31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Beginning 3D Game Programming (Paperback)I confess I've yet to finish the book - I'm only on Chapter 15 but I'm infuriated enough to come on here to warn folks about this book.
I'm giving this book 3 stars as its almost the only book out there that is even on the topic of writing REAL games using Managed DirectX, certainly with a recent(ish) version of the MDX SDK. Also all 3 projects compile and run almost without issue. You may well need to tweak the setup code as there is needless criteria in there to ask for a ninja graphics card when a Ford Fiesta will do for these basic games.
Rather than a book of general information about writing games, this is much more a straight tutorial, an example of 3 games, well two and a bit (more of that later) built bit by bit. Not so much time is spent on the structure of the code, more a code listing and a paragraph to explain things.
The book starts off well enough, although the scant information on directX flies in the face of the "Beginner" tag in the title. I'd recommend you read Tom's first book before delving into this ("Kickstart Managed DirectX, which is a great book). . Also it uses the Sample Framework of the MDX SKD, the Callback based one.
The first game is a nice little puzzle game called "Blockers". OK there are many times when the source code in the book is not correct and you need to delve into the CD to find out how you're REALLY supposed to do it. Nothing major, usually the method signatures are out of date, perhaps Tom changed his mind about a few things after the text had gone to press. Also several of the Graphic figures in the book are totally wrong often repeating an earlier graphic. Unfortunately one of these was a "code overview" diagram so you're left in the dark about the big picture before you get started. Dunno how that got past quality control but there you are.
However ALL the source code for "Blockers", whether its correct or not IS in the book. There's even an appendix with the source code for a level creator for the game in the book. Which is 100% correct.
Next up is "Tankers" apparently a multiplayer Tank combat game. Tom introduces you to this in the same way as "Blockers" but then lets it all go halfway through the user interface. As if he gets bored he advises you to check the CD out to implement the User Interface.
The sad thing is that there is not *that much* missing but you'll be picking around for quite a while as its not even clear what needs to be achieved. I had to run the CD code to see what the UI was even supposed to look like. This is when I noticed that stuff like the collision detection was not working. Also you'll need to implement parts of (discussed in later chaters) new classes in order to get your project to compile.
Tom does this again to you later on in "Tankers", to save only about 1 or 2 pages of code in the book. Not so much a big deal but shows what is happening with the Author...he is out of time on this and begins to rush to the finish.
Before we get onto "Game 3" there are smatterings about what's in store in the "last game". "In the next game. You'll have more in-depth sound features", it says. Pah! NOT!
Game 3 is not a game at all. Its all given away where Part 5 of the book is entitled "Advanced Graphics, Client/Server Networking". Would have been nice.
But the only client / server stuff was done already in part 4.
Tom shows you just rendering some static models on screen using some basic shaders and leaves it at that. No game.
Again its sad that this was so obvioulsy planned to be a nice multiplayer Kart Racing game but seems that the deadline, which was already months over for this book, got the better of Tom and its just not there. And that advanced sound? Nope! Not a beep.
So I guess this book was started with great things in mind but soon after you finish "Blockers" it goes downhill rapidly.
There are not 3 games in here - only 2, plus some graphic experiments which are then plastered on the book cover (VERY misleading). the back cover of the book clearly says, "The book includes detail explanations and source code for three complete games". As I've said, this is just not true.
Its not like you have much choice if you're looking for a book on this topic but unfortunately this one just loses it halfway through.
Its rushed. Its a con. Its a shame.