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Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 [Paperback]

Greg Snook
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 30 2003 Charles River Media Game Development
With recent advancements in programmable 3D rendering hardware, game developers can create engines capable of making complete outdoor landscapes. Many of today's popular games include entire outdoor environments, but making these environments realistic and fast is a challenge for even the best programmers. Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX 9 is written to help make the process more efficient, and to bring new programmers into the field of 3D computer game programming. The book is dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of programming a popular 3D engine type - the "Real-Time 3D Terrain Engine." Throughout the book, the focus is on the essential topics of outdoor terrain rendering. So whether you are new to 3D engine programming or a seasoned veteran, Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX 9 will teach you how to use the latest advancements in hardware-accelerated rendering, and provide all of the tips, tricks, and ideas you need to build your own, complete 3D terrain engine. Skills Needed: It is assumed that you are familiar with C++, Direct X, math, and geometry and that you're ready to move into 3D engine design and real-time terrain visualization.

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PART I: A Foundation In 3d 1 Chapter1 Getting Started With Directx 9.0 Andd3dx Chapter 2 Fundamental 3d Objects Chapter 3 The High-Level Shader Language Chapter 4 Gaia Engine Overview PART II: Introduction To Terrain Systems 97 Chapter 5 World Management Chapter 6 Basic Terrain Geometry Chapter7 The Roam Terrain System Chapter 8 Tiled Geometry Techniques Chapter 9 Texturing Techniques PART III: Extending The Engine 221 Chapter 10 Big Sky Country Chapter 11 Rendering Outdoor Scenes Chapter 12 The 3d Gardener Chapter 13 Ocean Water Appendix A Gaia Utility Classes Appendix B Floating-Point Tricks Appendix C Programming Reference Sheets Appendix D Recommended Reading Appendix E About The CD-Rom

