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3D Games: Volume 1: Real-Time Rendering and Software Technology [Hardcover]

Alan Watt , Fabio Policarpo
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 29 2000 0201619210 978-0201619218 1

This is the first academic games programming book/CD package that is expressly written for new degree courses in 3D-games programming. Authors introduce the theory behind the design of computer games and detail advanced techniques used in the industry.
Students will be able to develop their own games within the game 'skeletons' accompanying the book, and will learn how to program complex games. This book could also be used for a more standard undergraduate 3D graphics programming course, with the games context being highly motivational.
This book is a comprehensive treatment of current 3D games technology, including:
* Theoretical foundations
* Classical 3D graphics
* Real-time rendering technology
* Dynamics
* Collision detection
* Artificial Intelligence
* Image-based rendering
* Multi-player technology
* Software technology
* Engine architecture
The text is written around an actual engine that implements most of the described techniques and accompanies the book on a CD-ROM. Readers can try out their own ideas by writing source code and can experiment with existing demonstrations by writing or altering plug-ins. 
The supplied engine features are:
* BSP/PVS render management
* Light maps for static geometry
* Diffuse and specular (hardware) vertex lighting for dynamic objects
* Volumetric fog with fog maps
* Detail textures
* Multi-texture support
* Collision detection
* Dynamic lights
* Dynamic Shadows
* Physically based animations
* Animated meshed
* Tri-strips and fans
* Subdivision surfaces
* 3D sound support
* Complete plug-in directed

Product Details

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

The book can be read forwards or backwards. For example, if you wish to build up detailed implementation experience, you could start with Chapter 21 (Engine Architecture) familiarise yourself with the engine and development environment, and start writing new plug-ins using the theoretical chapters for reference when required. Alternatively you could take a more conventional approach studying the theoretical aspects first before moving onto to implementation.

Chapters are grouped into sections that are more or less self contained. These are:

Modelling and Foundation Maths

This section deals with the basic mathematics required to handle objects in three-dimensional space and the theory of object representation.

Classical 3D Graphics

Although much of the material in this chapter has migrated onto hardware, it is still necessary to have an appreciation of what the hardware does to be able to use it effectively.

Real-time rendering

This section deals with the technology developed by the games industry and the virtual reality industry which enable complex scenes to be rendered, to a reasonably high quality, in real time on a low cost graphics processor

Control of Objects

Mainstream techniques used to control the movement of objects are descried in this section. This ranges from simple low level control through to behavioural animation using AI technology. The material on AI is in the form of a debate concerning the potential use of the technology in the future.

2D Technology

A potentially important solution to the complexity problem in 3D graphics, both in terms of the creation cost and the rendering cost is the use of image based rendering techniques.

Software technology

This section deals with the techniques needed to write a multiplayer game using the currently popular 1st person shooter genre as an example. We examine the software architecture of a games engine and look at the design of the engine. Finally a comprehensive reference manual for the engine is given.

The book is not intended to be a 'how to program' in C++ and OpenGL text and we assume a reasonable knowledge of C or C++. Detailed examples of various algorithms implemented in C++ are sprinkled throughout the text. These are extracted from the engine and are reproduced in the text for convenience. A quick read will give some feel for the structure of the algorithm. In most cases to fully comprehend the code requires them to be studied in conjunction with Chapter 21 and the Reference Manual.

The graphics API/library used is OpenGL. Pentium 3 code is given alongside the C++ equivalent for efficient matrix operation in Chapter 1 and DirectyPlay utilities are used in Chapter 20. Clearly these facilities need separate study and the purpose of the examples is to give a 'flavour' of their use in the applications.

From the Back Cover

This book is a comprehensive treatment of current 3D games technology. It concentrates on:
· real-time rendering, or the necessary enhancements of 3D graphics to enable rendering at interactive rates;
· topics from other areas such as AI, physics and collision detection, that are used in games;
· the software technology of games - engine architecture and multi-player technology.

The text is written around the engine Fly3D (included with a full SDK on the CD) that implements most of the described techniques. Readers can try out their own ideas by writing source code and experiment with existing demonstrations by writing plug-ins and altering existing ones. You can even develop your own game.

Features of the game engine include:
· BSP/PVS render management
· Light Maps for static geometry (pre-computed lighting with soft shadows)
· Normal maps (dot product texture blending) for dynamic objects
· Diffuse and specular vertex lighting for dynamic objects
· Volumetric fog with fog maps
· Detail Textures
· Multi-texture support
· Collision detection
· Dynamic coloured lights with distance attenuation
· Dynamic shadows - lightmap or stencil shadow volumes
· Physically based simulations
· Animated meshes (vertex morph)
· Tri-strips and fans
· Subdivision Surfaces
· Dynamic LODs using bi-quadric Bezier meshes
· Cartoon like rendering with dynamic cartoon lighting
· Multiplayer support (TCP/IP) with client/server architecture (using DirectPlay)
· 3D sound support (using DirectSound)
· Mouse and Keyboard input (using DirectInput)
· Intel ® Pentium III vector and matrix maths optimisation
· Complete plug-in directed
· 3D Max plug-ins for export/import fly bsp levels and creating landscapes and animated meshes
· Editor with real-time preview of game (set up game and object parameters while playing)

Sections of the book have been designed to be self-contained. The areas covered are:
· Modelling and Foundation Maths
· Classical 3D Graphics
· Real-time rendering
· Control of Objects - dynamics - AI
· 2D Technology
· Software technology

CD includes:
· Full Fly3D SDK including source code for Fly3D.dll, front-ends, plug-ins and utilities
· 5 demo levels: car, walk (2 levels), ship (2 levels)
· Engine Reference Manual and tutorials in HTML
· Book images

Go to www.fly3D.com.br for Fly3D SDK updates, new demos, FAQs and message board.

