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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 2nd Review of this book, it is that good.
This book is for programmers with a fair grasp of C; you should understand macros, pre-compiler directives and a little bit of Windows programming (IMHO).
This book is NOT for people who do not have some programming knowledge (basic understanding of C is REQUIRED)
Also this book does NOT use MFC or C++ for a very good reason. MFC adds too much overhead to...
Published on 27 May 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad as an introduction, but...
I bought this book on the strength of some of the other reviews (I was rather sceptical about them in view of the "Dummies" title). All in all it is not a bad introduction, but I was looking for at least some coverage of Direct3D and I think it's a pity that the author hasn't fully embraced the C++ object encapsulation concepts that are tailor-made for games...
Published on 15 Nov 1999


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 2nd Review of this book, it is that good., 27 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
This book is for programmers with a fair grasp of C; you should understand macros, pre-compiler directives and a little bit of Windows programming (IMHO).
This book is NOT for people who do not have some programming knowledge (basic understanding of C is REQUIRED)
Also this book does NOT use MFC or C++ for a very good reason. MFC adds too much overhead to game programming and since MOST games using DirectX run in fullscreen mode - MFC is USELESS for DirectX programming. C++ can also add a large amount of complexity for someone trying to LEARN game programming. While I prefer C++ myself the author chose the right language to write the samples in (why worry about inheritance relationships/polymorphism/templates etc when you dont have to :).
Many 'evil' reviewers (heh how COULD you give this book a bad rating) stated that this book focuses on Windows programming too much. Believe me that is a GOOD thing. It is amazing how much code is required just to print the text "Hello, World!" in Windows. The book gives a great overview of the NECESSARY and FUNDAMENTAL workings of the Windows API. You MUST read those sections if you have never programmed in Windows. It does help.
What Andre Lamothe does with the Windows API is build a game shell that handles all the Windows implementation details (messages etc), freeing you to work on game specific details and DirectX. He explains the characteristics of fonts, bitmaps and how Windows handles output using GDI (which leads to why DirectX is faster for games...read the book you'll get it :)
Some people have given this book bad reviews because the code samples are not done in C++ or by using the VC++ 6.0 APP wizard etc. To those people I'd like to say that all the code in this book is EASILY portable to C++. That was part of the fun of this book for me: implementing his ideas into C++ (using ADTs etc, polymorphism woohoo). I challenge those reviewers to show me any SUCCESSFUL commercial game that uses DirectDraw/Direct3D and uses MFC. Can't find any? I suppose they are the same people who think the next great first-person shooter game should be written with Visual Basic...
Also using wizards to create and maintain your code is great but NOT while you are learning a language/API. Wizards and application frameworks (MFC) can hide implementation details which doesn't help you understand the code. I like to understand what I am coding before I let a tool (VC++) help me maintain my code.
When you finally reach the DirectX section you get a clear, focused discussion of the DirectX API. I have never read a book that explained DirectDraw so well. Never.
If you want more of a reference to DirectX just download the DirectX 6.1 SDK and use the documentation provided, or get Inside DirectX, by MSPress (surprisingly good book on DirectX 5)
C is NOT dead. C is a highly portable (though using DirectX negates that =P) language that has seen use in the most popular games, i.e. the Quake line of games.
To summarize,
This book WILL teach you how to use DirectDraw using C. While the book does teach you about DirectInput (great intro) and DirectSound, its main focus is on DirectDraw (how to use bitmaps to make sprites/animation, different special effects etc).
I do recommend that you at least know C before buying this book. You don't have to be an expert C programmer but at least feel comfortable with the language. Understanding how the Windows API works (namely messaging) is also recommended but NOT a requirement (Andre does a great job of helping you here). If you know C++ then you'll probably be tempted to convert his code, I know I was - but I learned a LOT about how to use DirectX from his C code.
If you want to understand DirectDraw (before going on to Direct3D (yikes)) then get this book...
This book does NOT cover advanced topics but this IS a dummies book after all...
