Profile for DC Bateman > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by DC Bateman
Top Reviewer Ranking: 717,424
Helpful Votes: 5

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
DC Bateman (West Sussex, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Unity 4 Game Development HOTSHOT
Unity 4 Game Development HOTSHOT
by Jate Wittayabundit
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.57

1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, boring, boring!!!, 27 Oct 2014
Leaving aside the poor English which is more distracting than obstructive, this is confused, confusing, rambling, repetitive and difficult to follow, the author can't even quote from the web correctly (it's "C for Graphics (Cg)" and not "Computer Graphics (CG)"), but worst of all it's boring.

The step-by-step instructions are particularly egregious, it's easy to get lost in the featureless pages of meandering repetitive instructions. Page upon page of settings (with scant explanation) is neither engaging nor informative but is tedious and disheartening (after setting options and typing in seemingly endless lists of numbers for over an hour with nothing to show for it, I gave up caring). If the reader takes a break or misses a step it is very difficult to track down the correct step among the uniform paragraphs. Conversely each step is phrased slightly differently, so with no consistency each time the reader has to hunt for the pertinent information. Additionally, step numbering is incorrect, many steps are merged and comments are numbered as steps.

A hefty tome at 466 pages, it could be easily pared down by many pages if the repetition were removed and the instructions rationalised, clarified and simplified.

It tries to do too much at once, rather than building through a series of easily achievable stages, it goes for "all or nothing", the reader has to faithfully copy many dozens of steps before pressing play and hopefully seeing a working result, but if any mistakes are made along the tortuous path there is no other recourse but to repeat the whole laborious process.

Despite having an introduction to each section there is no clear explanation of goals, the focus is on the individual steps rather than the larger goal. What explanations there are would benefit greatly from diagrams.

With a book this poor it's difficult to see the value of further analysis, but that said, at the risk of repetition here are some of the many low points.
* Inconsistent / mixed terminology e.g. "depth" vs "order in layer" vs "z".
* Colliders and materials are liberally used throughout, but their purpose is never explained.
* The explanation of Orthographic vs Perspective Projection is very poor.
* On page 24 - a Physics2D Material is "used to prevent our player from getting stuck on the platform's edge", there is an explanation of sorts 11 pages later.
* On page 20 - apparently there are too many vertices for the sprite shown, but there is no explanation why, it looks fine to me.
* On page 17 - Material Ground is used but not described until its next use.
* On page 16 - The Layer Level is not described.

While I get the impression that the author knows Unity, sadly it is abundantly clear he doesn't know how to write nor teach. Frankly, a terrible book that PUT ME OFF Unity.


Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)
Kindle Fire HDX 7", HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers (Previous Generation - 3rd)
Price: £99.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Ruined by poor user interface, 14 Oct 2014
Well spec'ed but the non-standard Android interface constantly grates as does Amazon's frankly pathetic gated garden approach. Buy any other standard Android tablet and get the Kindle app, do not buy this.


Learning Game Physics with Bullet Physics and OpenGL
Learning Game Physics with Bullet Physics and OpenGL
by Chris Dickinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.42

3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 16 Feb 2014
Covering both physics and OpenGL in any meaningful way in only 100 pages is very ambitious, Learning Game Physics with Bullet Physics and OpenGL makes a half decent fist of it.

I found the first and third chapter very promising; concise, well written, covering relevant points thoroughly and articulately. Unfortunately the rest of the book falls short with a number of faults, although many are too minor to warrant criticism. Still...

The book's sub-title includes the line "modern feature-rich graphics" which is misleading at best, the OpenGL here is most assuredly not modern and only a few features (lighting, materials) are used. OpenGL is used as no more than a method of visualisation (with GLUT used to handle user input) and not covered in any real depth, the bulk of the book is dedicated to Bullet Physics.

Disappointingly, Dickinson uses _very_ old OpenGL, in particular, glBegin() and glEnd() were deprecated with OpenGL 3.0, are inefficient and would be better replaced with vertex arrays. This choice is explained as being made to avoid complexity, however considering the level of the other material in the book that seems a poor excuse at best.

Some specific shortcomings:
The explanation of normals is a bit ropey; normals are attributed to points (which is wrong, since normals are perpendicular to lines or surfaces, a point can never have one).
glPopMatrix() and glPushMatrix() are not "delimiter functions" nor are they like glBegin() and glEnd().
While functions are clearly explained, parameter lists are omitted, making it difficult to know which parameters to pass and in which order.

Good (but not great), this book is certainly useful as a practical introduction to BulletPhysics, but not OpenGL. I found it to be a generally pleasant read with clear, concise, readable style marred by a few technical errors of varying severity.


Glsl Essentials
Glsl Essentials
by Jacobo Rodriguez
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.95

1.0 out of 5 stars Not essential, 12 Feb 2014
This review is from: Glsl Essentials (Paperback)
I was looking forward to this book, the chapter headings looked promising and with a low page count (about 90) I was expecting a concise introduction to glsl. Any hopes were short lived, however.

Apart from the chapter headings this is a confused mess of book. Written and, worse, poorly edited by non-native English speakers, with confusing, distracting, incorrect grammar which makes the already poor descriptions even more confusing and difficult to follow.