About the Author

Greg Snook (Sammamish, WA) has been a game programmer and artist for over eight years. He has worked on a number of successful games with several game development companies. He currently works as an Xbox programmer for Bungie Studios, and has contributed to all three volumes of the Game Programming Gems series.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
Not an easy book to learn from, all the code from the first demo program on up use the (complicated) final engine to do their rendering, and you'll have to go spelunking through it to try and figure out what's going on. The emphasis of this book is on the whole game engine itself and you're locked into his way of doing it, you're never given smaller programs that teach you how to do specific topics, it's all or nothing.
The first third of the book barely touches on terrain, you'll get overviews of things like memory management, resource pools, High Level Shader Language, render queue's, and a dozen other topics. And if you already have your own systems for these things or don't like his systems, too bad, because they are interwoven in the code throughout the rest of the book and it's difficult to seperate it out.
Like the review above, I have to agree that the terrain looks a bit aged for such a new book, and it runs slow on my P4 2.4ghz with GeForceFX card. I've seen plenty of recent games that look much better and run smooth as silk on my setup. You'll need a very high end system for his techniques to run smoothly on.
It's hard to recommend this book when you'll find much better tutorial code on the internet that's more to the point and has better looking results than you will get in this book. It does bring many techniques all together, but not in an easily learnable format when it comes to actually programming it.
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Format:Paperback
Not an easy book to learn from, all the code from the first demo program on up use the (complicated) final engine to do their rendering, and you'll have to go spelunking through it to try and figure out what's going on. The emphasis of this book is on the whole game engine itself and you're locked into his way of doing it, you're never given smaller programs that teach you how to do specific topics, it's all or nothing.
The first third of the book barely touches on terrain, you'll get overviews of things like memory management, resource pools, High Level Shader Language, render queue's, and a dozen other topics. And if you already have your own systems for these things or don't like his systems, too bad, because they are interwoven in the code throughout the rest of the book and it's difficult to seperate it out.
Like the review above, I have to agree that the terrain looks a bit aged for such a new book, and it runs slow on my P4 2.4ghz with GeForceFX card. I've seen plenty of recent games that look much better and run smooth as silk on my setup. You'll need a very high end system for his techniques to run smoothly on.
It's hard to recommend this book when you'll find much better tutorial code on the internet that's more to the point and has better looking results than you will get in this book. It does bring many techniques all together, but not in an easily learnable format when it comes to actually programming it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good But Watch HW Requirements July 21 2003
Format:Paperback
I got my copy of this book today. So far I've read through chapter 6 and have been very impressed. The introduction to 3D concepts is appropriately brief (I hate when an intermediate level book spends 3 chapters on matrices and vectors). I like how Snook ties the terrain into a realistic 3D engine (Gaia). Many authors sidestep this daunting task and just build on top of generic, dysfunctional skeletons.
My only critique of the book so far is that it seems to only focus on shader enabled hardware. On my Geforce 2 TI, all of the demos run in software emulation mode (ouch). The first few demos run at .5 FPS. Nothing beyond that will even run. The book is very clear about this requirement from the start, but I still would have liked to see a progression from "antique" hardware like mine to the more advanced shader-friendly stuff. There's still a lot of 3D cards out there that aren't shader enabled so I am hesitant to make this a requirement for my current project (which is why I haven't upgraded my GF2).
This book has and will still be useful; it will just take some work discerning what is valid given my conservative requirements. ...
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2.0 out of 5 stars This is Some Bad Looking Terrain July 21 2003
Format:Paperback
The picture on the cover of this book seems to be a screenshot of the culminating demo from the final chapter. That's the type of world you can expect to build with the code presented. It isn't pretty, it isn't efficient. My home computer is a slightly long in the tooth 1.2GHz machine with a Geforce 3. The final sample runs at about 10fps and shows really noticable draw in, all while managing to look really really bad.
The actual content of the book is passable, but there really isn't anything in here you can't find done better on-line. Most of the ideas presented are sound, though none revolutionary. I just really have to take everything presented with a grain of salt seeing how poor the end product is.
You could read the section on animating water, but then look at the water in the demo. Texture blending is covered, but the texturing in the demo is horrible. The terrain is randomly generated, the methods are described in the book, and once again the final result really fails to impress with overly bumpy, not in the least realistic feeling terrain.
The bottom line is that the author of this book produced the demos in this book using the methods presented. If the included demos are the best the author could do, you don't want to be using any of it as the basis for your work.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book from an experienced programmer.
The book is exactly how the title describes it. It is developing a 3d terrain engine and if that is what you are looking to do then this is well worth the 30 bucks, in my opinion. Read more
Published on May 22 2004 by David Neubelt
5.0 out of 5 stars It's awesome
I got this book not knowing anything about terrain programming. However, after reading it I felt very comfortable with the subject and was able to use and extend the gaia engine. Read more
Published on April 25 2004 by Ryan Bailey
1.0 out of 5 stars waste of money
this book doesn't give you any background or theory on how to create a terrain engine. insted it only shows you code, code and more code! Read more
Published on March 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're not a newbie 3D developer, this is THE DX9 book
Basically, I'm a professional OGL/D3D programmer and rather because I don't have days to devote to discerning the differences between DX8. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars so-so book
The author did a good job of explaining the algorithms. Publisher should've paid for someone to read the book once before printing it. There were tons of spelling errors. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2003 by Peter Knepley
5.0 out of 5 stars good book for game writers
I've been working on my first game engine for a long time. This book was a big help in teaching all the missing pieces. For new game programmers, this book is really good. Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2003 by Alex Hernandez
5.0 out of 5 stars Best terrain book available
I picked up this book along with Trent Pollack's 'focus on 3D terrain programming'. Side-by-side, I'd advise anyone to pick up Snook's book. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2003 by David Witken
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent terrain book
At first I was put off by the amount of code included with this book. But the more I look through it, the happier I am to have it. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2003 by Mike Almeida
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, many faults.
This is a tough book to recommend. If you need your hand held through detailed examples, this is not a good source at all, especially since the sample programs are (1) overly... Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great (Only if you have the hardware to support it)
This book has a lot of great info in it which is really helping me to get a good grasp of terrain ideas for one of my projects. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2003
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