For a good reference book, check out Inside DirectX; while not a tutorial it is a GREAT reference on some of the more advanced features of DirectX (especially DirectInput).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Introduction to the Game Programing World, 16 July 2002
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
I was totally new to the Gaming world. I've got lots of ideas. This book and CD really, really, really helped me to get started. From nothing I knew how to programe a 2D game in no time. The book was essential to help you get started and the CD had some programs that I need to make this gameing experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Beginners to the World of Games Programming, 31 Dec 2001
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
I earn my living as a C/C++ programmer and have always wondered how games were written. I'm only half way through the book at the moment, but my opinion is that it is very good for people like myself who, until very recently, didn't even know what DirectX was!
As well as being easy to follow on the DX 'front' (speaking as someone who is used to using C and C++), I found that the first part of the book helped me to get a far better understanding of creating Windows applications using the WinAPI, which I have avoided due to learning to program Windows Apps in MFC. I recommend this book very highly to anyone out there who wants to learn more about games programming.
To the guy who says that all of the examples in the book will not compile in VCC 6.0, try placing a cast in the code where GetStockObject() is used, i.e. wndclass.hbrBackground = GetStockObject(BLACK_BRUSH); becomes wndclass.hbrBackground = (HBRUSH)GetStockObject(BLACK_BRUSH);
The type to cast to obviously depends on the variable type recieving the pointer, (HBRUSH, HPEN, etc).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good beginning for anyone interested in game programming!, 8 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
Okay. Let's get it straight: This book rocks! I read a lot of books, trying to get my head inside the Windows programming house, and this is the ONLY one that actually helped me out. But to claim that the book is for dummies is somewhat an overstatement.
What do you need to understand what LaMothe talks about? You need some experience in programming. Not a lot, but some; If you know what a variable & a function is, then you are well off. And if you have a truly basic concept of how Windows works, then you're even better off. If you have none of the above, I suggest 'teach yourself C++ in 21 days', 'Visual C++ for dummies' or something similar. Once read, then this books is a perfect 'next step'.
The book begins with a small, but excellent, tutor in Windows programming, although it manages perfectly to keep the game programming issues present. Then it succeeds into a huge DirectX section, a large part of this about graphics and an actual game engine. The rest of this section is about sound and input, which it skips over somewhat more lightly. The rest of the book is about physics modeling and a completely useless section about how to market your games; go pick up a 'marketing for dummies' instead.
With the book comes a CD that would have been pretty lame, if it wasn't for the inclusion of two extra chapters about computer intelligence and gaming algorithms in general. These are just as good as the rest of the book, so read them as well.
If you are interested in game programming and had some programming at school or anything similar, then this book will really help you out; the example are precise, compiles easy and wonderfully commented. However, the books major fault is that they ran out of pages at IDG. Some of the examples are taken out of context, and reading them involves some backtracking. Also some functions that are rather important is only touched lightly, with a lot of references to 'your c++ compilers help files'. This does exclude reading the book in a train, car or comfy couch; to get the full concept, you're pretty much chained to your computer.
I would recommend this book to anyone beginning game programming. You get a good concept of the various techniques involved in programming games and you learn to work with DirectX
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book. You will not find a better book on DirectX, 30 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
Having purchased 2 others books on DirectX programming, I was leary of purchasing this book. This was the case because the two previous book suceeded in teaching me squat! I'm not an idiot, or even a dummy, just a guy who HATES windows programming with a passion. Andre' was however the author of the best computer book I have ever read or looked at, "The Black Art of 3D Game Programming", so I figured that he would succeed where others failed! I could not have been more right. This book kicks !@#. Like Andre's other books it basically provides you with a first class game engine, then writes a book around it. Using this book I wrote my first DirectX game (a space invaders clone) in about 8 hours, and most of that time was spent drawing the graphics! Yup, this book is that good. Do not hesitate to buy this book. At 23 bucks it's about half the price of other DirectX books and it is a far, far better book. If I had one complaint it would be that Andre! ' was constrained by the IDG Dummies style, the ridiculous little icons, and even the title. But rest assured that this is not a book for the computer illiterate! or for the stupid! But if you have a reasonable understanding of programming and want to write killer windows 95/98 games, this is most certainly the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good high-level treatment, 30 Nov 2000
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
This book presents itself as a dummies guide - which is true in the sense that it provides a basic treatment of the subject which is presented in laymans terms and which can be understood, to an extent, by a fairly inexperienced C++ programmers. (LaMothe says that you dont need C++ and C will do, but there are several areas in the book where he gets into aspects of the Direct X API which you will not be able to understand at least without a good idea of OOT and some basic ideas about classes).
