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Customer Review

on 6 March 2006
I'm not going to spend a lot of time identifying and classifying each part of the book, because that's been done by others and doesn't really reflect the book as a whole.
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. The second thing I found was that the code wouldn't compile cleanly by default using Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 (it was written using Visual C++ version 6 I believe). I mailed him, and got a VERY quick reply offering help. By this time however, I'd pretty much figured out the problems for myself (mainly due to Microsoft changes to the compiler) and fortunately didn't have to press him for any answers.
Andre's writing style is chatty and informal, which I personally like, yet packed full of really good and useful information. Perhaps sometimes he assumes that the text is easier to follow than it is, but frankly the nature of this book is such that complexity is simply unavoidable.
If you don't like this book then in my opinion you really haven't understood what it is written for, and thus don't really qualify to judge it. It gives you in-depth knowledge about what's going on INSIDE the likes of DirectX and OpenGL, not just how to use them. This is a subtle difference to a pure API guide.
In short, thanks to Andre for writing the book, and considering the scope of the material covered and the amount of work involved I think he's done a cracking job.
These days it's all too easy to just use APIs without thinking about what's going on behind the scenes. I'd recommend it to anyone who is willing to put in the mental effort to really understand it. This is a seriously good publication.
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