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on 3 May 2003
I just got this book about a week ago and I haven't been able to put it down since. A great resource, a real treasure full of well presented gems. A large number of topics are well presented with mathematical depth that enables you to understand the code. The code is very well written and concise. Truly a great book and a pleasure to read. I hope to see more books like this in the future. I am interested in medical imaging applications and I know I will be using this book for a long time to come.
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on 19 May 2004
This is one of only three books that never strays far from the side of my computer. I work as a consultant to the games industry and I don't hesitate to recommend this book to clients.
I use this book as a reference, I'm not sure if anyone would want to read it through (unless you needed a serious crash course in 3d math). And so far I've only come across one bit of math that the book didn't contain (incidentally I tracked that down in another of Dave's books). So it is extraordinarily exhaustive.
The book isn't easy reading: "Make it as simple as possible but no simpler." This is Dave's strength in all his books: he doesn't shy away from the fact that the topic can be hard and the math is complex. His co-writer has a similar style in this book. At the end of the day the books that claim to let you write great 3d engines with no experience in 30 days are having you on: its the serious industry books like this that will really make a difference to your career.
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on 24 November 2004
This book seemed poised to be the Numerical Recipes of the computational geometry world. It had the potential to offer enthralling, clear and advanced explanations of a wide range of interesting topics. Sadly it has fallen far short.
The vast majority of the book is concerned with extremely simple geometric problems, such as discovering the distance between a point and a line in 2D. With a little maths, most people can solve problems like this in less time than it would take to find and read the appropriate section of the book. The same mathematical techniques are regurgitated ad nauseam and, like some of Eberly's other books, are left poorly explained and liberally dotted with typos. Definitely not for the mathematical novice.
The many trees that went into printing this hefty tome died in vein. Three (of 13) chapters cover 2D problems, which I imagine few readers are interested in these days. Another three chapters are wasted on a treatment of vectors, points and matrices which is too subtle and theoretical to be insightful for anyone not already acquainted with university-level linear algebra, yet simultaneously of minimal practical value to the rest of the book. Furthermore, some of the proofs in this section are so flawed as to question the understanding of the authors themselves (see deductions of formulae for dot and cross product, pp116-120). However, just to emphasise how insultingly elementary most of the content is, there are a couple of appendices explaining basic trigonometry, and formulae for perimeters, areas and volumes of certain standard shapes, such as circles and squares.
I suspect few readers will have any interest in at least a third of the book. I personally consider only a third to be worthwhile: those parts covering topics such as quadric and polynomial surfaces, BSP trees, Boolean operations on shapes and some numerical methods. However, much of this information is only truly covered in 2D - apparently the authors felt that readers needed to be informed of the existence of the 3D extension, but could work out the details for themselves. Or could they just not be bothered to explain it? Or did they just not know themselves?
The back of the book states its intention as "an extensive, conveniently organized collection of proven solutions to fundamental problems..." It achieves this modest goal for only the most straightforward problems, and with weak, tediously long-winded explanations. Advanced issues are tantalisingly hinted at, yet left untreated. Perhaps younger or less mathematical readers would benefit from the book were the subjects not confused with hardcore theory, poorly explained reasoning, and incorrect formulae. I imagine that some will rate the book highly out of respect for its attractive, glossy cover, or perhaps the apparent encyclopaedic coverage one might presume from a quick glance at the contents. I'm sorry to say, however, that anyone who found the information contained therein genuinely useful would benefit far more from a better understanding of the maths behind it, than from putting their hard-earned cash into the hands of mindless-recipe-book authors.
My closing caveat has to be: if you're seriously considering it, take a close look at the contents (and how many pages are spent on the topics that interest you!) and bear in mind that there is nothing covered therein that is not far better - and more cheaply - explained on the Web, where you can also find much more information if you're interested.
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on 8 May 2003
I just got this book about a week ago and I haven't been able to put it down since. A great resource, a real treasure full of well presented gems. A large number of topics are well presented with mathematical depth that enables you to understand the code. The code is very well written and concise. Truly a great book and a pleasure to read. I hope to see more books like this in the future. I am interested in medical imaging applications and I know I will be using this book for a long time to come.
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on 27 June 2015
The most comprehensive reference book for CG professional. I call this my CG Bible, always on my desk.
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