers to commonly asked questions. Finally, this book is short, but it’s lean and no-nonsense. The author did not add a bunch of fluff to bump up the page count and charge more money. This is a quick read, but you’re going to get exactly what you need and nothing more. I really appreciate this format.

What I wish was different

The author focused on the primary and most common traditional game development roles. That is, working as an employee for a game company as a programmer, artist, tester, etc. However, there are many other fields not covered. Things that come to mind include working for a game engine like Unity 3D and Unreal Engine. These huge companies offer tons of employment opportunities closely related to game development. Furthermore, I mentioned previously this book does not cover solo game development and indie game studios. For entrepreneurial readers like myself I would have appreciated some advice or general direction on this topic. The author does spend a little time talking about freelance positions, but this is not the same thing. Freelance is really working in a traditional role but as a 1099 contractor. It’s not the same as starting your own company or publishing your own games.

Writing quality

I did not notice any typos and the writing is very high quality. I would give this book high marks in that regard. It’s a short book, but the author did a great job putting this valuable content together. I appreciated the larger-than-average font size used and white space.

Code quality in Start Your Video Game Career

This is not a programming book, so this section is N/A.

Author’s attitude

The tone is professional, objective and upbeat. The author does not cast any judgement or suggest any one role in game development is better than any other. By the end of the book the reader gets a sense that the author is a genuinely nice guy just looking to help connect people with their dream job. He doesn’t pull any punches and explains the reality of the different game development career roles; crunch time, competitiveness, salary, etc. Nothing is sugar-coated.

Should you buy Start Your Video Game Career?

This is a book I recommend for someone in high school, college, or later in life that has limited knowledge of what the game industry is like and/or how to apply for a professional level job. If you’re operating a high level in a professional industry or generally have a lot of knowledge regarding what careers are available in game development the value proposition is limited. However, the advice found inside is extremely valuable for greener folks just starting out.

William M Coyne, PharmD, MBA

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GAMEDEV: 10 Steps to Making Your First Game Successful

GAMEDEV: 10 Steps to Making Your First Game Successful Review

Brief synopsis of GAMEDEV: 10 Steps

GAMEDEV: 10 Steps is two books in one. First, it’s a general high level guide for creating and publishing a game on platforms like Steam. Second, it’s a story about a young man that overcame tremendous adversity to achieve success in several different aspects of life. You’ll be inspired and you’ll very likely learn several things about the game development journey along the way.

Length

This book is 256 pages in length. There are no appendices or indices.

Target audience

The target audience of GAMEDEV: 10 Steps is an aspiring game developer interested in publishing their first commercially viable game. In general the author is coming from a background in which games are created with engines like Unity 3D and Unreal Engine. The primary platforms talked about in depth are Steam and the Epic Games Store, but there is also some coverage of other minor portals.

Relevance to game development

The relevance of this book to game development is very high for me because it’s exactly the direction I want to go in myself. That is, I want to create a commercial game for Steam using Unity 3D. I’d like to work solo for as much of the project as I possibly can and I’m primarily interested in the PC market.

How GAMEDEV: 10 Steps should be read

Because it’s not highly technical in nature this book should be read linearly like any other novel. I would not recommend skipping around.

Best features

The author acts as a role model for the reader; he overcame many substantial struggles throughout his life. It left me feeling inspired and that success is possible for me too if I continue to work hard. What stood out to me, by far, was the author’s suggestion to go big with your first game project. That is, make the game you really want, within reason of course. This is in sharp contrast to the advice I typically hear which is almost always centered around completing a bunch of small projects first. After giving this some thought I tend to agree with Wlad; the smaller projects may not be interesting enough to keep you motivated; making your dream game definitely will. Finally, each section has a bullet-point summary to reinforce the main takeaways. These will come in handy if you ever want to quickly reference a specific topic in the future. As stated in a different section, there is no index.

What I wish was different

This was genuinely a good read. I have no significant concerns. The author did a great job.

Writing quality

I was impressed with the writing in GAMEDEV: 10 Steps and I am not pulling any punches because English is the author’s third language either. I was turning pages quickly. I actually stopped reading 2 other books I was working on at the same time so I could focus on this one. As someone with a fair amount of industry knowledge I still learned plenty of new things. The entire book explains the game development process by telling the story of the author’s own successful game, DARQ. The author is essentially the underdog we all love to root for; he overcame all odds to become successful.

Code quality in GAMEDEV: 10 Steps

This book makes several suggestions regarding what types of features should be implemented in your game, but it’s purely descriptive in nature. There is no code, but the suggestions are generally helpful and will benefit a beginner that has yet to complete a full-featured commercial game.

