Digital Skills is a small company specialising in creating hands-on, easy-to-follow, training material. Over our 14 years in existence
we've created many books covering various programming languages before recently starting on school maths material.
About our Books
We think our books are something special but don't just take our word for how good they are. Here are some comments from readers about our books :
I love all three of my books from Digital Skills!
Between your customer service and excellent books, Digital Skills has become one of my favorite tech publishers.
I wanted to let you know that this reference has been invaluable to my efforts for converting my first game to the AGK platform.
I constantly refer to your book, it's really a nice piece of work.
This is a great example of what a programmer's manual really should be.
Hands On AGK BASIC allowed me to jump right into the AGK programming language and create dFenz in just a few short weeks.
News in Detail
2016 May 17
Hands On AGK2 Tier 2 (sold through TGC as The Official AppGameKit Tier 2 Starter's Guide) is now available.
This latest book is a short (120 pages) introduction to AGK2 Tier 2 (C++) programming.
Note that the book does not attempt to teach C++ or AGK2. Instead, it concentrates on the techniques required for programmers
already experienced in C++ and AGK2 to get started in Tier 2 and to introduce best practices when modifying the Tier 2 templates supplied by TGC. For more details of the book's contents, click on the AGK2 button at the top of this page.
Examples within the book are given in both Visual Studio Community 2015 and Android Studio (both of these packages are free downloads).
As usual, the book contains activities and solutions to re-inforce the learning experience.
2016 January 17
Happy New Year!
There may not have been much in the way of news over the past few months but that doesn't mean we haven't been beavering away at creating new material.
Work on Hands On AGK2 BASICVolume 2 is now well under way (we'll be posting a few sample pages soon).
Also in the pipeline is a shorter book on AGK2 Tier 2 programming (this assumes you are already know C++) and a separate Hands on C++ book for those of you still to learn that language.
2015 October 30
The Game Creators are now selling Hands On AGK2 BASICVolume 1 using their own book covers and titles.
The complete Hands On AGK2 BASIC book is being sold under the title The Offical AppGameKit Tutorial Guide while a shortened version (containing only 19 chapters) is being sold as The Official AppGameKit Beginner's Guide.
2015 October 15
At long last Hands On AGK2 BASICVolume 1 is complete. But rather than being around 750 pages as predicted, it's turned out to be over 900 pages in length! And it looks like Volume 2 will be at least as large.
Because of this increase in size (and effort) we will be making a slight adjustment to the pricing of upgrade and new purchases. Obviously, those who have already paid for the upgrade will be unaffected. See the Buy page for details.
2015 September 1
As many of you are aware, you can download a free copy of the first eight chapters of the soon-to-be-released, Hands On AGK2 BASICVolume 1 from our AGK BASIC pages (click on the AGK BASIC button near the top of this page and navigate to the Hands On AGK2 BASIC Sample page).
As the later chapters of the book are developed, it is sometimes
necessary to tweek earlier chapters so that they contain all the core knowledge required in those later chapters. This has meant that there has been a few additions to parts of those first eight chapters and so the free download file has now been updated to reflect these changes.
2015 August 15
We have just released a new ebook titled Computer Programming for School Teachers. As you might guess, it is specifically aimed at the teaching profession. The goal of the text is to bring teachers with little or no programming experience up to a level where they will feel confident to teach programming to school children of any age.
You'll find out more by clicking on the AGK BASIC button at the top of this page, then selecting the new book's link.
The book is a cut-down version of the yet-to-be-published Hands On AGK2 BASIC Volume 1 and is appropriate for those that do not require a complete knowledge of AGK2 BASIC.
2015 August 10
Another two chapters have been added to Hands On AGK2 BASICVolume 1. These chapters cover sprite animation and the completion of the CatchACrab and BrickBat games. Purchasers of the "live" upgrade will be emailed shortly.
A few minor changes have been made to the contents of the first 8 chapters of Hands On AGK2 BASICVolume 1. This has increased the number of pages in this section of the book to 268. You can download a free copy of these chapters from the AGK BASIC Sample page.
2015 July 14
We've now completed the first 17 chapters (588 pages) of Hands On AGK2 BASIC. Those of you who have bought the "live" upgrade option will be emailed shortly.
The new chapters describe a basic structure that can be used for most programs and demostrate its use by creating a game called CatchACrab. You'll also see how to code user-controlled sprite movement as well as how to use spacecraft thrusters, fire missiles and add sound effects.
2015 July 1
The first 15 chapters (521 pages) of Hands On AGK2 BASIC are now complete. For those of you have bought the "live" upgrade option (see June entry), we'll
be sending you details of how to download your copy shortly.
You'll find the titles of the 15 chapters available so far (and the two chapters to follow) on the AGK Sample page.
2015 June 17
We have had requests to gain access to the new chapters for Hands On AGK2 BASIC as they are written. In response we have today added an option
to the ebooks BUY section to purchase access to these chapters at a cost of 4.50GBP.
This offer is only available to those who have already bought Hands On AGK BASIC (version 1) in printed or ebook format.
To choose this option, you'll need to supply your purchase order number/reference number for your original purchase.
2015 June 16
Python 3 - Sample Video
A sample of the video tutorials that will accompany this book is now available. You can downloaded it by clicking the link on the Python's Sample page
2015 April 21
AGK BASIC 2 Sample Update
An updated version of the free sample download is now available. This contains minor corrections to a few typos.
2015 April 7
AGK BASIC 2 Update
The free sample chapters from the upcoming Hands On AGK BASIC 2 book have been updated to include details of how to use the debugger and a few extra sprite-handling statements . You find a link on the AGK BASIC Sample page.