Chapter headings aside, there is no clear progression and important steps/points are missed in both explanations and code samples. Key concepts -- fixed and programmable pipelines, their relationship to each other, and the flow of data through the programmable pipeline -- are poorly described.

The code samples are incomplete:
for instance no values are given for the projection and model-view matrices -- "fill with proper values" is the sum total of the information given to aid the reader.

Apart from a dozen or so lines of C, the code samples are all GLSL. I was unable to find any source code online so it appears that the reader is expected to write the host code themselves.

Some specific shortcomings:
* "floats" are used in "for" loops, apart from being an unnecessary waste of GPU space they can lead to off-by-one errors.
* The description of matrices as an array of vectors is out-and-out wrong.

GLSL Essentials might have been a good book, all the necessary parts are there, but they are confusingly realised, so this book is sorely lacking as an introduction. While some basic concepts are over-explained (e.g. comments) others are simply taken for granted (e.g. variable location) and left unexplained.

While it aims to cover the essentials, it does so very poorly and with the basic mistakes it makes it is difficult to trust anything in this book (I was constantly referring to the internet to confirm what I read).

A very poor book and most definitely not essential.


WebGL Programming Guide: Interactive 3D Graphics Programming with WebGL (OpenGL)
WebGL Programming Guide: Interactive 3D Graphics Programming with WebGL (OpenGL)
by Kouichi Matsuda
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, practical and enjoyable, 10 Dec 2013
On page 5, the authors state that "learning and using webgl is easy", sadly an assertion I find disingenuous. That said the authors then proceed to do their level best to prove they're right, but I think that the almost immediate use of helper libraries gives some indication of just how difficult using "raw" WebGL can be.

The book is part of the Addison Wesley OpenGL Technical Library and I found it far more readable and engaging than the other OpenGL books in the series. It provides a well paced step-by-step introduction to WebGL leading to more advanced topics, with plenty of relevant explanatory diagrams and well explained code samples.

WebGL is a mix of OpenGL, JavaScript (JS), HTML5 and (the C-like) OpenGL ES Shading Language (GLSL ES), with loosely typed JS and strongly typed GLES making particularly strange bedfellows. The book covers all these areas and clearly highlights and handles the marked differences between JS and GLSL ES.

I felt the only shortcomings were the lack of a fuller description of Built-In Special Variables and Constants (e.g. gl_Position) and, given the prevalence of mobile devices that can support WebGL, not covering android touch events seems a strange oversight. But these are very minor points and do not detract from the book.

While clearly "only" an introduction (and an excellent one at that) it's impressive just how much is covered. WebGL is a huge topic and it would be impossible to cover everything but it does a sterling job of covering the essentials. The topics covered are well judged and practical. I certainly found it to be more than adequate as a reference for the workshop I'm putting together and I'm looking forward to delving into it more deeply.


OpenGL Development Cookbook
OpenGL Development Cookbook
by Muhammad Mobeen Movania
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.06

3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 1 Dec 2013
I found this be a real "Curate's egg" of a book, that is, despite some marked shortcomings it was also very good in parts.

The book feels more like a more traditional textbook than a "cook book", rather than addressing specific problems general areas are tackled. Frequently recipes are not self-contained relying on previous recipes.

Clearly, the author isn't a native English speaker; the book uses rather idiosyncratic English, occasional clumsy phrasing, a mix of formal and informal English and inconsistent terminology leading to a curiously verbose style which is unfortunately at odds with the given format where brevity would be appreciated. A minor flaw, but it was distracting and wholly unnecessary, making the book difficult too read; a competent editor could have easily rephrased the text to use standard English (for example "the GLUT library was _written_" rather than "invented").

Despite the book being aimed at intermediate graphics programmers the first chapter covers many basic concepts, but confusingly, poorly and incompletely. Basics, such as setting up the development environment and supporting libraries, as well as an irrelevant background on earlier versions of OpenGL are covered, but shader compilation, program objects, the various buffers and their properties are not explained. Both could have been usefully included as appendices. One egregious flaw is the described shader class overloading the [] and () operators as accessors -- which is terrible coding practice.

Subsequent chapters are much stronger, considered, interesting and useful, providing insights and well coded, offering and contrasting several different approaches to a given problem.

The book is code heavy, with accompanying explanatory text but this rapidly becomes repetitious and much of the code is self-explanatory making explanation superfluous. New terms are frequently used but not explained until a later section, leading to confusion. Although not comprehensive (in truth an impossibility) a good range of topics are covered, including some crucial fundamentals.

I really wanted to like this book but found it to be a quite frustrating mix, despite some quite major flaws there are enough insights and good coding samples to make this book this book worthwhile, if approached with caution and appropriately managed expectations.


Netgear WGR614UK Wireless 54G Cable Router
Netgear WGR614UK Wireless 54G Cable Router
Offered by NETWORK LTD
Price: £45.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice!!, 24 Jan 2008
Lovely bit of kit, my only regret is that I dragged my feet before buying it due to some negative reviews. Pity, as it meets all my needs; providing wireless and wired connection, easy to setup, easy to use.

I'm using this with Virgin Media cable and have had no problems with signal strength, my laptop connects to it from every room in the house. Waiting for finer days (fat chance) before trying it outside.


Page: 1