Author’s attitude

The author is a hero in his own story, an underdog that overcomes impossible challenges. The book is filled with words of encouragement and hope. You’ll no doubt walk away from this one feeling good, feeling confident.

Should you buy Start Your Video Game Career?

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone just starting out their game development journey. Not only will you gain some time-saving insight into the development and publication process, but you’ll also get to enjoy the author’s own tumultuous journey to success. It’s not often that you get to listen to a story and learn some useful semi-technical knowledge at the same time. You should take advantage of the opportunity.

William M Coyne, PharmD, MBA

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Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#

Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# Review

Brief synopsis of Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#

Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# is a book written for professional software developers working for large corporations that make banking software (coincidentally this is precisely the type of company the author’s consulting firm primarily serves). The scope of this text is quite broad. It covers object oriented design, UML diagrams, test-driven development, programming patterns, and much more. However, it does so with verbose explanations and overly complicated code examples. At its core this book is teaching some important concepts, but it does so in such an unnecessarily convoluted manner that I have to wonder if it was intentional. That is, so the author is ultimately hired by a large corporation as a consultant speaker to clear up all the confusion he created himself. Don’t get me wrong, there are some diamonds buried in this text. The only problem is that only the most clever and dedicated readers will have the tools (and the patience) to uncover them.

Length

This book is 670 pages in length not counting the appendices and index at the end.

Target audience

The target audience for this book is clearly a professional computer programmer working in a formal corporate environment. As mentioned below, the first 12 chapters have the highest value for game developers.

Relevance to game development

The relevance of this book to game programming is moderate. There are some good general programming techniques scattered throughout the book. However, this text could be so much more applicable. The author blows it by including so much extraneous information, using bloated overly complex examples, and covering UML diagramming techniques he himself admits are a waste of time. Seriously, he literally introduces many of these topics as a waste of time and then concludes in the respective section summary they are a waste of time. Let that sit with you for a moment.

How Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# should be read

If you’re going to tackle this book I recommend reading the UML diagramming chapters first (in the middle), the programming pattern chapters second (at the end), and then going back to the start to finish the rest. The author starts the book off by using UML diagrams and programming patterns he doesn’t explain until much later in the text. The original order the information is presented in makes no sense. You could, alternatively, ignore the UML diagrams and programming patterns and instead just read the first 12 chapters (174 pages) to get the best bang for your buck.

Best features

The funny pictures and jokes scattered throughout the book are the best feature. The author’s overall writing style is pretty good as well, but can at times come off as overly clever and even arrogant if you’re not fond of sarcasm and wit. Overall I think the first 12 chapters (174 pages) are the best. If I had to choose a single chapter as being the best it would have to be chapter 6 (A Programming Episode) in which the author and a colleague walk through the development of a program designed to calculate bowling scores. It’s presented in an iterative test-driven design fashion while the two have a conversation back and forth. This chapter did a great job demonstrating how the developers think about solving problems.

What I wish was different

This is a 700 page book that should have been a 300 page book. Seriously, this would be explosively good if all of the fluff and extraneous complexity were distilled off. I would love to see a summarized version of this text covering the core concepts with very succinct code examples with no unnecessary algorithms or math puzzles.

Writing quality

There are many typos and errors in this book. I say many because this is a translation of the original title Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices. I would have expected a lot of the more obvious typos to have been caught during the conversion process. The author is, however, a genuinely good writer.

Code quality in Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#

The code examples in the book are bad for several reasons. First, there is simply way too much code in this book. It’s unnecessary. Second, the examples used are overly complicated. The author is obsessed with making everything a puzzle; nothing is straightforward. When a simple concept is being demonstrated the author will always, and I mean always, insert some kind of math problem or algorithm to make things more complicated. Third, this book was converted from another language (C++ and Java presumably) but it does not utilize advanced C# language features. The conversion was pretty basic. Don’t expect to learn anything special about the C# language itself.

Author’s attitude

The author has a crass and sarcastic sense of humor. I can appreciate this, but based on some of the negative reviews on Amazon people tend to interpret this as arrogance. I will concede with the negative reviewers on Amazon that the author does attempt to be excessively clever/witty in his writing by inserting obscure literary references all over the place. In short, the jokes are good but he goes overboard with the cleverness at times. Yes, we get it, you read lots of books.

Should you buy Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#?

I would not buy this book new, but if you can find it for a low price on the used market I would read the first 12 chapters. The rest of it can safely be skipped. Doubly so if you’re a game developer. That, or just read the introductions and summaries of the later chapters. I don’t regret my purchase and I did learn a lot. It just came across like the UI and crafting system in Animal Crossing: New Horizations: sadistic by design.

William M Coyne, PharmD, MBA

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