Conclusion : all around practical guide, highly beneficial, excellent reference
Recommended for experienced users.
First, Windows XP can't work with DirectX 11.
This isn't a beginner's book. If you started but didn't know , no worries. My advice though is to stop & read or if you want, have beside you an introductory book. You'll surely have a better learning experience with this book if you did. There are several out there. One that is notably popular that's an all-in-one (3D, graphics, gaming) book & the one I best recommend is Frank Luna's "Introductory to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 11." He has written other books like these for previous versions of DirectX too.
This book is packed & technical with abundant knowledge on the subject & given to you in a logical way. What you get from this book is split up into 2 parts: You first learn the API design. Then you apply what you learned through practical rendering in which you learn how to design & implement algorithms for this purpose. Direct 3D 11 has significant features unlike previous versions . Some of these are new multi-threading ways, general purpose GPU computation & things in the Tessellation stage you can do.
Some important differences in the DirectX documentation:
1. gives more low-level details on the API functions
(at a technical level)
2. less info. on how to map higher level Rendering/Computation
concepts -to actual API & hardware pipelines
3. may have less focus on what an api is used for
4. may have less focus on the practical uses which the book's primary
focus is aimed at.
I have explored this documentation to some extent. It is an exhaustive reference that comes with the DirectX SDK. Its directory is well-structured which also has information on previous DirectX versions. There's a lot of example programs you can explore. The Windows SDK for Windows 8 should contain a newer DirectX SDK . For more on this, go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/hh852363.aspx.
There's lots of information given on various topics which some are grouped. A helpful, visual aid to facilitate learning Direct3D 11 is the Hieroglyph3 framework & the enjoyable practice programs you can work with that were built with the framework. Many parts of the book are clear, easy & understandable. But be on guard for the difficult & complex stuff that lies ahead. Overall, book isn't a light reading but it deserves your time, patience, & appreciation of the hardwork that the authors poured out into it. It certainly is one of the best & finest reference books on Direct3D 11 & should be added to your collection.
Some Favorites: Hieroglyph(3) is open source & an ongoing project, programs
Improvements: There's a lot covered & it's fine to put it all in one book. But to make it worthwhile, please give more attention & effort to explain better & with examples the numerous areas of the books that were difficult.
Here's a shortcut preview what you'll learn: (taken from book)
Part 1: Direct3D 11 Foundations
Direct3D 11: overall library structure, major functional API portions, how application interacts
Direct 3D Resources: many variations of memory-based resources 1. details each type 2. how to create them 3. where 4. when to use
Rendering Pipeline: mechanics, general uses, how each stage fits
Tessellation Pipeline: individual stages, how they work tog., the tessellation system function & what developers can expect from it
Computation Pipeline: using GPU for tasks in addition to rendering, threading architecture describing the various available memory systems
HLSL : syntax, objects, functions
Part2: Using Direct3D 11
Mesh Rendering : static , vertex skinning (with & w/o displacement mapping)
Dynamic Tessellation: terrain , curved/smooth surfaces)
Image Processing: Gaussian, bilateral filters -use Compute Shader
Deferred Rendering: classic , light pre-pass
Simulation: water, particle
Multi-threaded Paraboloid Rendering: dual environment mapping, multiple reflectors
Website: http://hieroglyph3.codeplex.com This projects still continues. Jason Zink , initial developer for it, also is still contributing to it as recent as this month. Nice job Jason!
Errata Link: You can find mine under Anonymous777
VS 2012: On the site, there's a zipped folder you can download that contains different VS 2012 projects -book (most of them) & also others. I say most because one book project I didn't see was the Paraboloid Program. Certain Projects, if not all, have added features like LUA scripting & possibly additional keys to control the output of the program while it is running.
If you like to try them out, here's how:
1. can use the free VS 2012 express but you need the one for Windows Desktop
2. go to: https://hieroglyph3.codeplex.com/SourceControl/latest
click Download Tab to download the hieroglph3-.... zipped folder
3. Unzip it. Double Click following:
a. Name of Unzipped Folder
b. Trunk Folder
c. Hieroglyph3 Folder -there are 2 Hieroglyph3_Desktop files; I used VS solution one.
4. Open solution. It works out of the box ; so no modification needed.
5. Solution shows to the right a window. Inside it are Projects (book & others)& other stuff.
a. Build the solution - takes some time to complete.
b. Right click a project one & select set as Startup Project option. Then run it. Enjoy!