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Core Techniques and Algorithms in Game Programming

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0131020092
ISBN-10: 0131020099
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"If you want to understand the fundamentals of programming concepts that underlie today's games, this book leads the way. It explores such a wide range of algorithms and concepts, it should be required reading for anyone entering the game programming field."

--Alex Dunne, Executive Producer, Gamasutra.com

"...brings together material from a variety of advanced gaming topics into a single well-organized book. Wish I had something like this to refer to when I was starting out."

--Ed Magnin Video Game Designer and Programmer, Magnin & Associates

"College students pursuing a degree in the field of game programming will need this book. In addition, professional programmers who wish to learn more about game-specific topics will greatly benefit from reading this book."

--Wendy Stahler, Professor and Course Director of Game Design and Development, Full Sail Real World Education

"I can't think of any published book on game programming that covers this range of topics."

--Eric Le, 3D Programmer, Ubi Soft Entertainment

From the Back Cover

To even try to keep pace with the rapid evolution of game development, you need a strong foundation in core programming techniques-not a hefty volume on one narrow topic or one that devotes itself to API-specific implementations. Finally, there's a guide that delivers! As a professor at the Spanish university that offered that country's first master's degree in video game creation, author Daniel Sanchez-Crespo recognizes that there's a core programming curriculum every game designer should be well versed in-and he's outlined it in these pages! By focusing on time-tested coding techniques-and providing code samples that use C++, and the OpenGL and DirectX APIs-Daniel has produced a guide whose shelf life will extend long beyond the latest industry trend. Code design, data structures, design patterns, AI, scripting engines, 3D pipelines, texture mapping, and more: They're all covered here-in clear, coherent fashion and with a focus on the essentials that will have you referring back to this volume for years to come.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 888 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders Games (September 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131020099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131020092
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This text is an intriguing kind of beast. It gives broad overviews of almost every area that impinges on game engine design, but yet avoids a lot of low level detail in maths and code that one has come to expect - perhaps wrongly? The result is that you can read this book and speak at a very high level, very comprehensively, about myriad issues affecting 3D game engine design - wihout being able to write a line of code. Yes, one could be very cynical about this style of presentation but one has to start somewhere on the learning curve. Along this dimension therefore the book is an excellent conceptual text for students. It reminds me a little in passing of the excellent Turing Omnibus but without the same algebraic grittiness.
It is a book to read before reading, say, the two volume Watt and Policarpo or Eberly's book. There is no doubt that for the student who wants a clear overview of the major current issues in game design, without the whole panopoly of algorithms, this is the best text available.
Whether the book would lead you into significant coding projects on its own, is a moot question. My personal opinion is that it wouldn't - unless you are already very familiar with the algorithmic implementations required. An ancilliary text with more DirectX or OpenGl meat would be necessary. Setting that judgement aside for the moment, it is an excellent text for anyone requiring an academically informed critique of the many design issues in game programming. Moreover it is also written to be read - a rarity in CS books these days.
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Format: Paperback
I have just finished using this book as a textbook for our computer game development course at the University of Otago. The text covers almost all of the important areas that need to be mentioned when discussing the development of computer games(audio and physics are a bit thin). When looking for a textbook for this course I compared several other titles including "Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus" by La Mothe. The problems with La Mothe is the writing style and the heavy reliance on API specific code. Sanchez-Crespo avoids these problems by explaining ideas in a clear and concise fashion. By intentionally focusing of the ideas behind the algorithm Sanchez-Crespo has created a book that has a self life beyond most of the current stock of books. If you found La Mothe hard to stomach because of the writing you will be pleasantly surprised with this text.
The text does not provide cookie cutter code samples that make it impossible to set assignments or learn by implementation, but instead provides the background knowledge required for successful application.
I would recommend this text for any student interested in understanding the breadth of knowledge required to be a good game programmer. The feedback from the students in the course was that this was one of the best textbooks they had used for any of their courses. If you are a Professor who needs a text for your senior level University course, I would suggest that they would be hard pressed to find a better text than this.(I know I've tried)
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Format: Paperback
Being a professor myself, i approached Sanchez-Crespo's book with skepticism. The NRG series is new, the author is an academic and, on top of that, the book does not come with a CD. Still, much to my surprise I have to say this book is exactly what I was looking for. After reading it (and re-reading some passages) the difference with other books on games is appalling: this is a course on games programming, a tool for those who want a formal, well laid-out introduction, that covers all the main topics and leaves few questions unanswered.
The book is structured in two parts: the first deals with gameplay programming, that is, software architecture, artificial intelligence, networks, input handling, etc. The section on AI is one of the best I've seen, and especially the chapter on Scripting Techniques is superb. Both traditional script languages, Lua and Java are covered with detail, so you can get down coding right after leaving the book. Lots of interesting techniques are detailed, such as Djikstra's, A*, etc. so this book is one of the rare instances of AI material designed specifically for games.
Then, the technology section is just appalling in scope: approx. 400 pages full of algorithms, starting with simple 3D pipelines, and then indoors/outdoors rendering, character animation, cameras, texturing, lighting, shaders, etc. The book is surprisingly up-to-date, making me guess the author is a graphics programmer at the core. The shader section is based on Cg, and covers topics such as skeletal animation on shaders, BDRFs, toon rendering, etc. So in the end this doesn't feel much as an introductory book, but as a complete volume of knowledge, ranging from the very basic to the very advanced.
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Format: Paperback
Aspiring game programmers face a major challenge. There are plenty of good introductory books out there that will teach them enough to put together a basic game. Unfortunately, the leap from there to being able to program something approaching a commercial game is huge. There are articles and resources covering more advanced topics, but most of them assume a knowledge of several other topics that the reader may have never even heard of before.
That's where this book comes in. Core Techniques & Algorithms in Game Programming provides an excellent survey of the most important topics in game programming and serves as a glue between beginning and advanced texts.
The topics covered include architectural issues such as game organization, data structures, and design patterns, over 100 pages of artificial intelliegence, scripting, networking, occlusion and LOD algorithms for both indoor and outdoor environments, animation and cinematography, shading (including BRDF, lightmapping, and NPR), organic rendering (trees, grass, oceans, clouds), particle systems (including useful performance tips), geometric algorithms, shaders, and an excellent appendix covering performance tuning. Each chapter also includes a list of resources that can be used for further study.
Each topic is covered in enough depth to give the reader a solid, clear understanding of each algorithm or technique without getting bogged down in details. The amount of code listed is limited (but useful), but any decent programmer should be able to easily take the techiniques described in the book and implement them in their language/API of choice. The book moves along at an brisk pace without giving a sense that any topic is being glossed over.
There are only a couple of minor negative points worth mentioning.
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