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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great inttroduction to writing simulations
For someone who wants to understand the best way to simulate real life things (in my case flight simulators) I found this book an excellent start. Sure some of the maths is a bit intense in places, but I found myself coping with it pretty well, or in some cases just accepting it.
Anyone who wants to write simulations, I would recommend this as a good starting...
Published on 25 Mar 2002

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost Credible
This book seeks to give you an in depth overview of physics algorithms and techniques.
It is aimed at occassional hobbyists, I feel, and gives some easily implementable algorithms for a homebrew engine.
Unfortunately the algorithms that the author espouses are not useful for real game development, outside simple particle systems. He makes no serious attempt to...
Published on 12 Oct 2003 by Mr AI


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Almost Credible, 12 Oct 2003
This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
This book seeks to give you an in depth overview of physics algorithms and techniques.
It is aimed at occassional hobbyists, I feel, and gives some easily implementable algorithms for a homebrew engine.
Unfortunately the algorithms that the author espouses are not useful for real game development, outside simple particle systems. He makes no serious attempt to solve the real problems in simulated physics, and his included code is plain unstable.
For example: one of his demos (the car crashing into crates - you can download it from the book's website) resets every 4 seconds. If you change his code so it doesn't reset you see the instability. After about 6-10 seconds the car sinks into the ground before leaping into the air and off to infinity. He has obviously created the demo to last just long enough not to show the shortcomings in his approach - I was shocked and disgusted when I saw this.
I've worked with professional physics middleware packages for four years. Getting physics right is tough, but there are a couple of open source physics packages on the web that get their approach right, and are far more useful for game development. This book gives you enough to put together simple particle systems (the chapter on cloth effects is a nice extension, but still misses some of the fundamental problems in cloth simulation). It gets you nowhere near a stable physics solution for a complete game.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great inttroduction to writing simulations, 25 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
For someone who wants to understand the best way to simulate real life things (in my case flight simulators) I found this book an excellent start. Sure some of the maths is a bit intense in places, but I found myself coping with it pretty well, or in some cases just accepting it.
Anyone who wants to write simulations, I would recommend this as a good starting point.
Many things about simulation became a lot clearer to me when reading this, and this is after some time reading and writing simulators as a hobby.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Written the wrong way round?, 28 Feb 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
Not a bad book, but I couldn't help but feel that it had been written backwards! The theory builds up, but it isn't until quite late in the book that you have enough information to actually do anything with it. Ok, you can guess what to do, but it would have been nice to have a basic framework described near the beginning with the details being increasingly fleshed out as the book goes along.
Also, perhaps a personal preference - all units are Imperial, not SI - that means feet rather than metres, etc. I was also introduced to the unit of the 'slug', with which I had previously been entirely unfamiliar... and am happy to forget about.
It's also worth checking the book's website for errata, as there are quite a few. Not a bad book, but it made me want to rewrite it in a different order. Nice point: code is in simple 'C', which makes it very clear.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, but with serious flaws, 23 May 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
The first few chapters of the book explore the fundamental ideas behind physical simulations. Bourg writes these in a lucid and lively manner, providing a gentle overview of vectors, forces and basic calculus. The mathematical content is kept as low as possible, making this an excellent introduction for developers with weaker maths skills (A-Level/GCSE Maths would be fine).
However, readers should be warned not to trust the derivations - there are too many typographical errors for a book of this size. It's just about forgivable, considering that this is introductory material, but if you're serious about your maths you'll eventually want to buy a proper dynamics book too.
The author then moves into specific applications (cars, boats, collisions and rigid bodies). Cloth simulation is tacked on seemingly as an afterthought. The writing is fine, but you can feel the author rushing towards a page limit, as explanations become terse and complex ideas are illustrated with brief chunks of code. He continues to explain clearly, but another 50-100 pages would have been welcomed.
Now for a major complaint. At the start of this review I commended Bourg for his non-mathematical approach, but as we move on to the physics of 3D objects it's beginning to become a burden. We're making some pretty complicated simulations, and problems with accuracy and numerical stability are everywhere. For a few pages it seems that the author is going to tackle them, but he quickly loses heart and meekly informs readers that they may have to tweak the numbers a bit to get it to work.
Even his own code starts to fall apart. You'll see that the rigid body demo only runs for a few seconds so that you don't wonder why the cubes happen be flying into space. I don't accuse the author of trickery or dishonesty here, as it seems he's decided that the reasons for this are too much for his core audience. If readers aren't serious about their maths yet, they'll soon have to get so - these are real issues, and Bourg's treatment of them is almost non-existant. From here, you'll need a hefty book on numerical analysis!
To summarise: The book is helpful and informative, but certainly not a definitive or error-free treatment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buy something else, 2 Sep 2010
By 
Danny Chapman "dc853" (Isle of Wight, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
This is definitely the worst "technical" book I've owned or read. Amongst other things:

- The text is confusingly written, being inconsistent in how terms are used.

- It uses imperial units and a left handed coordinate system, which make it hard to relate to other technical literature.

- The example code is a mess, and unnecessarily platform (windows) specific.

- The 3D dynamics demo is particularly appalling - it is hard coded to reset itself, and without that reset it goes unstable.

The first point means the book isn't much good as an introduction that will help game developers use a 3rd party physics engine. The last point means that the book is pretty well useless at helping people write even the basics of their own physics engines (which, I guess, is what most people would hope to be able to do after buying/reading this book).

This book is so bad I don't even want to give it away, and I find it quite shocking that it's still being sold in the first edition (this review is actually based on my memories of it soon after it was published). There are much better books available, so steer clear of this one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor Resource, 16 July 2004
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This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
This book almost has no redeeming value other than to continue my animal collection of O'Reilly books. I've worked on physics subsystems for two commercial titles and this book has nothing to offer new or experienced developers. The examples are poor, the supported code is often terribly flawed (as mentioned here in many other reviews), and does not nearly cover important topics as should be required for a book called "Physics for Game Developers". Perhaps the author has yet to realize that physics for games has become very intense. Reading this book would bring you nowhere near being able to understand how to effectively use a middleware library such as Havok, Novodex, or Karma... much less write your own simulator!!
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good, if shallow introduction to game physics, 8 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
Although an interesting enough read, the book fails to really tackle the subject with any depth.
The discussion of the benefits of different integrators is kept to one chapter. Also specific physics scenarios are only briefly analysed. For example there is only one short chapter on car physics.
To pad out the book full listings are printed, which seems unnecessary given that the code is on the book's website. Much of this printed code and it's explanation is unnecessary Windows specific setup code.
Apart from that, the book gives a good, if shallow, introduction to a subject that is not tackled in print anywhere else.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you think you might need this book then you probably do, 9 Aug 2002
This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
A wide range of topics are covered effectively giving you the answers that you want in order to get results. By necessity of fitting it all into one book a degree of physics knowledge and programming skill is taken for granted of the reader. It still remains a well explained and inforamtive text. The style is a little dry and the C++ programming has strong ANSI C overtones but overall it is a very good book in an area that is otherwise poorly served.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Confused and Incomplete, Albeit with Gems, 26 Mar 2011
By 
Sp Koshiw (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
My primary issue with this book is that it doesn't sit comfortably within the usual categories of approaches to educational texts in this Computer Science. It lacks the depth and rigour to stand on its own as a reference book and the examples border on myopic which in turn limits its value as an introductory text. However, there are some gems in this. His explanations of some concepts are clear and well thought out and his passion for this subject shows. But I can't honestly see how he expects anyone to come away from this with a good enough understanding to read more advanced books. If this books purpose was to provide the scaffolding required for a very applied knowledge of dynamics then it is imperative that the author provides a clear introduction to the subject through explaining in layman terms the rigorous general cases and I feel its trying to avoid mathematics.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful if complicated in places, 25 Mar 2003
This review is from: Physics for Game Developers (Paperback)
I picked this up for my final year project at university. Although ive done an a level maths degree, i found this book quite complicated. I am rusty with the maths though and should probably read up.
As i am doing a scalextric simulation i found the book very useful and interesting. It has a rigid body simulator written in c++ i think but is easily convertible. It's the algorithms that count.
Not much on simulating cars but many principles are covered early on in a general fashion with chapters on forces, and kinematics.
The maths can bog you down but the text is interesting and I am very happy with my purchase.
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Physics for Game Developers
Physics for Game Developers by David M Bourg (Paperback - 23 Nov 2001)
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