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Build iOS Games with Sprite Kit; March PragPub Magazine

March 05, 2014

On this day in 1496, King Henry VII authorized John Cabot and sons to venture forth and explore unknown lands. Maybe it's a good day to do just that.

Take your game ideas from paper to pixels using Sprite Kit, Apple's 2D game development engine for iOS, and our latest title, Build iOS Games with Sprite Kit (

Fancy winning a bunch of Grammy awards? The sound design folks did. Read about sound design, Clojure, careers, kids and computing, and more in this month's jam-packed and jammin' issue of PragPub magazine, now available at

Tally ho!

Build iOS Games with Sprite Kit: Unleash Your Imagination in Two Dimensions

Power up your inner game developer and start building incredible games with Sprite Kit. This book will teach you everything you need to know about Apple's 2D game engine. If you have some programming experience but you're new to game development, you'll hit the ground running, no complex tools required—just the Sprite Kit SDK.

You'll start out fast by building a single-finger infinite runner game, where the goal is to stay alive as long as possible and rack up points. You'll explore the Sprite Kit template, actions, and particle editor and watch your game take shape with an armed player ship, asteroids and enemy ships, explosions, power-ups, and variable difficulty. Then you'll stitch the game together with cutscenes, menus, and scoring.

Next, you'll build a classic pinball game with all the fun and physics of the real thing. You'll discover the powerful Sprite Kit physics engine and enhance your game with gravity, friction, ricochets, and spin physics, as well as sound effects, bonus scoring, and special effects. Plus, this game features two-finger control.

Dust off those game ideas you've been tucking away and let your imagination bring them to life. This book will show you how.

Now in beta at

March PragPub Magazine

March, they say, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Presumably having, like Apple, grown tired of cat references. The March issue of PragPub comes in like a magazine and stays like a magazine, and has no cats at all. What it has are articles on designing sound, writing Clojure code, teaching kids to program, managing a job transition, and more.

That phrase "designing sound" may have slipped right by you. We recommend you think about what it means for a second. The movie Gravity was nominated for ten Academy Awards, three of which were for Original Score, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. Sound did a lot to pull you into the world of that movie, and sound can also do a lot to make the user experience for your apps deeply immersive, as developer and sound designer Tony Hillerson reveals in this issue.

Tony wrote the book on sound design. This book: Programming Sound with Pure Data: Make Your Apps Come Alive with Dynamic Audio. Tony’s a firm believer that sound can be a powerful tool for creating immersive user experiences in apps as well as in games. He thinks it’s important that people programming sound realize that they aren’t just sound programmers, but sound designers. In this month’s PragPub, he lays out some basic principles that should guide anyone’s sound design.

With this issue, Michael Bevilacqua-Linn brings to a close his popular series on the ins and outs of the Clojure language. This month he puts it all together, revisiting a program written at the beginning of the series but applying skills and insights acquired over the intervening months. It’s a fine conclusion to the series, but Mike secretly plans to talk him into writing a couple more articles later this year.

Johanna Rothman and Andy Lester dispense career advice in dialog form in their monthly column. This month they talk about transitions: moving from one company to another or to a different job within the same company. Transitions can be tricky, and Johanna and Andy explain how to navigate around the submerged rocks and whirlpools of job transitions.

All this year PragPub is featuring articles on teaching kids to code. We’re also collecting these articles as we go along and building a special issue of PragPub all about kids and coding. It will grow each month, you can sign up to be alerted when there’s new content, and it’s free. This month, the magazine and the special issue include two new articles on kids and code, by Fahmida Y. Rashid and Jimmy Thrasher.

Editor Mike Swaine stumbled across something he wrote at the time of the dot-com crash, a little piece of fluff called Poverty on Parade. Given that it also has a snarky relevance to current attitudes toward the haves in Silicon Valley, he decided to reprise that this month. Also, John Shade takes on Wired magazine and Antonio Cangiano writes about new books. Plus Choice Bits, Rear Window, and what’s up with Pragmatic Bookshelf books and authors.

Upcoming Author Appearances

  • 2014-03-05 Drew Neil, Core Vim Class Online
  • 2014-03-06 Jonathan Penn, CocoaConf Chicago
  • 2014-03-06 Chris Adamson, CocoaConf Chicago
  • 2014-03-07 Jonathan Penn, CocoaConf Chicago
  • 2014-03-07 Seb Rose, Joy of Coding, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 2014-03-07 Venkat Subramaniam, NFJS—Minneapolis
  • 2014-03-07 Dave Thomas, Erlang Factory, San Francisco
  • 2014-03-08 Chris Adamson, CocoaConf Chicago
  • 2014-03-08 Jonathan Penn, CocoaConf Chicago
  • 2014-03-11 Rachel Davies, Agile Yorkshire meetup, Leeds, UK
  • 2014-03-17 Johanna Rothman, London
  • 2014-03-18 Johanna Rothman, London
  • 2014-03-21 Johanna Rothman, London
  • 2014-03-25 Rachel Davies, Heart of England Scrum, Birmingham, UK
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