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3D Games: Real-Time Rendering and Software Technology, Volume 1 (With CD-ROM) Hardcover – December 15, 2000

3.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The book can be read forwards or backwards. For example, if you wish to build up detailed implementation experience, you could start with Chapter 21 (Engine Architecture) familiarise yourself with the engine and development environment, and start writing new plug-ins using the theoretical chapters for reference when required. Alternatively you could take a more conventional approach studying the theoretical aspects first before moving onto to implementation.

Chapters are grouped into sections that are more or less self contained. These are:

Modelling and Foundation Maths

This section deals with the basic mathematics required to handle objects in three-dimensional space and the theory of object representation.

Classical 3D Graphics

Although much of the material in this chapter has migrated onto hardware, it is still necessary to have an appreciation of what the hardware does to be able to use it effectively.

Real-time rendering

This section deals with the technology developed by the games industry and the virtual reality industry which enable complex scenes to be rendered, to a reasonably high quality, in real time on a low cost graphics processor

Control of Objects

Mainstream techniques used to control the movement of objects are descried in this section. This ranges from simple low level control through to behavioural animation using AI technology. The material on AI is in the form of a debate concerning the potential use of the technology in the future.

2D Technology

A potentially important solution to the complexity problem in 3D graphics, both in terms of the creation cost and the rendering cost is the use of image based rendering techniques.

Software technology

This section deals with the techniques needed to write a multiplayer game using the currently popular 1st person shooter genre as an example. We examine the software architecture of a games engine and look at the design of the engine. Finally a comprehensive reference manual for the engine is given.

The book is not intended to be a 'how to program' in C++ and OpenGL text and we assume a reasonable knowledge of C or C++. Detailed examples of various algorithms implemented in C++ are sprinkled throughout the text. These are extracted from the engine and are reproduced in the text for convenience. A quick read will give some feel for the structure of the algorithm. In most cases to fully comprehend the code requires them to be studied in conjunction with Chapter 21 and the Reference Manual.

The graphics API/library used is OpenGL. Pentium 3 code is given alongside the C++ equivalent for efficient matrix operation in Chapter 1 and DirectyPlay utilities are used in Chapter 20. Clearly these facilities need separate study and the purpose of the examples is to give a 'flavour' of their use in the applications.

From the Back Cover

This book is a comprehensive treatment of current 3D games technology. It concentrates on:
· real-time rendering, or the necessary enhancements of 3D graphics to enable rendering at interactive rates;
· topics from other areas such as AI, physics and collision detection, that are used in games;
· the software technology of games - engine architecture and multi-player technology.

The text is written around the engine Fly3D (included with a full SDK on the CD) that implements most of the described techniques. Readers can try out their own ideas by writing source code and experiment with existing demonstrations by writing plug-ins and altering existing ones. You can even develop your own game.

Features of the game engine include:
· BSP/PVS render management
· Light Maps for static geometry (pre-computed lighting with soft shadows)
· Normal maps (dot product texture blending) for dynamic objects
· Diffuse and specular vertex lighting for dynamic objects
· Volumetric fog with fog maps
· Detail Textures
· Multi-texture support
· Collision detection
· Dynamic coloured lights with distance attenuation
· Dynamic shadows - lightmap or stencil shadow volumes
· Physically based simulations
· Animated meshes (vertex morph)
· Tri-strips and fans
· Subdivision Surfaces
· Dynamic LODs using bi-quadric Bezier meshes
· Cartoon like rendering with dynamic cartoon lighting
· Multiplayer support (TCP/IP) with client/server architecture (using DirectPlay)
· 3D sound support (using DirectSound)
· Mouse and Keyboard input (using DirectInput)
· Intel ® Pentium III vector and matrix maths optimisation
· Complete plug-in directed
· 3D Max plug-ins for export/import fly bsp levels and creating landscapes and animated meshes
· Editor with real-time preview of game (set up game and object parameters while playing)

Sections of the book have been designed to be self-contained. The areas covered are:
· Modelling and Foundation Maths
· Classical 3D Graphics
· Real-time rendering
· Control of Objects - dynamics - AI
· 2D Technology
· Software technology

CD includes:
· Full Fly3D SDK including source code for Fly3D.dll, front-ends, plug-ins and utilities
· 5 demo levels: car, walk (2 levels), ship (2 levels)
· Engine Reference Manual and tutorials in HTML
· Book images

Go to www.fly3D.com.br for Fly3D SDK updates, new demos, FAQs and message board.

Alan Watt, based at the University of Sheffield, is the author of many successful books including 3D Computer Graphics, Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques and the Computer Image.

