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Game Coding Complete, Third Edition Paperback – March 5, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1584506805 ISBN-10: 1584506806 Edition: 3rd
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Game Coding Complete, Third Edition + Programming Game AI By Example (Wordware Game Developers Library) + Game Engine Architecture, Second Edition
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Editorial Reviews

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 the Ultima series, including Ultima Online. Since then he's worked on more than a dozen shipped games, including Magnadoodle (PC); a series of card and casino games for Microsoft; Thief: Deadly Shadows (Xbox/PC); 24 Blue for U.S. Navy; Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars (Wii); Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Wii/PS2); Cook or Be Cooked (Wii); Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Wii); Thor: God of Thunder (Wii/3DS); and Inertia: Escape Velocity (iOS/Android). Mike is currently Director of Product Development for Red Fly Studio in Austin, Texas.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 944 pages
  • Publisher: Charles River Media; 3 edition (March 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584506806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584506805
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Holcomb on April 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Good:
Overall I am very impressed with this book. It is written in a clear and fun to read style with interesting real-life anecdotes injected throughout the text. I found the architecture presented to work very well in a multitude of applications (games, tools, game servers). I disagree with the reviewer that was upset with the level of technology presented. This book is about tying all those technologies together in a concise, functional system. Mr. Mike has done that very well. The specific render technology is up to the end user and with this architecture they can be used without a problem. I would actually preferred he drop the chapters on rendering and put more in on multithreading.

Bad:
I really can't complain too much about this book. I've been professionally developing software for quite some time and still learned a lot from it. My few complaints: I found the chapter on resource management to be weak. Not only are there better ways to do this (visitor pattern), but it glosses over streaming large files.

I give this book 4 stars because I think for a novice to intermediate game programmer, you just can't get much better. But as a more seasoned programmer, you might find yourself wanting more information about threading, patterns, and resource management.

Edit: Source Code is now available ([...])
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Swaine on June 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a newcomer to game development, this book has been worth its weight in gold to me. There are many books out there which can teach you how to use specific API's and mathematical concepts you need to build games, but few address the architectural and design-related questions as well as this one does. The author is obviously an experienced game programmer who can offer a lot of insight into how you should approach designing your project so you don't end up with a tangled, unmaintainable mess. Examples here include the author's recommendation for decoupling game components via the use of an event system, and a lightweight cooperative scheduling system for "processes" which must span multiple frames (e.g. animations). There's also a thorough example of how you should create a base "application" class that can abstract the plumbing associated with initialization and rendering, exposing simple methods to subclasses such as "Init", "Update Scene", and "Draw Scene". This sort of pattern can be seen in high-level frameworks out there today such as the XNA API. I'm an experienced programmer who had never done any game programming but had a really good idea, and this book helped me figure out fundamentally how I should build the game from an architectural point of view. It's surely saved me a lot of development man-hours.

There is also decent treatment here of the math fundamentals and some graphics programming, though I think programmers should probably look elsewhere for more comprehensive treatments of these subjects. If you're looking to get into game development, pick this one up and maybe another book on DirectX/OpenGL/whatever your graphics API of choice is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a. s. hunt on November 9, 2009
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I bought this book a little bit early, and had to go review my C++ before i could fully use it, and when I did, I came to realize that I was holding THE book on game coding.

This book covers nearly everything, in that what the author doesn't cover (or one of the other guest authors) he gives you the next path you should go down in order to achieve your goals in that certain area of coding.

He also offers tons of tips and inside stories on what it's like working as a game developer in a recurring section called 'tales from the pixel mines' which are all very informative, and i enjoyed reading all of them.

Do not think, however, that this book will hold your hand throughout the process. In some parts of the example code the author literally says some thing like: "//type your own code here". this opens the readers' eyes to the fact that learning to make games is not a process of just being taught, but is mostly about discovering it for yourself (didn't Galileo say something like that?). Rest assured, when something has to be taught, the author teaches it, after all, at some point it wastes time to 're-invent the wheel' and that is where the true magic of this book comes into play. It leaves enough for YOU to do on your own, instead of just showing one way and expecting you to copy it. really is like having a teacher that you can open and learn from whenever you want.

in short, this is the best book on game programming I have ever had the pleasure to read, and once you have a good basis in Direct3D and can understand some advanced C++ concepts, you need to pick up this book. You NEED to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fabio Razzo Galuppo on April 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing like the previous editions (I read the 2nd one). However, it covers a plenty of game programming topics didn't cover before(scripting programming with Lua, AI, Physics, more ...). This edition has some pearls about game programming in general. Its worthy! I'm reading the new edition, right now... Congratulations to the author!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Rouse on January 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many books exist that attempt to teach 3D programming, a specific API or engine or try to demonstrate an entire engine being developed from start to finish. Unfortunately, many of these books fail in their attempt to bring these subjects the attention they deserve. The "write your own engine" books are the worst offenders due to their lack of emphasis on the non-renderer portions of the engine. While the renderer is undeniably the sexiest topic, too little attention on the other systems tend to leave these books falling well short of their intended goal. While Game Coding Complete is not strictly an engine design and programming book, it focuses on many engine components that other books fall well short of addressing.

Gaming Coding Complete attempts to bridge the gap between your 3D API books and a well formed engine. McShaffry's book takes the opposite approach of most other books by moving quickly through the 3D chapters and concentrates on other engine systems that are frequently underdeveloped or ignored completely. The rendering chapters comprise only about 100 pages and if you wish to learn DirectX, OpenGL or general rendering theory this is not the book for you. Most of the books is dedicated to other engine systems such as caching, user input, event management and developing a robust scripting engine using Lua. Other chapters that are a bit more introductory include discussions of collison and physics, networking, multi-threading, AI and even a simple level editor written in C#. A simple game near the end of the book wraps up the previous chapters in an effort to utilize all of your previous work.

The book strives to explain how to design engine systems in a way that makes your engine maintainable and reusable.
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