Phonegap and AngularJS for Cross-platform Development – Book Review


PhoneGap and AngularJS for Cross-platform DevelopmentPhoneGap and AngularJS for Cross-platform Development by Yuxian, Eugene Liang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reason I have rated this book 3/5 is that I find it incomplete. Print quality and arrangement of content is good as other Packt books and that enabled to it score good part of this rating.

When I got my review copy from publisher, while working on a Phonegap project I was excited to try AngularJS and Phonegap combo in my ongoing project, replacing the existing conventional way of handling pages and data in Phonegap application (thats creating different pages and navigating to those, showing preloaders while fetching data or reloading entire page).

However, I didn’t find it as a cookbook from which I can adopt tech skills and implement immediately in the application I was building. So I paused this book for a while and shipped that app with the old way, while reading other books as my hobby.

Then I returned back to this book and started following it with its own samples. This book is using AngularJS and Phonegap to build a To Do list application. Enhancements like FB login, CSS3 UI and animations are made in the basic application to make it a complete app.

However there is lack of information about Angular framework and Phonegap itself. That move the target audience to intermediate to advance from starters. And if target audience is of that level then there isn’t much for them in this book. But if you just learnt AngularJS and have handy experience with Phonegap, then you will get a good idea how to combine both.

Overall I won’t refer this book to any beginner or advanced reader. But if you are a student or hobbyist developer who is building Phonegap apps in a conventional way, and want to change that to SPA, then grab a copy of the book and experimenting with sample code provided will be helpful.

PS: I got this book as a review copy from publisher. You can get your copy from their website

AngularJS Services – Book Review


AngularJS ServicesAngularJS Services by Jim Lavin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all if you are new to AngularJS, don’t pick this book with assumption that you will catch basic framework too. In fact, this book is about a particular topic of Angular JS aka Services. Angular JS is a great and growing framework for SPA and web based apps. Following logic of separation of logic and view layer, Angular provide a solid base for development of large and mid scale projects.

Author described not only Services but also building best practices, providers and factories are explained in easy to understand and follow manner. Practical examples showing how to develop AngularJS services and also how to test them with use of mock data and mock timers. Use case of authenticating with oAuth is something which is really useful. Chapter 6 is focused on using external services inside AngularJS services. Chapter 7 is completely focused on models & services and when to use which feature of AngularJS out of these two while implementing business logics.

Overall a must have book on AngularJS services and architecture in general.

Disclaimer: I got a review copy from publisher. You can get book from their website

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Unity 4 Game Development Hotshot Review


Unity 4 Game Development HotshotUnity 4 Game Development Hotshot by Jate Wittayabundit
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unity 4 Game Development Hotshot is written for developers who already explored basics of Unity game engine. If you expect to pick this book and start learning Unity3D, you will be disappointed to a degree, cause you as a complete fresher to Unity3D, don’t fall into target audience of the book.

However, you have basic knowledge of Unity3D, you can use this book as a quick how to guide. In initial chapters book focus on 2D game development with Unity3D native 2D features including physics, sprites, animations and camera. Taking a step further in next chapter creation of menu and scrollers are explained with new GUI system.

Third project of the book is dedicated to Shaders (a mystery for me yet). Following the project, was able to create some basic ambient and lighting shaders. Faced some issues while creating new shaders, mainly because of less detail about shader programming, but that altogether content for a separate book.

In fourth project unity’s mecanim animation system is explained with implementation of character animation. Making game character to walk, run, jump and fall and transition of states make it complete guide of creating FPS. Adding 3rd person camera gives unity’s powerful 3D environment feel to game.

Fifth chapter is about projectiles. Use of MouseLook and CameraControl script is explained along with particle effects. By following book upto this chapter, one can try hands on creating a FPS, yet incomplete due to missing smart enemies. Next chapter complete that part. Explaining waypoint concepts and how to create an editor for waypoints. Finally how to assign movement to enemy objects with AI script. Following addition it help to learn how to create a destructible world in response of firing weapons and triggers. Using ragdoll objects one can mimic effect of spring movements.

Last project section complete the FPS game by saving and loading high scores and implementing server side communication using XML format. A XMLParser script is created to read xml formatted data. At the end of book, 4 appendix sections are provided out of which actually A and C are not much useful, because these explains mostly basic functions which one would have known already and difference between C# and unity3D Javascript, which is less helpful and one will want to stick with either of the programming languages.

