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Tricks of the 3D Game Programming Gurus-Advanced 3D Graphics and Rasterization (Other Sams) Paperback – June 2, 2003
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To be an ordinary programmer is one thing: You need only learn how to interact with the computer on its own terms, creating buttons and combo boxes that have no significance away from the screen. To be a game programmer--particularly one that writes games with environments that appear three-dimensional to their players--is something else entirely. Such work requires that the flat screen simulate the real world, complete with light, shading, texture, gravity, and momentum. It's all quite complicated. Tricks of the 3D Game Programming Gurus helps its readers make great progress in creating 3D worlds and the action that goes on in them.
That this large, dense book manages to explain how to design and implement a 3D game while neither glossing over too many details nor swamping the reader with trivia is a credit to author André LaMothe. He opens by showing (and explaining) the C++ source code of a simple but full-fledged 3D spaceflight shooter game--a real boost to the reader's confidence. From there, he explains the complicated geometric concepts and mathematics that underlie realistic games (always with an eye toward software algorithms) and shows how to use the many APIs and libraries (including Microsoft DirectX 9.0) that make the world-builder's job easier. Make no mistake: Designing and building convincing games with 3D visuals and behaviors that convincingly approximate real-world physics is hard work. In this book, LaMothe helps you get it done and enjoy the process. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to design and build 3D worlds and the goings-on within them. Aside from mathematics and geometry, this book focuses on wireframe models, shading, rendering, and animation. Microsoft DirectX 9.0 gets special attention.
From the Back Cover
Today is the greatest time in history to be in the game business. We now have the technology to create games that look real! Sony's Playstation II, XBOX, and Game Cube are cool! But, all this technology isn't easy or trivial to understand - it takes really hard work and lots of Red Bull. The difficulty level of game programming has definitely been cranked up these days in relation to the skill set needed to make games. Andre LaMothe's follow-up book to Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus is the one to read for the latest in 3D game programming. When readers are finished with Tricks of the 3D Game Programming Gurus-Advanced 3D Graphics and Rasterization, they will be able to create a full 3D texture-mapped, lit video game for the PC with a software rasterizer they can write themselves. Moreover, they will understand the underlying principles of 3D graphics and be able to better understand and utilize 3D hardware today and in the future.
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Top customer reviews
[Don't buy this book if you're not already a pretty good C and/or C++ programmer - you won't learn the language here]
Unfortunately, the book is not without its faults. Some of the coding is just sloppy. For instance, Lamothe likes to use lots of global variables. Perhaps there is a slight performance increase with these optimizations, but I'm not sure if it's worth the time and effort of debugging code with lots of globals. This is especially true for people just learning the concepts. In my opinion, he should have left the optimization to the end of the book, after all the concepts had been taught.
Another problem is the use of C. Lamothe argues that it's easier to teach in C and that C is faster than C++. Honestly, this is 2004, and with Pentium's running in the 3GHz range, I think the speed difference is virtually non-existant. Perhaps there is a greater base of programmers that know C, but with nearly all college Computer Science programs teaching C++ and object oriented programming, the coding style seems a bit dated. Using C++ features could have greatly improved the clarity of the code.
The last problem is Lamothe's long-winded writing style. I understand that he's trying to make his book "fun" by including little anticdotes and jokes, but this 1700 page book could have been done in 1000 pages easily. He writes like people talk, and, for a technical book, that's not the best approach. Here's one example, a caption to a screenshot:
"You might notice a bit of similarity to the ancient game Tail Gunner. Mike, if you're reading this, did you ever get that Tail Gunner in your living room working?"
I wrote one paragraph about why this book is great, and three about why it sucks. That's not really fair; it is a wonderful book for REALLY LEARNING what's going on under the covers in OpenGL or DirectX. I only hope that the second edition comes back a bit neater, more consice, and with support for C++. It's a fantastic value and I highly recommend it.