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Hello everyone,

I have have adopted a new (ambitious?) hobby, that being writing some games of varying complexity for Android. I'm expecting this to be a hobby of many years, and I'm expecting a serious investment of time to get this to a level that I'm satisfied with. I have researched a fair bit about the topic over the last few weeks and I have a few questions that I feel that I may not be able to resolve without potentially wasting a lot of time going down a few dead ends before I find the right way forward. If anyone can help with any of these questions it would be much appreciated:

1) I get the feeling that some knowledge of Java will either be essential or very useful. With that in mind, where do I start as a complete beginner to Java? I only have some basic level scripting in VBA and JavaScript (If/else, for, while, arrays, functions etc).

2) This is a bit of an android specific question: Any game engines that you would recommend? I would prefer something with a relatively shallow learning curve, but not too limiting. I heard that Unity is good (...$400, however that's fine if it's the most suitable for me), and AndEngine is mentioned a fair bit, but may require a higher level of understanding to get the same sophistication of game? I had started learning JavaScript (which is the easiest way to learn with Unity apparently, then intended to shift to C# afterwards).

3) I heard that purchasing a SDK might be sensible. What's wrong with the the Android SDK (which is free), and how is this related to the game engine above, and Eclipse?

Thanks for any help!
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Hello Jess and welcome to the Ranch!

"Head First Java" is an amazing resource to learn Java programming language. It is fun and fruitful.

Game development is a serious and huge investment but a rewarding one, don't be overwhelmed.

I will recommend some reading resources if you really want to be a well rounded game developer. I'm not going to detail every book, you can check Amazon to figure out what each book offers.

Those books are true treasure regardless of the platform (but of course, you don't need to read all of them):
  • The Art of Game Design A book of lenses
  • AI Game Engine Programming, 2nd Edition
  • Challenges for Game Designers
  • Game Design Workshop, 2nd Edition
  • Real Time Collision Detection

  • There are a lot of games engines out there and I can't recommend any of them since I'm also evaluating the options and didn't form any opinion and experience.

    Nothing wrong with Android SDK, you can build any game using it but are you an expert when it comes to real time collision, games physics engine, 3D rendering .. ?
    Games engines (not necessarily each one) provide those advanced aspects to you.

    Eclipse is a general purpose IDE; it has nothing to do with Android, Unity or any other game engine.

    Hope this was helpful and please don't hesitate to ask any other questions.

    Beer round
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