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Programming Linux Games

Who This Book Is For

     This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to write games for Linux. I assume that you know the basics of working with Linux; if you know enough to start X, open a terminal, copy les around, and re up a text editor, you're good to go. I also assume that you have a reasonable grasp of the C programming language. Flip through the book and see if you can decipher the syntax of the examples. We'll go through all of the necessary library calls, so don't worry if you see a bunch of unfamiliar function names, but you should be able to understand the majority of the actual code. No prior experience with multimedia programming is assumed, so don't worry if you've never had the perverse pleasure of hacking a graphics register or shoving a pixel into memory. All in good time!
     Although this isn't a reference manual in the traditional sense, chapters 4, 5, 6, and 8 provide reference boxes for most of the API functions we cover. I hope that even experienced multimedia programmers can nd something useful here.
     I will not discuss 3D programming in this book. There are already plenty of excellent books on OpenGL, and only a small bit of OpenGL programming is directly related to Linux. However, I will demonstrate how to use SDL as an e ective replacement for the GLUT toolkit; see page 140.

The Anatomy of a Game 

     In 1991 a Finnish university student named Linus Torvalds began working on a  new operating system in his spare time. He didn't work in isolation, nor did he  make a big deal about what he was doing; rather, he modestly invited  programmers from all over the world to join his project, which he dubbed  \Linux." This loosely knit team of students, professionals, and hobbyists  collaborated through the Internet, with the expectation of learning a bit about  programming and having a good time. Linus never thought that his project  would spawn an entire industry.
     Since then, Linux has grown into a general-purpose operating system for a wide  variety of hardware platforms. With more than 10 million users (a number that  is constantly growing), the Linux platform o ers a sizable audience for computer  games. It is now capable of accelerated 3D graphics, environmental audio, and  seamless game controller handling, in addition to the server tasks that UNIX-like  operating systems generally carry out. Although Linux is still evolving, it is  already a solid environment for serious game development.

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