Only part I felt missing is mobile porting, which is a big reason of picking Unity3D among other options. There could have been few more pages explaining how to port game developed so far to any mobile platform and deal with resolution and performance issues (if any). Overall this book is a good companion for any unit developer. On a scale of 5, I will rate it 4 and recommend to other developers exploring Unity3D for next big game project.

Disclaimer, I got a review copy of this book from Packt Publishing. Grab your copy from

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OUYA Game Development by Example


Ouya Game Development by ExampleOuya Game Development by Example by Jack Donovan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book very easy for beginners. Though having knowledge of unity3d is always going to be helpful. This book starts with an intro to hardware console itself. First chapter is dedicated to features of the OUYA device. If you own OUYA device then probably can skip this chapter, but otherwise author has tried to provide a good detailed feature description, so that you can learn about OUYA hardware and features available in it.

Chapter 2 is completely dedicated for setting up Unity3D and installing core development toolchain like Java, Android SDK, ODK and configuring connections. Author took around 15 pages to explain everything for both MacOS X and Windows platform and also a quick intro about building and exporting OUYA packages. So far all slow paced and nicely written.

Real action starts from Chapter 3, in which author walkthrough to first OUYA application and towards end make it to run on hardware itself.

Chapter 4 & 5 are for inputs mainly (both keyboard and touch) and taking action based on inputs. Making marble reacting to player’s input and then adding force based on touch dynamics and reading mouse positions in unity3d are some basic elements from these 2 chapters, which are not specific to OUYA, but since Unity3D maps buttons of OUYA controller with input schema, without any additional effort same game is being ported and author has explained it well. Chapter 6 focus on saving data for various game states and highlight OUYA API for the same.

Chapter 7 is dedicated for In App Purchases implementation, an important aspect for any game. While on OUYA every game has to be free to try, at the end every developer would want to add some sort of revenue generation model in game. This chapter guide how to implement purchase screen, make it function and unlock content / feature based on purchases etc. Also there are 2 pages towards end of the chapter which explains which model of monetization to be picked.

Chapter 8 is about polishing, packaging and submission. One of the key part, which is usually not found in many books like how to submit real product to app stores. Author took time to explain core screens, features, audio, camera actions and then how to export package and create game in developer portal.

Chapter 9 is the best part for any Unity3D beginner, even if you are not going to use it for OUYA. It explains about version control, various development methodologies like Agile, Waterfall. Also it covers basic design patterns considering projects with larger code base. Also to make complete use of Unity3D’s powerful UI features author has provided intro about shaders, particle effect, GUI skins and physics materials. This last chapter itself is enough for a reason to buy this book.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of the book from Packt Publication. Though this review is not influenced by that. You can grab one from here

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Unity 2D Game Development


Unity 2D Game DevelopmentUnity 2D Game Development by Dave Calabrese
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I purchased this book that time I was not having experience in game development with Unity3D & C#. Coming from Actionscript/Flash background when Unity announced 2D features, I was among many of developers who felt blessed and made goal of learning unity by porting existing 2D games which were made in AS3 earlier.

For some reasons, I couldn’t start with this book earlier as got to work on some 3D project. Later when I picked this book last month, I felt that my decision/chance of first getting my hands on 3D project was good, because this book except you to have basic unity3d interface and programming knowledge.

I find it a fast paced book, which drive through a 2d platformer game step by step. Given the intended audience is who know Unity3D, author doesn’t spend too much time on stuff like where to find specific option. Book has a good space dedicated to State machine concept, which helps to understand concept in general itself a lot. Same goes for basic 2d physics and AI too. However, at same time with lacking information of some features which are used in project (e.g Spirte -> Pixtel To Unit option for asset).

In the eBook copy I found many typos which usually I never find in other Packt Pub books. Also the source code companied with book is little confusing due to its file/folder structure. However, since expectation for us as a reader is to be someone having experience of Unity3D thats not a very big issue, as we are gonna to type code ourself instead of copy paste while following the book.

However somewhere to maintain fast pace or some other reasons author had to skip certain elements like audio, ray casting, screen resolution handling, mobile platform specific quirks with unity2d tools etc, which I think very important and must have been included in book.

Since author shared real word problems and solutions which his team applied in the game studio, it makes book helpful in that context.

Overall this book should be a good & recommended as quick reference if you are working in Unity3D for 3D games already and want to develop a 2D game. You can go through this as a quick guide to start with 2D tools. However don’t expect that reading this book alone would be enough to get your 2d game released, as I mentioned that it lacks some pointers.

You can check book & TOC at

Disclaimer: I got an offer for review copy of the book from Packt Pub, but since I had already purchased this one and was reading, I decided to share my review.

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