2015 March 14
AGK BASIC Resources
Below you'll see a brief video of one of the free resources that accompanies the Hands On AGK BASIC 2 book. There
are several of these resources available for download on the AGK BASIC Sample page.
You'll also find a set of resources for the maths booklets on the Math Downloads page.
And all of these resources have been created using AGK BASIC!
2015 March 1
Mad March Sale
We've reduced the prices of the Milkshape and DarkBASIC Pro books for the whole of March.
2015 February 22
Hands On AGK BASIC 2 - Resources
The free downloadable resources for Hands On AGK2 BASIC now include a command summary, detailing all of the AGK BASIC statements covered in the first 8 chapters. Each entry includes syntax, brief description and the page on which the statement is covered in the book.
2015 February 14
Hands On AGK BASIC 2 - Updates
A couple of minor changes have been made to the free Hands on AGK2 BASIC download on the AGK Samples page. These includes use of the newline escape character (\n)
in strings enclosed in single quotes.
2015 February 7
Hands On AGK2 BASIC - All Eight Free Chapters Complete!
The first eight chapters (252 pages) of Hands On AGK2 BASIC are now complete and can be downloaded from the AGK BASIC Samples page. This latest download includes a revision of earlier chapters to reflect changes made in the AGK2.11 release.
Work continues on updating and adding other chapters for the new edition. Look back later for reports on the new book's progress and updates to the free resources.
2015 February 1
Hands On AGK2 BASIC
Chapter 5, Selection, of the new Hands On AGK2 BASIC book is now available for free download from our AGK Samples page.
The chapter contains 24 pages.
This chapter explains the use of AGK BASIC's if and select statements as well as how to test such structures.
10 Minute Math Series
The third booklet from the 10 Minute Math series (Sine, Cosine, and Tangent) is now available on Amazon. You'll find details of the latest booklets' contents in Maths section (Contents page)and you can download the support software from there too (Downloads page).
2015 January 28
10 Minute Math Series
The first two maths booklets are available exclusively from Amazon, but you'll find details of the booklets' contents on our Maths section (Contents page)and you can download the
support software from there too (Downloads page).
2015 January 26
10 Minute Math Series
Unfortunately, we have had to remove the first of the short mathematics booklets (Cartesian Coordinates) from the Maths Sample page. The booklet will be available for free from Amazon for a short time, but unfortunately their terms and conditions stipulate that the booklet cannot be offered for free from any other location!
2015 January 25
Hands On AGK BASIC 2
Chapter 4 of Hands On AGK2 BASIC is now available for download in the
AGK Samples page. The chapter is 40 pages long.
This chapter explains variable types, named constants, defining variables, arithmetic operators and operator precedence. Timer and random functions are also covered. User input is tackled using a #include file. Finally, a description of how to to test sequential code is given.
2015 January 18
Hands On AGK BASIC 2
The third chapter (and first to actually cover the new version of AGK BASIC and its IDE) of Hands On AGK BASIC 2 is now available for download in the
AGK Samples page. The chapter is 33 pages long.
2015 January 10
Hands On AGK2 BASIC
The second chapter of Hands On AGK2 BASIC is now available for free download. You'll find it in the AGK Samples page (click on the AGK button above to get to the correct section).
This second chapter is an entirely new chapter to the book and covers numbers systems (binary, hexadecimal, and octal) showing you how to convert from one system to another. It also explains how negative values, floating-point values and characters are stored.
Don't worry too much if maths isn't your thing! Although this is useful background information, its not too essential to understand it in detail in order to create your AGK BASIC programs.
Again, it would be much appreciated if you would leave some constructive feedback on these updated chapters and the support material at email@example.com.
2015 January 1
Hands On AGK2 BASIC
AGK version 2 has had some very big changes from version 1. Many of these are simply the addition of new functions, but other elements affect the IDE and how every program is structured. Unfortunately, these changes make the information in the early chapters of Hands On AGK BASIC somewhat inaccurate leading to difficulties for those of you that are just starting out with AGK.
To alleviate this problem, I am rewriting these first chapters to cover the new AGK 2 setup (as well as making a few other changes).
You can find a link to the first new chapter in the Sample page for AGK BASIC. The downloads are free to everyone. Look out for future chapter updates.
As well as updating the book's text, we are also adding some supporting software for many of the chapters. These may be in the form of training programs (written in AGK) or videos. These will be listed along with the links to the new chapters.
It would be much appreciated if you would leave some constructive feedback on these updated chapters and the support material at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Website Design
It's been many years since the website has had a makeover since most of the limited manpower has gone into writing books. However, with the HTML5 now widely adopted (and with access to Dreamweaver CC) it's time to work on a revamped site.
Hands On Tkinter Videos
The Hands On Tkinter for Python 3 book is well under way and we are hoping for a release in the first quarter of 2015.
Having looked at many of the publications out there on this topic, there seems to be a lack of any text with sufficient detail to
help an existing Python programmer gain an in-depth understanding of Python's Tkinter GUI modules and the newer themed widgets.
This book hopes to fill that space in the market.
But as well as the PDF book, we're also working on a set of videos to accompany the publication. The first of these is now complete and
we are hoping to make them available to a wider audience by uploading a few of the videos to YouTube.
Hands On AGK BASIC - 2nd Edition
With AGK BASIC version 2 now in a more stable state, we hope to start on a second edition to Hands On AGK BASIC in the near future.
An updated version of the first few chapters will be available for download for free from both this site and The Game Creators.
We have created an outline for the first five school math(s) booklets. These will be: