on 1 May 2003
I followed a course of software engineering which was very boring and I used this book for myself as a supplement. Especially because I'm interested in writing games, which need a high end of programming level in order to obtain speed with all the nice features.
Fortunately, Rudy Rucker understands that writing games is not only fun to do (motivate students), but it also includes almost everything you need in other applications (at least the ones I wrote in our boring class :-).
The book describes an open source program, which can be downloaded from the author's site. With the biggest advantage: the code works !! whereas code printed in books can have typos keeping you busy for ages. The program is Object Oriented and offers a way to derive your own classes to build your games rather easy.
For me the main reason to be enthusiastic, is the open source with the book as an explaining aid, gives me the chance to see how to implement things like timers, listeners, collision detectors, graphical interface, etc.
One minor point I came up with so far, is the very brief description of converting the information matrices into graphical information.
on 14 May 2012
If you know what you want from this book, it delivers, it teaches the basics of software engineering using a fairly basic game engine as an example. It will show you practical examples of UML and introduces to you the kind of thinking that you will do as a software engineer. It isn't a book that will teach you how to write a high-end game engine, but that would be impossible, that would be like asking a book to teach you how to make a hollywood blockbuster... there are a few details missing and you really need to know basic C++ and be willing to read the source code for a complete understanding of how the included framework works, as some of it is not covered in the book. So it has its strengths and weaknesses but it's the only book out there providing the learning step that it does, something that is not a trivial project, that needs engineering practice, but it not overwhelming for an individual, and it is entertaining and fun too.