This is a book for someone who has just decided "I want to program a game". It is unlikely that you will actually be able to use direct draw after this (the 2d side of the API - by the way, this book doesnt even touch 3d with a long stick) but it will give you the means to understand what you need to know to GET there and the ability to break into Microsofts SDK documentation and get something from it. It gives you a picture of the puzzle if you like, but you still have to find all the edges and spend time filling in all the holes. Despite all of this, it is quite funny in places and isnt at all a chore to read - its a great book - just understand you are not going to be a game engine god when you finish the last page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great book for learning DirectX, 19 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
This is an excellent book for those who want to learn game programming with DirectX. When it comes to taking advanced topics and explaining them, Andre' is one of the best in the buisness.
This book provides a crash-couse in windows programming in C, which is great, because there aren't many good books that explain windows programming the way it should be explained: getting right down to the point and telling you what you need to know, then giving you the power to seek further information with ease.
He takes the somewhat complicated DirectX and simplifies it. This ability to explain is what makes him a best selling author. The bonus chapters on Neural Networking are amazing. They'll give you a whole new way to look at AI. I believe(and maybe you will also) that neural networks are the future of artificial inteligence in software(such as games) and especially hardware(such as robots).
This book is for those(maybe dos programmers) who are familiar with some game programming theory and would like to advance their technical knowledge or simply move to windows.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great reference from Andre, 24 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
This book is top notch for any beginner. Andre' demonstrates once again that he can reduce the difficulties of game programming for us mortals. His coverage of DirectX and Windows programming is straight-forward, simple, and humorous. The game library is an excellent start to discovering the inner-workings of a game engine, creating wrappers, and using DirectX. Don't expect to use the game engine (as is) for the next big hit, but use it as a starting point for the expansion of your own creativity (i.e., you don't have to start a game engine completely from scratch). Another aspect of Andre's style of writing is the fact that he always encourages his readers to go further by suggesting the reader modify the existing engine and game code.
Don't worry about the 'for Dummies' aspect of the book. It is well worth the price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book., 5 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
If you are looking for a book to help you get started in programming games look no further. This is THE book to buy. I have had this book for about 2 months now and have nearly finished a directdraw based engine.
When I originally saw the title of this book I was a bit nervous about buying it. I consider myself to be a very experienced C/C++ programmer and fairly fluent using the Win32 API, so I dont consider myself a "dummy". Still, after reading all the great reviews I gave it a try (along with Inside DirectX -good book as well). I now have a strong understanding of DirectDraw and the general concepts of game programming (though I found myself rewritting a lot of his code using C++ classes hehe :)
What I found about this book that most impressed me was that it inspired me to create my own 2D engine. The book helps get your imagination going and motivates you by providing solid code to follow.
Get this book if you want to learn DirectDraw and other DirectX/Game programming concepts.
Fantastic book. If the author comes out with a Direct3D book (or better yet an OpenGL book) I'll buy with no hesitation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to Windows programming and DirectX, 8 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Windows Game Programming For Dummies (Paperback)
LaMothe has made a good effort with this book to provide beginning Windows programmers and those new to DirectX the information they need to get started. Any programmer with C experience should have no problem picking up everything they need to create working 2D Windows/Direct Draw games. No Direct 3D here - it's way too complex for a Dummies book. He provides UNDERSTANDABLE explanations of what you need to know. There are nice chapters on AI, including neural networks, among others. Look, you can't create a Win32 game if you don't even know how to create a window. LaMothe lays the necesary groundwork first, and then on to the fun stuff. Don't be put off by complaints the code won't compile. Please! He states right in the text that you have to cast the return type to an HBRUSH on VC++ 6. What do you want from the guy? He provides an excellent game template that you can use with little fuss. All the Windows drudgery is done for you already. He also provides a perfectly usable Direct Draw wrapper library to make life easier. This book is probably his best work. It's cheap - buy it!
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Windows Game Programming For Dummies
Windows Game Programming For Dummies by André LaMothe (Paperback - 25 Feb 1998)
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