Book Review: “Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python” by Al Swigart

I did some paper learning of the Python programming language. Never got a hands on experience with it. Learning to program games seemed to be a good motivator to learn a new computer language. The nice thing about this book is that all of programs are available on the web for download without having to retype them. In addition the entire book in html format is on the web too.

Python programming language is intriguing to me because of its interpretive environment and object-oriented nature (though the book didn’t explore the “class” object) plus its popularity among fellow engineers.

The most notable program is Reversi and its simple algorithm that borderline artificial intelligence. I was surprised by how easy it is to set up simulation to test out various algorithms against each other. Very nice. There were other text-oriented programs like Tic Tac Toe, Hangman, Sonar Treasure Hunt. Then the author went into more graphic-oriented games like Dodgers to explore the sound, and graphics. Very nice flow from simple games to a full blown interactive graphic game and yet kept the programming relative simple to understand.

This is a book for beginner programmers. As an experienced programmer, I flipped the pages fairly quickly to learn the main syntax and uniqueness of the Python language. If I were a beginner programmer interested in learning Python to start off, I would pick this book because of the instant gratification from playing a game makes learning less stressful.

There is a follow on book called “Making Games with Python and Pygame.” I just might read it too.