Fabio Policarpo is a software developer and founder of the company Paralelo Computacao based in Rio de Janeiro. He coauthored The Computer Image and is currently working on independent 3D action multiplayer games.


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Product Details

  • Series: SIGGRAPH Series
  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley (December 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201619210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201619218
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,642,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Some of the criticisms are valid, but lets get it straight right here. This is simply the best 3D book out there from all I've seen. In fact, from what I've seen, its the only 3D book worth buying right now for the intermediate<->advanced programmer. You'll have to do a lot of reading with the source code though--but all good info.
The good
1.) No API's are covered. Anyone can learn OpenGL/DirectX, and many tutorials cover those topics quite well. However, this covers the math, algorithms, and 3D side of things (for most part). Some code snippets are included, though--but its not a teach yourself OpenGL in 21 days book (thank god). It also has the best coverage of BSP tree's I've seen aside from dedicated algorithm books. And the coverage on PVS seems a tad brief, but the SDK src code makes up for it.
2.) The src code on the CD is great-- its a load of code to sift through-- not the best code, not the most bug-free--indeed, but good code to learn from. OpenGL stuff is in there, stuff that uses STL and modern C++ techniques, and BSP and PVS code. What more can you ask for in a book? This book comes with a working 3d engine and its source code. I can't think of any book that covers the topics well because the guy implemented what he was writing about. Thats why the book is above average, you get the juicy details along with theory.
3.) Has some cool pictures and visuals of varying effects. Not exactly needed for the professional 3d coder, but sometimes a little eyecandy and visuals doesnt hurt in an otherwise intense book.
The ugly
1.) The last 190 pages cover the SDK he wrote. This could have been better left offline, I think - on a CD-ROM. It gives you some insight on how a 3d API *might* look, or how file formats might look, but who cares.
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Format: Hardcover
I had eagerly awaited this book for months. Watts previous '3D Computer Graphics' was one of the best ever written on the subject and I had high expectations. I have several problems with the book :-
(a) The books text is made up of (to a major extent) text and diagrams from Watts other books. As I mentioned, I like one of Watts other books but I don't appreciate paying for old information. I can appreciate that there are those that do not have the old texts and it would be necessary to some extent to have it included in this book...but how about some new color plates at some point? Some of these plates and text have now been used in three books!
(b) The additional information in the book that isn't based on the older books isn't anything particularly ground breaking. There is very little treatment of new games technologies, even in the field of graphics/rendering.
(c) After reading the texts about graphics programming that I mentioned in (a) we get to the game programming side of the book which unfortunately is the worst part of it. The collision detection part of the book is appalling and no where near the size or detail it should have been given the authors backgrounds. The same could be said of the Behavior and AI chapter at around 30 pages. This sort of overview hardly makes the book a bible on software technology.
(d) How did chapters 18 and 19 get into this book? This whole section covers '2D technology' but nothing presented here is anything that anyone has ever used in a game. It's possible someone might find something useful here, but also quite a rare chance and such chapters catering for the minority or non games programming reader are taking up pages that might have been better used for something else.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is , in my opinion, the best choice for a serious amateur or a shareware games developer. Most of the games programming books now available on the market, explain, step by step, how to design a 2D or a 3D graphic engine. As a matter of fact a graphic engine is just a tool for a game developer. It is not needed to go through in detail a so complicated and boring code, to develop a game. Even some professional software houses purchase the graphic engine. My ideal game programming book should focus on graphic techniques and game logic, instead. This is what Mr Watt and Mr Policarpo do.
(1) They provide a detailed explanation of computer graphic, even exceeding the needs of a game developer
(2) a powerful graphic engine. Look at the demos,they are impressive
(3) 12 tutorials to get familiar with it.
(4) All the needed facilities. Some other books do not even supply a utility to load a .3ds file format
(5) The foundations of A.I. ,collision detection etc
(6) They use OpenGL instead of Direct X The MS library seems to become a standard for professional games developers but,in my opinion ,they are a nightmare for an amateur
(7) Last , Vol 2 has been announced by July 2001. If Mr Watt and Mr Policarpo take note of the critics of the readers who rated this book , 1 or 2 stars, a reference book for our wonderful hobby will be, at last, available
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By A Customer on January 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The technical information on 3D provided in the book is good, it's as decent a text as many others out there (not in the top 3 but in the top 20). HOWEVER... the SDK documentation is lacking and some basic information on using the 3DS MAX plugins, etc. is completely missing. With a lot of experimentation I managed to export levels, but such basics as how to create doors, platforms, etc. are not in either the book, the tutorial, or the Web site. Bottom line: if you want tech info on game programming with OpenGL, this is an OK book. If you want to play around with the SDK, you're better off downloading CrystalSpace from SourceForge - it's better documented!
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