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The Zen of DirectX Graphics Game Programming (Game Development) Paperback – 4 Aug 2001

3.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 874 pages
  • Publisher: Premier Press; Pap/Cdr edition (4 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761534296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761534297
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 18.8 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,185,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Readers range from hobbyist programmers interested in learning the technology to professionals looking to upgrade their skill set. DirectX is updated annually so in order for game developers to stay ahead of the game they need to be familiar with the new features and functions of DirectX Graphics covered in this comprehensive reference.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent DirectX primer. I would say 'Direct3D', but it's all integrated now, so let's stick with 'DirectX', even if there is no information on aspects of DirectX other than 3D in here (with a sniff of DirectInput, maybe).
I am a consultant C and C++ programmer, so fairly competent (!) in both, and fancied a look at DirectX as a bit of fun. I have come at this as a very strong programmer with no need to learn this other than for amusement, so bear that in mind when you read my comments...
Buy this book as an excellent entry level primer. For goodness sake don't ever use ANY of the code yourself, or the software police will be round to remove your semi-colon key. DO use it to illustrate the basic way to do things with DirectX, to give you a heads-up on the maths you should be re-learning, and to tell you which topics you should be researching further.
Mr. Walsh undoubtedly knows his way around the topic, and I get the feeling he has been dumbing down to his target audience. His attempt is very successful, despite his sense of humour (sorry Mr. Walsh) which gives you the impression you are being lectured by a Californian surfer with an IQ of 200 [It might suit some]. His techniques and easy style have given me excellent guidance to allow me to develop my own version of just about everything in the book.
To be honest, if you want a book where you can just glance over it, then install the CD and show all your friends how clever you're not, then you are beyond help anyway.
This book is intended to get you started. Read it, understand it, use the examples as just that: examples. Develop your own ideas. Then you'll be ready to decide whether you want a more advanced book on the subject.
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Format: Paperback
If you have college level programming experience and want to learn Direct3D 8 from the ground up, this is in my opinion the best book out there. It is quite humorous, reads quickly, and gives good examples that, with just one exception, actually compile and run with no problems!
There are only two drawbacks to this book. The first is that the code, while not poorly written or documented, is very badly organized, with all helper functions and classes coded directly into an enormous header file. The second problem is much worse, and it is perhaps more the fault of Direct3D than the author. Direct3D provides an easy method of loading 3D objects, but not animating them using keyframes. While implementing a class that plays back these animations would be difficult, it would be much appreciated in this book. Unfortunately, it's not there.
Still, this book is the best of a bad lot of resources on Direct3D. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I approached this book with some trepidation, having already purchased the "Beginning Direct3D Games Programming" book in the Primatech series. I was appalled at the quality of that book, and was a little worried about this one - same publisher and all.
I needn't have been. From the outset, this book was excellent. Aimed at precisely the right level & complexity, it showed me step by step the basics of DirectX with 2D & 3D code, right up to more intermediate topics, such as frame based heirarchial systems. Peter Walsh's informal style of writing made topics very easy to understand, and he seemed to know exactly where the difficulties lay. He's hit this one on the head.
The book starts off with a slow and easy introduction to computer graphics, and the technical side of things. It then moves onto basic 2D operations (an absolute must, which many books leave out altogether), showing you how to create a font rasteriser, 2d animated sprite engine, and layer scroller. Great stuff.
Next, we move onto basic 3D. This is begun with a brief introduction to 3D mathematics, and this is where the book shines. Throughout, some relatively complex mathematical operations are talked about, but if you are useless at maths you are not crippled from continuing through the book. The concepts are explained, and most importantly they work. Through the 3D section we move from "2d 3d graphics" (ie: using the 3d portion of DirectX to create 2D objects), then onto simple rotation & scaling. Next, a brief dip into DirectInput - very useful. We then build up a more complex object - a rotating & scaled texturemapped cube using index buffers in object space, and then move on to the final creation of a solar system model.
Thats the book. Now, some points.
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By A Customer on 19 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
Good points about this book: it's written fairly informally, so it's easy to read; the explanations are pretty good.
Bad points (deep breath): there are a squillion typos. I can't believe how many made it to print. Some of these are so blatant (e.g. the chapter "Getting Fat With 3D" changes its name to "Getting Fat With Windows" on the following page) but for the most part it is not too difficult to work out what was meant.
Some code on the CD is missing, as is an HTML version of the book in spite of a promise to the contrary in the introduction. Most of the code in the middle of the book does not run on fast cards due to a bug in the display of the frame rate (it can handle only frame rates below 1000, but the Geforce 3 cards, for example, will give frame rates of around 1400fps for the simple examples). You can get around this by modifying the code, or commenting the relevant line out, but the simple fact is that the error should have been avoided. Being fairly inexperienced with C++, it took me a while to find the cause of the error message, and at the time of writing there was no information about errors on the book publisher's web site.
Content-wise, the story doesn't get much better. There are sections which are not specifically to do with Direct3D, namely an introduction to Windows programming and an introduction to C++. The sections covering 2D will be of limited interest, too, since I would think most people would be buying this book for the 3D stuff. Creating basic graphics, moving the camera, mouse and keyboard input are all covered, but there is nothing about collision detection, using the joystick, sound, physics, terrain creation, reflections, shadows, fog; I could go on.
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