I ’ve been working on this book for about 35 years. I’ve always liked inventing games. Even as a kid, I would try to think up new kinds of board games with paper and pencil. I must have come up with hundreds of terrible game ideas.

When I was a teenager (in the early ’80s,) I got access to a computer. That changed everything. Sure, you could do cool things with it, but my favorite part was how I could make any game I could imagine. I learned how to program specifically so that I could write games.

Eventually, I grew up (at least chronologically) and turned my computing skills to “serious” pursuits like commercial programming and teaching. But I never forgot about games, and I still write games for fun. Whenever I get a new machine or programming language, I master it by creating games. Playing games is fun, but making them is incredible.

Game programming was simple in the early days because computers couldn’t do much. As things have become more complicated and expectations higher, it’s become harder and harder to get into game development. Today’s technology is incredibly capable, but it can be overwhelming to a beginner. Programming is hard enough, and game programming is often even more ­difficult.

I want to concentrate on the main ideas of programming and game development without being overwhelmed by details, and it seems I’m not the only one. People still want to create games for themselves, and they’re willing to learn how to write computer programs to do so. ...

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