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Ultimate Game Programming With DirectX Paperback – May 11 2006


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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
One to skip Sept. 29 2007
By Kevin Dill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Just to establish my own credentials - I'm a game developer with 5 published titles under my belt including Master of Orion 3, Kohan 2, Axis & Allies, and two Zoo Tycoon 2 games.

I was asked on very short notice to teach a Game Development class at a local college. So off I went to Borders to find a textbook. After some digging, this is what I picked out. The features that recommended it to me where that it included the source code, and over the course of the book it promised to build a fully functional game.

Here's what I found instead:

* I would guess from his terminology that the author has never worked at a game company. He just doesn't know the lingo - or he's worked somewhere so remote from my own experience that his lingo is completely different. Also, based on the quality of his code and the quality of the resulting game, he wouldn't survive a second at any game company out there. He wouldn't make it past the phone interview. If you are considering a career in game development, do NOT follow this person's example or you won't even get in the door.

* The code is the most horribly written I have ever seen. I would expect better out of anyone who has ever taken any sort of class on object oriented programming - or worked on any sort of project employing more than one person. The best way to describe it is poorly written C code written in C++. The spacing is non-standard. That variable names are horrible. For many of the programs, it's all in the main.cpp file. Global variables everywhere. Hardly any use of classes, and where they are used they are monolithic and poorly designed. Ugh.

* The book is frequently innaccurate. It needs an errata list badly - but if there is one, I haven't been able to find it. For example, in chapter 1 he tells you that you only need 1 line of code to enable z-buffering. After talking to colleagues and looking on the web, I was able to get this to work (I'm an AI guy, not a graphics guy) - but he was missing 4 of the 5 lines needed to make it happen.

* The book also tends to be incredibly light on details. It tells you the DirectX functions you need to call (mostly) and the specific values to plug in - but not what the functions do, or what the other possible values for their paramaters are, or how the parameters affect the output. The style of the writing is also incredibly informal - it sounds like something written by a 10th grader. Granted, if the quality of the content was solid I wouldn't care about this - but added to the poor content it makes the whole thing feel unprofessional.

* The quality of the final game is what I would expect out of a high school project (at best). The collision detection is horrifically buggy. The characters don't animate or move at all (although my understanding from looking at the book is that they're supposed to). The code won't compile under VS2005, only VS2003. It also won't run without a game controller plugged in to the computer - but it doesn't appear to actually use the game controller. He's been promising since the book came out to post the fixes for those last two problems on his web site, but I couldn't find them.

All in all, this book is an embarassment. I'm sorry I made my students spend the money on it - and now I'm scrambling to find material to teach my class, because this book hasn't delivered anything close to what it promised.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Be CAREFUL If You Plan on Buying This Book July 8 2006
By G. Jenkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Good :

- Well organized.

- Good examples.

- The TEXT is easy to read.

- The code can be complied, built, and run without

receiving errors.

The Bad :

- The code included on the CD-ROM doesn't always

match the code covered in the text. Sometimes

little changes have been made, but at other times

ENTIRE functions appear out of nowhere.

The Ugly :

- The author's coding practices and techniques are

HORRID. They are by far the worst that I have ever

come across in any computer science book that I

have ever read. His rare use of spaces makes the

code very difficult to read. Also, the names that

he gives his variables are nothing short of

ludicrous. Many of them make absolutely no sense.

In my experience, people who write code that is this hard to follow, have very little experience working with other programmers. This is a guy who has a computer information systems degree from DeVry and I'm guessing is only a hobbyist at best. Don't get me wrong, there are some good DirectX points made in this text, but the heart of any programming text is always the code.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Huh? Dec 5 2006
By Tilak Mishra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Rather cryptic title I put for my review, but the book seems to follow the same route.

I purchased another book awhile back: Programming a Multiplayer FPS in DirectX - very well written and organized.

Ultimate Game Programming has a lot of "bugs". The program as you go along seems to fall apart, what is in the book isn't exactly the same as the code provided on the CD Rom. The author leaves out information as to what header files are required, where you should place some of your code. As said before the key failure is the difference in code from book and Rom.

Aside from the bad points. Good points. I do like the some code in the pages provided, even though I must realize it might be different on the Rom. Mainly because I'm using another book and this to help solidify my DirectX concepts.

So considering I have the Microsoft documentation, another book from the same publisher on programming in DirectX and now this, I have to really research and piece everything together.

The coding is really night and day too. The book by Vaughn Young, really sticks to appropriate coding practices, while this seems quickly written.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Presumes you know C++ June 2 2006
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is aimed at the C++ programmer who wants to move into game development and programming. It is oriented around the Microsoft DirectX SDK, which is included on the CD supplied with the book. The format of the book is tutorial in nature. It takes the construction of a game from concept to a finished game one chapter at a time so that each major component of the game is constructed in a logical sequence. By the end of the book a game engine has been constructed as well as the game itself. (It a first person shooter type game.)

The book presumes no game experience, but as stated does presume that you already know C++, so should be classified as an intermediate level book. The book is divided into three basic sections: the first is an introduction of DirectX and the Direct 3D API; the second section covers game mathematics and collision detection, input detection and sound; finally it covers model building and animation.

The creation of a game is by no means an easy task. This book, however is a great primer on the techniques and skills needed to do good games.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
good as a quick introductory reference to the platform April 12 2010
By anon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I don't know that it is any sort of ULTIMATE game programming guide by any means, so maybe the title is what has thrown everyone and they are reading too much into it (and/or maybe the first edition was considerably different than the second, as well) but it is a quick, solid intro to DX10-era game programming. If you just need to quickly learn the general basics of how the Windows platform works for game/3D programming, I think it does the job. It goes over the basic D3D10 system, game controller input, the current audio APIs, etc. If you are new to a platform it can be hard to know where to begin. This quickly gets you right past that and you can take it from there. The important part it knowing where to begin and what the basic components are, from there just use everything you already know.


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