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Editorial Reviews

Review

PART I: GAME PROGRAMMING FUNDAMENTALS. 1. What is Game Programming Really Like?. 2. What's in a Game?. 3. Coding Tidbits and Style That Will Save You. 4. Building Your Game. PART II: GET YOUR GAME RUNNING. 5. Game Initialization and Shutdown. 6. Controlling the Main Loop. 7. Loading and Caching Game Data. 8. Programming Input Devices. 9. User Interface Programming. PART III: CORE GAME TECHNIQUES. 10. Game Event Management. 11. Scripting with Lua. 12. Game Audio. 13. 3D Basics. 14. 3D Scenes. 15. Collision and Simple Physics. 16. Network Programming Primer. PART IV: ADVANCED TOPICS AND BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER. 17. An Introduction to Game AI. 18. Introduction to Multiprogramming. 19. A Game of Teapot Wars!. 20. A Simple Game Editor in C#. 21. Debugging Your Game. 22. Driving to the Finish.

About the Author

Mike McShaffry, aka "Mr. Mike," began programming games as soon as he could tap a keyboard. After graduating from the University of Houston, he worked for Warren Spector and Richard Garriott, aka "Lord British," at Origin Systems on Martian Dreams, Ultima VII: The Black Gate, Ultima VIII: Pagan, Ultima IX: Ascension, and Ultima Online. Seven years later he formed his first company, Tornado Alley. Mike later accepted a position at Glass Eye Entertainment, working for his friend Monty Kerr, where he produced Microsoft Casino. Ten months later, Monty asked Mike and his newly assembled team to start their own company, called Compulsive Development, which would work exclusively with Microsoft on casual casino and card games. Mike served as the Head of Studio, and together with the rest of the Compulsive folks, produced three more casual titles for Microsoft until August 2002. Compulsive was acquired by Glass Eye Entertainment to continue work on Glass Eye's growing online casual games business. Mike was later recruited to start an Austin studio for Maryland-based Breakaway Games. Mike is currently self-employed, helping teams build a positive, creative and energetic environment so they can do what they do best--make great games.

David "Rez" Graham is a self-taught programmer who has been writing games in his basement since 1996. In 2005, he landed a programming job at Super-Ego Games where he worked on mini-games and AI for Barbie Diaries: High School Mystery for the PC. He also worked on a comedy adventure game called RatRace for the PlayStation 3. In 2008, Rez went to work for Planet Moon and worked on Brain Quest for the Game Boy DS and Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter for the Wii. Rez went to PlayFirst in 2010 where he worked on Diner Dash: Grillin' Green for the iPad and was the lead engineer for Wedding Dash for the iPhone 4. Rez currently works at Electronic Arts as an AI programmer for the Sims division. He has shipped two titles there, which include The Sims Medieval and the Pirates & Nobles Adventure Pack. He is currently the lead AI programmer for an upcoming Sims title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 4 edition (March 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1133776574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1133776574
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 7.8 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mike McShaffry, a.k.a. "Mr. Mike," started programming games as soon as he could tap a keyboard--in fact he somehow skipped 7th grade math entirely in favor of writing games in BASIC on an ancient Commodore Pet. In his single-minded pursuit of programming knowledge, he signed up for an extended stay at the University of Houston. To the surprise of himself and the Dean of Mathematics, he was actually graduated five and one-half years later. Shortly after graduation, he entered the boot camp of the computer game industry: Origin Systems. He worked for Warren Spector and Richard Garriott, a.k.a. "Lord British," on Martian Dreams, Ultima VII: The Black Gate, Ultima VIII: Pagan, Ultima IX: Ascension, and Ultima Online.

Exactly seven years from the day he was hired, Mike arranged his escape and in 1997 formed his first company, Tornado Alley. Tornado Alley was a garage start-up whose goal was to create No Grownups Allowed, a massively multiplayer world for children--something that was sure to land Mike and anyone else at Tornado Alley front and center of a Congressional hearing. While No Grownups never left the tarmac, a kid's activity program called Magnadoodle by Mattel Media did, and in record development time.

The entrepreneurial bug, a ravenous and insatiable beast, finally devoured enough of Mike's remaining EA stock to motivate him to take a steady gig at Glass Eye Entertainment, working for his friend Monty Kerr, where he produced Microsoft Casino. Ten short months later, Monty asked Mike and his newly assembled team to start their own company called Compulsive Development, which would work exclusively with Microsoft on casual casino and card games.
Mike served as the primary coffee brew master and Head of Studio, and together with the rest of the Compulsive folks, twenty great people in all, produced three more casual titles for Microsoft until August 2002. Compulsive was acquired by Glass Eye Entertainment to continue work on Glass Eye's growing online casual games business.

Mike was hungry for AAA console work, and in 2003 he got what he wanted: - Ion Storm's Thief: Deadly Shadows team called Mike in to create their third-person camera technology and work on fine- tuning character movement at the 11th hour. What started as a two week contract turned into almost a year of labor working side- by- side with programmers that used to call Mike boss.

