Tricks of the 3D Game Programming Gurus: Advanced 3D Graphics and Rasterization (Other Sams) Paperback – 2 Jun 2003
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Tricks of the 3D Game Programming Gurus helps its readers make great progress in creating 3D worlds and the action that goes on in them. To be an ordinary programmer is one thing: you need only learn how to interact with the computer on its own terms, creating buttons and combo boxes that have no significance away from the screen. To be a game programmer--particularly one that writes games with environments that appear three-dimensional to their players--is something else entirely. Such work requires that the flat screen simulates the real world, complete with light, shading, texture, gravity and momentum.
That this large, dense book manages to explain how to design and implement a 3-D game while neither glossing over too many details nor swamping the reader with trivia is a credit to author André LaMothe. He opens by showing (and explaining) the C++ source code of a simple but full-fledged 3-D spaceflight shooter game--a real boost to the reader's confidence. From there, he explains the complicated geometric concepts and mathematics that underlie realistic games (always with an eye toward software algorithms) and shows how to use the many APIs and libraries (including Microsoft DirectX 9.0) that make the world-builder's job easier. Make no mistake: designing and building convincing games with 3-D visuals and behaviours that convincingly approximate real-world physics is hard work. In this book, LaMothe helps you get it done and enjoy the process. --David Wall
Topics covered: how to design and build 3-D worlds and the goings-on within them. Aside from mathematics and geometry, this book focuses on wireframe models, shading, rendering and animation. Microsoft DirectX 9.0 gets special attention. --Robert Lawton, Amazon.com
About the Author
André LaMothe has been involved in the computing industry and technology for more than a quarter century. He holds degrees in mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering, and is one of the rare individuals that actually did work at NASA at the age of 20 doing research. His early teens and twenties were filled with consulting for numerous Silicon Valley companies, where he learned the realities of running a business and worked on his multidisciplinary background in fields such as telecommunications, virtual reality, robotics, compiler design, 3D engines, artificial intelligence, and other areas of computing and engineering.
His company Xtreme Games LLC was one of the first and last true "indie" publishers with a soul. Later he founded the Xtreme Games Developer Conference (XGDC) to give game developers a low-cost alternative to the GDC. Lately he has been working on a number of projects, including eGamezone Networks, an online distribution system for games that's fair, fun, and has zero ads. Last but not least, he founded a new company, Nurve Networks LLC, to create handheld video game systems for value-minded consumers and hobbyists alike. Finally, he is the series editor for the world's largest game development series.
On a personal level, he likes everything extreme, from weightlifting, motorcycles, jet skis, and hotrods to "railing" on his blades. He has even trained extensively with the Shamrock Submission Fighting Team under the tutelage of Crazy Bob Cook, Frank Shamrock, and Javier Mendez. You probably don't want to get in an argument with him over DirectX or OpenGL - right or wrong, he will probably make you say uncle!
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Top Customer Reviews
Although it covers cameras and 3d math, this info can be found in many other books. However the important bits were as follows:
-rasterizing triangles, i.e. projecting the 3d world onto the 2d screen
-all kinds of interpolation techniques - gouraud shading, perspective texture mapping, z buffering
-a very in depth part about clipping which is a BIG topic
-strong focus on optimisation with lots of little tips to make things faster
-quake II .md2 model format loading/display
Don't get me wrong - there is LOADS of other info in this book on just about every 3d graphics topic, but above is things that I couldn't find anywhere else. It doesn't just tell you HOW to do them, it tells u how they actually work.
My only problem was that he does refer back to his previous book, The Zen of 3D Game Programming, occasionally which I haven't read, but you can easily get by without it.
So, to sum up, dont buy this book expecting to come out the other end with a working game engine or in depth knowledge of a particular 3d accelerator - it is a book about the theory and math of 3d graphics. Buy it because it is the best source of information that you NEED to learn to become an expert, and it is well written, well structured and generally... GREAT!
This will give you a much better understanding of how 3D graphics work than any book on OpenGL or DirectX. The book teaches you to build a software-renderer in C from start to finish, including texturing, lighting, animation, scripting, ... , processor optimizations. The lay out is very logical, and all the techniques and concepts are illustrated and explained very well.
The code does look ugly at times, but if you follow it from the start, you won't be lost or confused.
It would have been better if his code was written in C++ and not C, but that's only a minor issue.
I have a "good working knowledge" of C and studied 3D graphics at a basic level at University in the '80s. I'm a good scripter, was once a pretty good assembly language programmer, and a C hacker.
The first thing that sruck me about the book was the size - there is a lot of content. Granted, a lot of it is code but by no means all of it and for a subject of this nature code is really one of the best ways to force someone to read and take note of a particular section. All the code is backed up with good textual walkthrough's in any case.
I completely disagree with a previous reviewer who said that the CD was only worth 5 minutes. If you want a short-cut API-specific manual and take an 'I wanna make shiny things' attitude, you probably won't get a lot out of this book. Don't buy a tin of pears and then review them in 'Apples weekly'!
If you want to *really understand* the inner workings of 3D chipsets, APIs such as DirectX and OpenGL then this book is certainly for you.
I personally only had two small problems - neither of which can be described as shortcomings on Andre's part. The first is that my basic mathematical ability isn't really up to following the detail of the chapter on mathematics. Andre is obviously well versed in math and uses it freely in this chapter. That said, he does recommend people get supplementary books (and lists a couple) if they have trouble following the math.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a must have for anyone wanting to learn 3D Game Programming with DirectX. However, as with all great books you need to do some work - and I would advise that you read the... Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2004 by A. K. Muyobo
We all complain that there is too much maths in 3d game programming books but friends who told 3d game programming is easy? Read morePublished on 18 May 2004 by Kuldeep Mann
I've always struggled to get into 3D coding, books on DirectX and OpenGL just end up being API references, without giving me what I really need which is a good solid foundation on... Read morePublished on 7 May 2004
If you DONT want to use DirectX 3D API, then go with this book. As LaMothe says "Math, Math,...etc” in software mode, with C.
The coding is not tidy. Read more
if you want to get confused by a trillion optimizations in the parts where understanding is the most important, by all means get this book. Read morePublished on 2 Jan. 2004 by Rasputin
This is what is needed to bridge the gap between theoretical books and "hands on" API specific books. Read morePublished on 16 Dec. 2003 by Manfredo Meraviglia
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