Since we are heavily relying on the amazing game development framework libGDX, we will post a short review about the “Libgdx Cross-platform Game Development Cookbook” by David Saltares Márquez and Alberto Cejas Sánchez which has lately been released.
Being a “cookbook” it is structured in small chapters (socalled recipes), that may be read or looked up individually. This is particularly handy, if you are no beginner, but have a good understanding of most topics and just want to read through some certain chapters.
Unlike a lot of other sources about libGDX, this book is up to date! For example, it covers the gradle build system to build your libGDX projects, as well as Viewports to handle different resolutions and aspect ratios. Both features were introduced in early 2014.
A negative aspect: When reading it, the book looks a bit cluttered. The many different ways of formatting on a single page make it a bit difficult to read. However, that might be because of the high degree of “compactness” of this book. It jumps directly into action, delivering a constant stream of how tos, hints, warnings and facts in the form of code listings, notes, lists (and many others…).
It delivers hands on practical tips about common problems that might happen, even when it’s just about the tools, like the IDE, you are using. The experience of the authors working with libGDX is really noticable.
Furthermore it covers some topics, like git and gradle, that are not directly related to libGDX, but will tremendously help using it and working with it, especially if you are planning to contribute to libGDX yourself.
The book also describes commonly used tools like the 2D Particle Editor, Texture Packer (GUI), Hiero, Gradle Setup UI etc. that come with libGDX. Those will help with a basic game development workflow.
Another slightly negative aspect: It covers some basic information that other sources like the wiki also cover. One example is the File API or the Box2D API. That makes the book more suitable for beginners as a single source of information to get started with LibGDX. However it results in some advanced topics being missing, like the 3D API which certainly would have been worth a chapter or even two.
The chapter “Third party Libraries and Extras” partly makes up for that though. It introduces some tools, extensions or related frameworks and libraries that go well with libGDX and are not part of the framework core.
In total, it is worth buying it, especially if you are a beginner. But even for advanced libGDX developers this book will still be useful and reveal some unknown secrets, tips and tricks about game development with libGDX. You can buy it here.