Facebook launched its game platform five years ago and the world of casual browser games has never looked back since then.
Learning the Ropes
Once you have a plan, Chapter Five covers the tools you’ll need to gather for graphics and sound. While the information on sound and audio was good, the rest of the chapter on drawing graphics felt a bit out of place.
Creating a Game
Things improve in Chapter Six, where you get to create the first game – a space invaders clone. A minor criticism at this point, however, is the author used OS X to develop the book and the game software. There’s nothing wrong with OS X but it might have made sense for the publishers to get someone to add Windows instructions as well. This is a big chapter with lots of source code listed.
Social Gaming is the subject of Chapter Seven, but it’s the next chapter where the book begins to shine.
Facebook applications consist of server code running on your servers which generate the output and send it to Facebook. This chapter covers a lot of technically heavy subjects, such as Facebook Graph API, Facebook Query Language and Facebook Software Development kits.
Next you learn how to use the Facebook developer tools, particularly how to setup your game to take Facebook credits. There’s a working example with Alien Turtle Invasion. The level of information here is pretty good, certainly enough to get you started and also includes how to deal with disputed payments.
Chapter 12 is about launching your game, which is not just on the technical side but also how to make your launch reasonably untroubled and steps you should take to advertise and get new users. In Chapter 13, some HTML5 game engines are listed with their pros and cons. And, finally, the last chapter delves into creating another game using various game libraries.
In conclusion, I rate 4.5 out of 5. If you want to start developing Facebook games it’s probably the best out there and, more importantly, it’s up to date. Because Facebook’s APIs have rapidly changed over the last three years, a lot of existing books are probably now obsolete.
- “Beginning Facebook Apps Development” [Wayne Graham]