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#1 JoshieLove  Icon User is offline

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The best PHP/MYSQL book for starting a web based game...

Posted 29 December 2008 - 02:25 PM

This is going to be a long explanation because I feel it's due.

Alright. First things first, I'm not some 12 year old kid holding a lollipop and screaming at my mother to get me some more chocolate milk while typing this. I'm in my mid-20's and recently had to stop working due to a Chiari Malformation (google it if you're curious). I've taught myself HTML and CSS from a very early age (my family got a WebTV and I went to town).

After being upset with myself for the past six months being unable to work, being told I need to pay $5,000 up front to get a surgery that might not even fix my problem, and living on my husbands paychecks, I had an "Ah-ha!" moment. I've always wanted to be involved with computer programming, and now that I obviously have the free-time, why not start now?

I know of the online PHP tutorials, but I've always taught myself from a book. There's something about sitting in a class or reading a book that keeps me on track. Being able to write notes and highlight - etc etc. Online tutorials can also be very overwhelming for me - throwing all this information at me that I'm not sure I need to know yet, or that I need to know period.

I'm looking to spend some holiday cash on a great PHP/MYSQL book that will teach me the basics. I'm looking for something that starts at the start and works its way up.

I've done a lot of research on Amazon, and every book seems great. I'm hoping to get some honest reviews - what worked for you, what didn't.

My main goals are to create a web based game, and learn enough to be a dangerous freelancer (since it's impossible to work a 9-5 job at the moment, I figure freelancing when I can is the way to go).

I am VERY serious about this, and understand the dedication and hard work it's going to take.

Anyhoo. I think I've rambled on enough. Looking forward to reading your responses. Thank you!

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Replies To: The best PHP/MYSQL book for starting a web based game...

#2 pr4y  Icon User is offline

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Re: The best PHP/MYSQL book for starting a web based game...

Posted 30 December 2008 - 09:17 PM

I bought a book on PHP about 8 years ago, and found it a waste of time. Books spend too much time explaining the most minute details of EVERYTHING that I would ask myself why am I even reading this?

In my honest opinion, the best and only way to truly learn a programming language, is start programming. Obviously, you can't start from nowhere if you don't know where to start, but think about it. Do you learn a foreign language by reading a book on it, or by actually practicing it and taking the time to learn it on your own.

The only thing a book is good for is reinforcing your experimentation with learning the language. From the beginning, you need to set realistic goals.

After reading the title of this topic I honestly chuckled to myself and said "here we go again..."

Starting off you aren't going to be writing a web based game. To be perfectly honest, you won't be writing a web based game for a long time. If you do, all props to you... but take into consideration that web based games take 10,000+ if not 100,000+ hours of labor to complete. Maybe not every game takes that much, but if you are trying to design a game that people will actually ENJOY playing and not just another "Register, Log In, Play for 5 minutes, shoot your face off from boredom" game, then you aren't setting realistic goals.

Becoming a freelance programmer IS however a realistic goal, but don't jump into things saying "I'm going to learn PHP and write a game and have it done by March 1st"... because it simply wont happen.

I don't understand the need to waste money on a book when the internet provides 100 X the amount of resources needed to learn a programming language. Take a look around this site. If you have ANY question regarding ANY problem, someone has an answer for you. Does a book do that? Does a book give you hundreds of tutorials and snipplets on the language you are learning?


I have a 700 page book on PHP MySQL and Apache, and it has 9 tutorials in it. This website alone has a few hundred PHP tutorials, that are:

1. Easy to follow
2. Designed for absolute beginners
3. Don't bore you with 20+ pages of literature about a 5 line script

... I'm just going to stop myself here. Books are bad. MMKAY? The internet is all you need. Every resource in the world can be found on the internet... which you pay ~$30-40 per month for... so why waste another $49.99 for a book that seriously, WILL bore you... when you have a website like Dream.In.Code...

Just my opinion... take it or leave it, I don't care :)
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#3 maffelu  Icon User is offline

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Re: The best PHP/MYSQL book for starting a web based game...

Posted 31 December 2008 - 01:15 AM

I do understand the need to buy a book to learn. A book can be a great starter from which you can turn to internet tutorials afterwards.

I'd say that the O'Reilly books are always handy, like this one:


But I do think that pr4y has several points. Don't make a game and don't expect to become a master in 6 months. It takes 8 hours a day for a long time to become good enough to work with it. So it's a good idea to start soon :P

Take an O'reilly book, get the basics, but from there use the internet. If nothing else, get a printer and print the tutorials you find usefull(I did that and highlighted the prints).

Oh, once again, don't start of by making a game, it's suprisingly hard and tedious :crazy:

This post has been edited by maffelu: 31 December 2008 - 01:24 AM

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