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Managed DirectX 9 Kick Start: Graphics and Game Programming

3.8 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0672325960
ISBN-10: 0672325969
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tom Miller is the development lead for Managed DirectX, as well as the designer of the API. He has worked on the DirectX team for the last four years, including the SDK team writing samples, as well as the DirectX for Visual Basic team. Previously at Microsoft, he worked on the Visual Basic and Office teams.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing (November 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672325969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672325960
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,238,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. DEATS on November 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Sams Kick Start series boast being "quick, concise" and "practical" those words adequately describe this book, I have read five other books on the subject of DirectX programming and Managed DirectX 9 Graphics and Game Programming is a unique gem, it is an excellent introduction to the Direct3D, DirectPlay and DirectSound APIs. It effectively covers the fundamentals and fills the gaps left by the Managed DirectX9 SDK Sample applications. Beyond the fundamentals Tom's explanations are very focused, for example, the Direct3D API is much too large for one book to cover and he does an outstanding job of providing the least amount of information you need to know in order to build a 3D game program, this was precisely what I was hoping for when I bought this book.
Microsoft recently reviled that in the next version of Windows they will replace the Win32 API with the .NET Framework Class Libraries as the OS building blocks. This shift along with the rise of 64-bit processors will push Managed code to the forefront. If you're thinking of making the switch this book would make a good companion to a .NET fundamentals book, it would help make the experience more enjoyable and would provide a real-world example of how writing Managed code is in many regards much simpler than Unmanaged. One word of caution, you must have C# or VB.NET experience to get anything from this book. It makes extensive use of the .NET Framework class libraries, also you'll need Visual Studio.NET 2003 edition to open the sample files (the pervious version of Visual Studio.NET is incompatible with the solution files) although the full Framework SDK is included with command line tools to achieve the task, no make files are included. So if you do not have Visual Studio.NET hopefully you understand how to build and link your source code using the command line tools, again if you're new to .NET/Managed code, this isn't the place to start.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book truely is what it claims to be: A kickstart! It moves fast and may give people who are not familiar with Visual Studio .NET a hard time keeping up. But this is what I really liked about this book! You want to learn how to program? Find a different book! You want to get into DirectX development? Look no further!
Just the first chapter explains more than practically any other book about Managed DirectX I have read. Sure, it doesn't have all the long and ellaborate explanations some of the other books have. But for some reason, I still felt like a had a better understanding of how to do things the 'right way' after reading this book. This may have to do with the fact that the author of the book is also the author of the API.
The book covers a lot of ground. Most of the chapters deal with Direct3D (which is what I was interested in), although the author does touch on other subjects such as DirectInput. The pace is fast and the author covers the whole range from primitive drawing techniques to using higher level concepts, such as meshes, and eve the HLSL (high level shader language), which many would consider an advanced topic. Well, I do anyway... ;-)
The book doesn't just provide shallow introductions. In fact, the author doesn't even shy away from topics such as skeletal anomation of meshes, or writing pixel and vertex shaders to create specular highlights and per-pixel lighting effects.
Well done! This book will explain a lot, and it does so quickly. However, if you have no experience with 3d graphics at all, you may want to follow up with another book, such as 'Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DX9' by Frank D.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking to buy a book to help build a 3D game engine using C# and managed DirectX9. I initially bought "Introduction to 3D Game Engine Design Using DirectX 9 and C# by Lynn Thomas Harrison". The title seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. But, Lynn's book was just a game engine he created with a huge dumping of code. An interesting exercise to run through, but certainly it wasn't adaptable to anything beyond the type of game he developed.
Miller's book does a great job of covering the *entire* managed DirectX library including graphics, sound, input and networking. He walks through examples, introduces 3d concepts (along with the appropriate utilities in DirectX) and explores why you would take one approach over another. It was absolutely what I was looking for! The book also includes sample code that works right out of the box.
In a nutshell, I would say this book is like having the Managed DirectX team walk you through several tutorials that include commentary and reasons for taking certain approaches. It should also be required reading for anyone that wants to understand what is included in the DirectX SDK samples/tutorials.
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It's a bit difficult to compare this book with other MDX books since there are so few. Let me start with what this book does not do. It doesn't teach you to program (in C# or any other language, which isn't all that surprising given the title). I also don't think it is aimed at a beginner in 3D graphics - it doesn't cover any of the usual mathematical primers that I've come to expect as filler material in most graphics books (this book doesn't attempt to teach you to write a software rasterizer so it isn't really necessary and there are some very good books dedicated to the subject that do a much better job than a chapter or two stuck in front of a MDX book). It also doesn't try to teach you to write a commercial quality game - I'm not sure any book can do that (and "Kick Start" means exactly that). Lastly, it doesn't provide exhaustive coverage of DirectX.
So, what does this book provide then?
It provides a very concise treatment of the D3D part of MDX and fair coverage of the rest (enough to get you started). To get the most out of this book you should have a good knowledge of C#/.NET programming and a good idea of the fundamentals of 3D programming. It certainly wont hurt to have had some prior knowledge of the DirectX SDK and some idea of game programming.
In other words, this is an intermediate level book (says so on the back cover too) and provides exactly what it sets out to do and leaves the non-essential blanks to be filled in elsewhere.
Overall though, I give this book 5 stars for the following reasons:
1. Well written.
2. The author knows what he is taking about (no great surprise there).
3. Covers the topic well without the fluff.
4. The samples work (hint: install the summer update).
5. Priced well.
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