Special Effects and Game Development
in Java(TM) - Introduction
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to Mandomartis KB and Scandinavia Online AB. This course may
only be viewed online. Displaying the course written content
in another site would be a violation against Swedish copyright
law and international treaty provisions. However you may freely
download the example source code and use it for your work.
Java(TM) is a trademark of Sun Microsystems and will from
now on be denoted as "Java".
I received my education at the Physics Institute at the University
of Stockholm and one of the founders and former President
Company. Today, I am general manager and sole developer
for Mandomartis Company.
I have worked professionally with both Java and C++ for many
years and have among other things developed Visual Applet
Configurator and a large number of Java applets. This course
is dedicated to my good friend, and one of the world's greatest
effect programmers, the Norwegian Tonny Espeset. He has, with
his book Kickass
Java Programming, revolutionized the Java programming
and shown that Java undoubtedly is superior to other programming
languages when it comes to making advanced special effects
for web design purposes. The book Kickass Java Programming
is the ONLY alternative if you are going to program special
effects in Java (However, it demands basic knowledge in Java
that you can receive in this course). I would like to take
this opportunity to thank Raymond Knoll from Sarnia, Canada,
for his tremendous support and his invaluable corrections.
A great thanks to Mathias Johansson, head of the Javahouse,
Scandinavia's and Sweden's greatest Java resource, and to
Stefano de Carolis, president of the Demicron
Company, for their advice and support with the Swedish
version of this course.
Surely you must have surfed around the Internet and sometimes
discovered a grey frame on someone's homepage that was transformed
into an effect or animation. What you have found is probably
a Java applet. A Java applet is a little program that can
be downloaded to your computer and which is then executed.
The speed and functionality of the little program depends
entirely on your computer, the web browser you use (Netscape
or Microsoft Internet Explorer) and how the applet was programmed.
For a long time I have thought of starting a Java course where
I can teach the cool things in Java. The course mostly will
be about special effects and game programming in the form
of applets. With special effects programming I mean development
of animations in Java which can be easily configured by non-programmers
through their parameters. For every special effect applet,
I will also review how to implement it as a plugin for the
Visual Applet Configurator which is the only program today
that can implement other developers applets as plugins and
simplify the configuration. With game development I particularly
mean the development of simpler applet games and net games
with net game servers. I will also teach application development,
client-server systems and Java's graphics engine but on a
smaller scale. The main version of Java that will be covered
here is version 1.02 due to its compatibility with older web
browsers, but you will also learn Java 1.1 and 1.2 (Java 2).
I am of the opinion that there are two types of programmers:
those who learn a language for the sake of the language and
those who learn it because they want to get results. This
course is adapted for the latter type. The course will therefore
start with two chapters where I will write the necessary things
one needs to keep up, but we will start with special effects
early in Chapter 3.
No prior knowledge is required in the course except good knowledge
in Windows 95/98 or Windows NT 4.0 and the programs that are
included there. Internet knowledge is a requirement and you
should also know some HTML programming. with regards to software
Please note that you only need ONE web browser and ONE of
the development environments. There is no great difference
which one you choose. Visual Applet Configurator will be reviewed
in later chapters so you will not need the program at the
beginning. However it does not hurt to download Applet FX
right away. It is freeware and with 20 great applets, many
that were developed by me.
Programming is often regarded as difficult and boring by
novices who are trying to take their first steps. The form
of the language may be complicated and has been specified
and developed by people who do not have much sense of pedagogic
skills. I have, as my experience as a programmer, never found
such a simple and easy to learn language than Java. However
I think that in order to be a good programmer you have to
follow the following advice:
Have good confidence. There is no limit to what
you can do. The people who have made popular programs
today are people of flesh and blood and are not super
humans. Therefore you should be able to develop similar
and maybe even better programs.
Be stubborn and tough. If something does not work
then try again until you find the problem. However, do
not look for bugs longer than a half hour if you have
other things to do. Take a break and find the bug later.
Discipline and diligence helps you through the
boring parts of programming.
Practice and theory is the best combination when
you are learning programming.
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