While it was great to be "one of the boys" again, it couldn't last forever. Mike was recruited to start an Austin studio for Maryland- based Breakaway Games. Breakaway Austin's focus was AAA console development and high- end simulations for the U.S. Military and DoD contractors. Mike and three of the BreakAway Austin team actually visited the USS Harry S. Truman, one of the U.S. Navy's CVN class Nuclear Aircraft Carriers. They flew out, landed on the carrier, spent four days and nights with the officers and crew, and got launched to go back home. Afterwards they created 24 Blue, a training simulator that mimics the insane environment of the deck of the carrier, jets and everything.

After BreakAway Austin Mike founded a consulting company called MrMike. He figured that nearly 18 years in the gaming industry was enough to firmly establish that as a good identity for the company. For nearly two years, he helped small game companies choose their game technology, firm up their production practices, and pitch game ideas to industry publishers like Microsoft, EA, THQ, and others. One of his clients, Red Fly Studio, made him an offer he couldn't refuse and he jumped back into a full time gig.

In 2008 Mike took the position of Executive Producer, and helped ship Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars, Ghostbusters for Wii/PS2, The Force Unleashed II for the Wii, Thor The Video Game for Wii/3DS, and three games for iOS/Android, including Inertia: Escape Velocity and Elenints.

Mike left Red Fly Studio in 2012 to restart his freelance career - helping companies get misbehaving projects under control and using his programming skills to develop custom tools, mobile apps, and anything else that seems interesting.

If Mike's fingers aren't tapping away at a keyboard, he's probably either "downhilling" on his mountain bike or enjoying good times with his friends in Austin, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Rouse on March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have owned three versions of Game Coding Complete (2,3 and now 4) and have always been impressed by the material found in the book that is neglected in nearly every other text of its nature. While many books focus strictly on a specific topic related to game development, such as a rendering API, physics engines or AI, GCC delves into topics that are not as easily researched either in books or online.

While there are a few requisite chapters about rendering, which uses the newest version of DirectX, they are less about teaching you how to use the API and more about how to structure a renderer for a game engine. This is a topic that is all to often overlooked except in game engine books, many of which are of questionable quality. Fortunately, GCC is written in a far more structured manner and these chapters, as well as all of the others, don't feel as though the authors wrote the first solution that came into their minds and the result is a much higher quality book.

While the first few chapters are basic introductions and a bit of design theory, the heart of the book begins in chapter 5. What follows is nearly twenty chapters of topics discussed with a fair amount of detail on subjects that are often missed entirely. This part of the books begins with a lengthly discussion on how to properly start up and shut down your game or game engine. While many books choose to miss any kind of discussion on how to do this in an elegant way, GCC gives it the attention it deserves and it may just be the best chapter in the entire book. Chapters on game actors, input devices (including game pads as well as keyboards/mice) and scripting have seen extensive rewrites from the third edition in order to modernize the code.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Shanee Nishry on March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a self taught game programmer myself I have quite a tall pile of books about the subject, including the previous edition by this author. Out of all the books out there trying to teach how to write a game and a game engine right, this one I feel deliver the knowledge the best out of all I tried so far, with its predecessor being right behind it.

While other books usually fall short, focusing mostly on a single element such as the game engine or the game only, this book takes you step by step through the process of creating the game engine using practical approaches from modern (2012) game industry applications, then follows up with creating a whole simple yet fun game and finishes with an editor for the game you just built. The whole process leaves you with enough knowledge to tackle your own game development with a set of tools to start with.

The chapters are set in order to teach you how to set up each piece of the engine from starting your windows application to reading user input, managing memory, rendering graphics, playing audio and even networking. Personally I enjoyed chapter 6 a lot where the authors explain Component based Actor architecture which feels to be a very simple and instinctive way to describe your in-game entities/actors. By the end of the chapter you should know how to create easy to use XMLs for defining your game objects. (Personally I added a binary read/write conversion for those classes for performance once game editing is done)

Another chapter I enjoyed a lot was chapter 18 "An Introduction to Game AI" where Rez explains many different AI systems all which the reader can choose from to use for specific game implementations, using a lot of examples from previous games he worked on such as The Sims Medieval .
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By philipb on December 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short story: If you want to work as a game programmer in the industry, you absolutely should understand the information in this book 100%. However, it is truly an advanced book, and if you are just getting into C++ usage, this should probably be your second or third book (at least).

Long story: There are few textbooks required by the Digipen Institute, one of the best game programming schools in the country. It emphasizes working together with your classmates to actually learn how to create games, so there is not a lot of actual book work to be done. This is one of those few books required. That alone should be enough to convince you it is worthwhile.

Let's go into a bit further though. The game industry has been alive for decades now, and that has led to standards and styles of programming that proves more effective than other methods. It is accepted that C++, and object-oriented programming in general, is the way to go. Event-driven programming is common in large titles. Resource management is a common theme in a game with gigs of data that needs to be continually streamed in. Multiple controller schemes need to be supported.

The authors of this book have worked in the industry, and this book is their offering to help teach you how modern games are made. Other books will manually load in individual resources, or will read the state of the keyboard directly in their examples. This is fine when you are first learning DirectX, for instance. But if you plan to work with a team, and you have tens of thousands of lines of code to debug, much of which you may not have actually written yourself, you need a better structure supporting your game, or it will become top-heavy and impossible to finish. This is what they are focusing on getting across.
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