Alan Watt, based at the University of Sheffield, is the author of many successful books including 3D Computer Graphics, Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques and the Computer Image.

Fabio Policarpo is a software developer and founder of the company Paralelo Computacao based in Rio de Janeiro. He coauthored The Computer Image and is currently working on independent 3D action multiplayer games.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Source Bad book Jan. 27 2003
The source for this book is for an entry level 3D engine, which is just what I wanted. But a lot of the theory (coll det etc) in the source is not explained in the book. Rather than explaining fundamental aspects they seem to throw in loads of detail about the topics that they dont seem to have covered and taken for lots of articles that you can find on the web (gamasutra for one).
Saying that the source is nice and taught me a lot, bsp trees + a bit about collisions. Im glad I have the source but the book seems thrown together and shabby. I just think they could have done a better job making it readable starting 3D engine book rather than a shabby reference book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I've read reviews on this book by others. If you can't find a better book, why say that it's not worth buying? Instead of bringing up complaints, why not recommend books you think are more useful? Discouraging buying the book, you believe we should wait for improvements?
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excelent book Feb. 25 2003
I've been reading game development books for more than 10 years and this is certain one of the best books i've ever read. Policarpo and Watt have created a very good 3D engine that comes in a CD with the book and they explain everything about programming 3D games with this engine and general game programming. It's really Worth Buying!
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I've read reviews on this book by others. If you can't find a better book, why say that it's not worth buying? Instead of bringing up complaints, why not recommend books you think are more useful? Discouraging buying the book, you believe we should wait for improvements?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Why you should not buy this book! Jan. 26 2002
This book has many spelling errors for one. Second, after reading this book you would have learned nothing about building your own 3D game engine. This book teaches you how to use the fly3D engine and does a bad job of that. If you want to learn how to make your own 3D games then you are going to want to get OpenGL game programming and both Game Programming Gems books. This is truly a waste of money, don't say I didn't warn you. I don't see how anyone could use this as a reference.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Hardly worth my time Dec 31 2001
The book is ok if all you want to learn is theory. If you really want something that shows you the ins-and-outs of realtime 3d processing, this book isn't for you. I felt like there were too many topics covered and the important ones were skimmed over. There is a total lack of practical example code as well - don't bother looking at the FlySDK either - it's a waste of time.
The final straw was when I had to learn BSP techniques. This book had maybe 10 pages on the topic, no real code, only a sample formula that made no sense. I did some research on the Internet and found supporting information and better formulas (for free, mind you) that helped me to understand and formulate my own BSP algorithm. I went back and looked at the section in the text again and found how much was really left out of the BSP section and it was shameful.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good 3d book so far, but not perfect Aug. 12 2001
Some of the criticisms are valid, but lets get it straight right here. This is simply the best 3D book out there from all I've seen. In fact, from what I've seen, its the only 3D book worth buying right now for the intermediate<->advanced programmer. You'll have to do a lot of reading with the source code though--but all good info.
The good
1.) No API's are covered. Anyone can learn OpenGL/DirectX, and many tutorials cover those topics quite well. However, this covers the math, algorithms, and 3D side of things (for most part). Some code snippets are included, though--but its not a teach yourself OpenGL in 21 days book (thank god). It also has the best coverage of BSP tree's I've seen aside from dedicated algorithm books. And the coverage on PVS seems a tad brief, but the SDK src code makes up for it.
2.) The src code on the CD is great-- its a load of code to sift through-- not the best code, not the most bug-free--indeed, but good code to learn from. OpenGL stuff is in there, stuff that uses STL and modern C++ techniques, and BSP and PVS code. What more can you ask for in a book? This book comes with a working 3d engine and its source code. I can't think of any book that covers the topics well because the guy implemented what he was writing about. Thats why the book is above average, you get the juicy details along with theory.
3.) Has some cool pictures and visuals of varying effects. Not exactly needed for the professional 3d coder, but sometimes a little eyecandy and visuals doesnt hurt in an otherwise intense book.
The ugly
1.) The last 190 pages cover the SDK he wrote. This could have been better left offline, I think - on a CD-ROM. It gives you some insight on how a 3d API *might* look, or how file formats might look, but who cares.
Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book For Real-Time Rendering Concepts April 13 2001
This may not be my favorite book, but I do seem to keep picking it up time after time. If you are trying to get a handle on the concepts that are used in current 3D games, this book may prove to be very helpful. I was not very impressed by the Fly3D SDK, but this could be because the demo levels were not really great examples of what the engine could do. It does appear to have many advanced features though.
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