Digital Skills is a small company specialising in creating hands-on, easy-to-follow, training material. Over our 18 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.
Book Resource Downloads
When you order your book, we'll send you details of how to download the resources that go with your book.
News in Detail
2021 November 9
Hands On AppGameKit Studio Volume 1 has been updated. A new section on creating a set of functions to handle a top scores table have been added. This allows a top scores table to be added to your game using a single function call.
In addition, various topics such as magnification, zooming and creating and loading an app on to an Android device has been updated.
If you have previously purchased Volume 1 directly from us at Digital Skills you are entitled to a free upgrade. Just email your original purchase order reference number (or your name and date of purchase) to firstname.lastname@example.org and title your email AGK Volume 1 Free Upgrade.
2021 April 8
For a limited time we have reduced the price of the Hands On AppGameKit books to 18.60GBP. Go to the Buy page to purchase the books at this new low price.
2020 December 30
For a limited time we have reduced the price of the Hands On AppGameKitbooks to 18.60GBP. Go to the Buy page to purchase the books at this new low price.
Hands On AppGameKit Volume 2 has been updated. For the most part this involves a substantial increase in the GUI widgets chapter
with new functions added to existing widgets and new widgets introduced (Spinner, Dropdown list, ColorPicker and KeyPad). Additional widgets are available from
the book supplements (Stopwatch and TrafficLights).
Most other changes are corrections and diagram updates.
The book update is free to anyone who has bought volume 2 directly from Digital Skills. We'll be automatically sending download details in the next few days to those who have
bought Volume 2 in November and December 2020. If you bought before Novemeber, please request a free copy of the update by emailing us at
email@example.com with your purchase Reference number, heading the email "AGK Volume 2 Update".
When downloading the updated book be sure to also downloaded the updated resources ZIP file.
2020 Novemeber 22
Another free, documented GUI widget for AGK is available for download. This time it is a simple TrafficLights widget which
uses a four frame image to allow for switching between red, amber, green, and grey (off) settings
You'll also find as part of the download, a summary of all the GUI widgets and their related functions that will be available in
the next update to Volume 2 (coming soon and free to those who have already purchased Volume 2 from Digital Skills).
2020 September 29
Sometimes we just need time out from writing video games and turn to playing them instead. Even more restful is watching other people
play them. Try joining Daniel's livestream twitch game play at https://www.twitch.tv/merevin. And now a plug from the man himself:
2020 September 05
Many people are not aware that you can download over 300 pages of Hands On AppGameKit Studio Volume 1 for free. Just click on the link below.
Whether you're new to programming in general or AppGameKit in particular, you'll find these pages will help you get started as well as giving you plenty of activities (with solutions) to help build up your skills
These chapters take you far enough to code a Spot-the-Difference game where the player has to click on the differences between two (almost) identical images.
This is another new GUI widget to add to Chapter 4 of Hands On AppGameKit Studio Volume 2. This time it's a simple colour picker.
To use it, simply click on the colour required and then access the corresponfing RGB colour values.
The free supplement is 12 pages in length and can be downloaded from the link in AGK Studio Volume 2's Download page
2020 April 30
Chapter 4 of Hands On AppGameKit Studio Volume 2 shows how to create your own widgets such as buttons, checkboxes and radio buttons.
Today we are offering a free supplement (30 pages) to that chapter which adds a stopwatch to the list of available widgets. Just click on the link in the AGK Studio Volume 2's Download page .
2020 March 21
We have today released Hands On C++17. If you've liked the unique style of our previous books, then you'll love our beginner's guide to C++17. It covers everything from basic data types through classes and inheritance to lambdas and move semantics with a whole lot in between. And, of course, it's brimming with Activities and their solutions. Have a look at the C++ section of our site for a more detailed list of contents and to download a sample chapter.
2019 July 1
The AppGameKit books have now been updated to include the features of AppGameKit Studio. These new volumes are simply extended versions of the
previous books, so they cover both AppGameKit Studio and AppGameKit Classic.
The AppGameKit books published by Digital Skills are now no longer available from The Game Creators or Steam. These were previously published under the "The Official AppGameKit ..." titles.
If you have already bought the earlier books from Digital Skills, you'll get a free upgrade to the new ones. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org giving details of your original purchase and request the free upgrade.
2018 September 17
It's been some time since the last update to Hands On AGK2 BASIC Volume 1 but at last it has been brought up-to-date.
This latest update covers new commands right up to release version 2018_08_30 and also adds a bonus chapter showing how to create a Bezier curve
using sprite-based line segments (covered in an earlier chapter). Click on the link below to see the Bezier curve code in operation.
If you bought your copy of the book from us, email us at sales
@digital-skills.co.uk using the subject title BOOK UPDATE
along with details of your original order number or the date of your purchase. We'll get back to you with details of how to download your
free update. If you bought through Steam or The Game Creators, your free update should be available in the next couple of weeks.
The resource file for the book has also been update, so you should download the latest copy. The simplest way to do that is to click on the
link above for The Official AppGameKit Tutorial Guide Vol #1 (this is the book's title when sold via Steam and TGC).
2018 January 2
The resources file for Hands On AGK2 BASIC Volume 2 (also sold as The Official AppGameKit Tutorial Guide Vol #2) has been updated (three shader files were previously missing from Chapter 14's resources). If you downloaded the resources file before today, please download the new version of the file using the appropriate link.
2017 December 28
Hands On AGK2 BASIC Volume 2 has now been updated to include new commands introduced by version 2017_12_12 of AGK.
If you bought the book from us, email us at email@example.com to receive details of how to download your updated copy.
Those of you who bought the The Official AppGameKit Tutorial Guide Volume #2 from Steam or TGC, will receive the update soon.
2017 December 20
The resources file for Hands On AGK2 BASIC Volume 2 (The Offical AppGameKit Tutorial Guide Vol #2) has been updated to
include board.obj which was missing from the resources for Chapter 12. If you downloaded the resources file before today, please download
the new version of the file using the appropriate link.
2017 November 4
It's been a loooong time coming, but below you can see the cover of the second volume
of Hands On AGK2 BASIC. It's another thick book - over 900 iPad-sized pages!
You'll find stuff on 2D and 3D physics, network gaming, game AI and code-complete games - and, of course, a whole lot more.
Click on the AGK2 BASIC button above to see the complete contents of both volumes.
Again, The Game Creators will be selling the book under their own title: The Official AppGameKit Tutorial Guide Vol #2
with the original book now being retitled as Vol #1.
2017 January 29
The contents of Hands On AGK2 BASIC Volume 1 has been updated to reflect the many changes to AGK2 in
the last few months.
New text includes the following topics:
New commands relating to vector-based fonts
New camera commands
Techniques for using sprites to create lines, boxes and circles
How to replace the default code created for each new AGK2 project
NOTE: All of these changes have also been added to The Official App Game Kit Tutorial Guide available from The Game Creators.
If you purchased your Hands On AGK2 BASIC Volume 1 book from Digital Skills, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details of how to obtain a free upgrade to the latest version of the book.
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: