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Game Programming Gems (Game Programming Gems (W/CD)) Hardcover – August, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Aimed at the working (or aspiring) Visual C/C++ game programmer, Game Programming Gems contains over 60 programming tips that have been gathered from more than 40 working game gurus. It you want to build your own games or are interested simply in how games work, this text provides an intriguing glimpse into how the pros create state-of-the-art 3-D animation.

The guiding principle in this book is to publish the best available tips for game programming; most of these fit into 10 pages or fewer. But don't let the efficient presentation fool you; almost every one of these tips will be invaluable to any serious game developer.

Early sections concentrate on techniques for creating more maintainable, faster code. A guide to using scripts for data-driven game modules and techniques teaches you better resource management (like using handles). A quick-start tutorial to the Standard Template Library (STL) will help you learn how to use these fast collection classes in your code right away. Several contributors show off strategies for better game debugging and profiling--there's even a set of classes that can provide onscreen feedback during testing.

The mathematical underpinnings that are required to do leading-edge 3-D graphics processing--including the use of quaternions, instead of matrices, in certain calculations--also are discussed. (One section looks at simulating water surfaces.) And artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for games--like Finite State Machines (FSMs), fuzzy logic, and neural networks--are explained. (The extremely cool flocking algorithms, which will let you add the behavior of birds or fish to your next game level, are especially appealing.)

Over 20 techniques for doing work with polygons (a staple of representing 3-D virtual worlds) are laid out, too. You'll learn a variety of important concepts, such as collision detection, working with key frames, better skinning for character animation, and realistic terrain generation (including fractals). A discussion of pixel effects, with some cutting-edge ways to add more realistic lighting and shadows to your games, closes the discussion. (One of the more exciting sections shows you how to simulate glass objects within 3-D scenes.)

With its leading-edge material on the algorithms that are used by the competition, Game Programming Gems will be a virtual must-read for anyone who works in the game industry. With code samples that are geared to OpenGL and that should run on both Windows and Linux, this book will help developers hone their game-programming skills. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered:

  • Tips and strategies for game developers
  • Data-driven design and scripting languages
  • Object-oriented design primer
  • Using Visual C++ templates for faster math calculations
  • Resource-management techniques (Singleton patterns, resource handles, and tips for fast data loads)
  • The C++ Standard Template Library (STL) for games
  • Bit arrays
  • Network protocols for online games
  • Using asserts and profiling for games
  • Random numbers
  • Interpolation methods
  • Equations for rigid body motion
  • Using polynomial approximations for trig functions
  • Implicit Euler integration
  • Wavelets
  • Simulating water surfaces
  • Quaternion vs. matrix calculations
  • Artificial-intelligence (AI) techniques for gamers
  • Sending messages
  • Finite State Machines (FSMs)

  • Game trees
  • Pathing strategies (including A* and 3-D pathing solutions)
  • Flocking algorithms
  • Introduction to fuzzy logic and neural networks
  • Techniques for faster graphics with polygons (and 3-D fundamentals)
  • Loading vertices faster into OpenGL
  • The vector camera
  • Camera-control strategies
  • 3-D collision detection
  • Multiresolution maps
  • Distance calculation
  • Object occlusion
  • Working with octrees
  • Interpolating between 3-D keyframes
  • Skinning techniques
  • Terrain-generation algorithms (including fractals)
  • 2-D lens flare
  • 2-D sprite effects with 3-D hardware
  • Techniques for more realistic lighting
  • Shadows and texturing
  • Simulating glass and liquids in games
  • From the Publisher

    Key Features:

    * A must-have for every game programmer's library!

    * Written by Game Programming Experts and edited by Nintendo's Mark DeLoura

    * Comprehensive coverage of all major techniques used in game development

    * CD ROM is packed with the source code in C & C++ completely portable to Windows and Linux, and all graphics displays use the popular Open GL language


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    Product Details

    • Series: Game Programming Gems (W/CD)
    • Hardcover: 600 pages
    • Publisher: Charles River Media; Book & CD edition (August 2000)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1584500492
    • ISBN-13: 978-1584500490
    • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.3 x 1.7 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Paul D. Tozour on September 16, 2000
    Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
    This book is hands-down the best book yet published on game programming. I have yet to find any other book that begins to approach the excellence of Game Programming Gems in terms of the breadth and depth of the subjects covered.
    GPG will serve as an excellent introduction to a broad variety of game programming techniques for those new to the industry, and an invaluable desk reference and for more experienced game developers. As a 7-year industry veteran, I can't count the number of times the techniques in this book would have proven useful in the past.
    Of particular interest are Steve Rabin's excellent chapters on the A* algorithm, the cornerstone of (most) pathfinding in computer games. These chapters go far beyond the explanation of the algorithm itself and serve up a host of rare and valuable insights for getting the most out of your pathfinding in an actual game environment.
    I have no doubt that this book will have a significant impact on the state of the art in the game development community, and one can only hope that this book is only a hint of what's to come.
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    34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 2, 2001
    Format: Hardcover
    This book is a must-have for all who are serious about game programming. The book is a collection of some choice articles concerning game programming. One warning, however, is that these articles were written by professionals to (for the most part) professionals. If you are just starting out in the game programming field, be warned that the purpose of this text is not to teach you how to program games, but rather techniques for producing effects, good AI, etc. A better book for the beginner would be Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus by Andre LaMothe.
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    15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2000
    Format: Hardcover
    Wow...this book covers so many areas. In AI alone, it covers A*, an FSM machine class, Game Trees, 3D movement and pathfinding, flocking, fuzzy logic, and a neural-net primer. It contains other great algorithms on real-time shadows, real-time terrain generation, interactive simulation of water surfaces, wavelets, and many other topics. Definitely a good book to own if interested in game programming or 3D graphics in general.
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    15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Drake on March 28, 2001
    Format: Hardcover
    What a book! Whether you are just getting around to game programming, thinking about it, or already doing it, this is one book that needs to be on your library shelf. This is a one of it's kind book that deals with some of the most frustrating topics their can be in game programming.
    Simulating water and liquids, AI techniques, messages, lens flares, lighting and texturing, body motion equations and randoms and more are talked about in this book, and the best thing is that it is explained and exampled within a few pages (most of the time).
    This is like taking most of the articles out their on the net and sticking them inside of a book and selling it, except that everything is explained better, and nicer, for beginners to advanced programmers. If you even THINK about game programming, you'll want to pick this book up! Can't wait for Game Programming Gems II !
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scott J Shumaker on May 28, 2001
    Format: Hardcover
    Game Programming Gems aims to follow in the footsteps of the excellent Graphics Gems series, except with articles that apply specifically to game programming rather than focusing solely on graphics.
    There are some excellent articles in here, but unfortunately many are just very basic introductory material to their respective subjects. They do not have the depth and certainly are not sufficiently groundbreaking to be called 'gems', especially in comparison to the gems presented in Graphics Gems. Many are pretty obvious and can be readily found with even a minimal amount of internet research.
    That said, the book is still a worthwhile purchase because of convenience; it gathers all of the information on a subject in one place. Still, I'd like to see more real groundbreaking articles, and fewer overviews of technology. Hopefully Gems II (which should be released soon) will remedy this situation.
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    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Marner on October 24, 2002
    Format: Hardcover
    This book is a collection of articles with game programming as the common theme. It does not cover game design so don't get disappointed about this. The articles cover many of the subjects concerned in game programming and are divided into the following categories: General Programming, math, AI, Geometry and Pixel Effects.
    Some articles are introductory articles in their field and some are true gems that actually give information that cannot be found anywhere else. The introductory articles are good for those who don't know a field and allows an easy way to learn about it - one that gave me real new insight is Pete Isensee's introductory article about metaprogramming. Of course, if you already are an expert in the discussed field then the article will not bring anything new.
    The articles are of highly varying quality. Some are excellently written and some not worth the paper they are written on - but all in all this book is a must-have for any game programmer.
    The articles are also targeted and different reader groups. Some are pretty and easy to understand while others require advanced college math and physics to follow. To beauty of this is that beginners can grow with the book and understand more and more of it as they learn more - while getting an idea of what the field of game programming has to offer.
    This book cannot be recommended as a book for beginning programmers or people new to game programming. They should read other books first. However, for the serious game programmer it can be highly recommended.
    If the book only contained its good articles I would have given it 5 stars, but as it stands now it can only get 4.
    Jacob Marner, M.Sc.
    Console Programmer, R&D
    Deadline Games
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