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5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Programming With DirectX 8.0
The thing that the other reviewers didn't comprehend, is that this book is for beginners, notice the word "Introduction", this book isn't meant to be the book for learning all about DirectX 8.0, but it is meant to introduce you to DirectX and get you programming in it. After reading this the reader is ready for doing more advance DirectX programming. One thing for the...
Published on March 14 2003 by Jeffery L Keller

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great For Beginners
I've read several complainant reviews about this book, and most of them make valid points. However when all is said and done this book is great for beginning 2D programming.
Many have pointed out that this book doesn't cover DirectX 8, and that is true, in fact it really covers DirectX 3. This doesn't really matter, as the aspects of DirectX have not changed much...
Published on July 2 2002 by Blaine


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1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated Technology Poorly Explained, May 13 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
I am actually quite surprised by the large number of positive reviews for this book. It is actually a poor choice for learning DirectX.
First, it is worth pointing out that this is an introduction to an older version of DirectX that is no longer being developed by Microsoft. For those who don't know, DirectX is a package of inter-related programs that allow the game programmer to directly access a computer's video monitor, sound card, etc. DirectX has been developed constantly since it was first released back in the 90s. As of this writing (May, 2003), we are now up to DirectX 9, which is *very* different from the version described (poorly) in this book.
That actually isn't a bad thing, as long as you know it up front. DirectX 7.0 (which is what this book is really about, not 8) used something called Direct Draw for graphics, which is a lot easier to learn than the newer 3D technology that DirectX 8 and 9 emphasized. Direct Draw is no longer being developed, but it is still around for backward compatibility, and is a good place to start for beginners.
Unfortunately, the author does a poor job teaching it. First, as the author makes clear in the book, but may be less obvious to an online buyer not sitting in a bookstore flipping through the pages, you *absolutely* must know C++ and (preferably) have a copy of Microsoft's Visual C++. This is fairly standard stuff, but beginners need to know they should learn C++ first. Plus, you really should learn at least the bare essentials of Windows programming, which you can pick up from a few places - including one of the "Dummies" books, if nothing else.
True beginners may want to start with simpler packages based on the Basic language that integrate DirectX behind the scenes. Check out Blitz Basic or Dark Basic, both of which are much easier to learn than C++ and DirectX, and may be all you need. If you want to become a professional, however, C++/DirectX is the way to go, but even then these other programmers can help you learn the basic concepts in an easy/newbie friendly environment.
Once you know the basics of C++, BEFORE you buy this book, you should download the DirectX 7 (not 8 or 9) Software Development Kit from Microsoft's web site. Go straight to the help files and read them thoroughly (or at least the Direct Draw stuff), and load and run the sample programs. You should also read some very good tutorials at the GameDev web site, particularly the series of articles by Joseph Farrell called "Game Programming Genesis." All of this (the SDK and GameDev articles) are absolutely free. You should also be able to find a used, out-of-print version of Microsoft's own "Inside DirectX", which is much better than this one.
Only then, if you are still confused should you even think about buying this book. The book itself, however, has many flaws in my opinion, including:
- little or no discussion of basic Windows GDI programming. Simple stuff like drawing text, lines, boxes -- all come in handy in DirectX.
- discussion/use of only parts of Direct Draw, with little no discussion of the stuff he leaves out.
- little or no discussion of Direct Input, which provides fast access to the mouse and the keyboard.
- the game he makes uses 8 bit graphics and palettes, an older technology that is harder for newbies to learn.
- over-reliance on C++ classes and object-oriented programming. Yeah, I know some people love this stuff, but most programmers like creating their *own* classes, not trying to figure out or adapt someone else's. In most cases, the ideas he tries to get across could be done more simply.
- a whole chapter on "AI" that really only discusses the simple AI he decided to include in his game, and says little or nothing about AI more broadly (including pathfinding and all sorts of other game related stuff). There are whole book on this sort of thing, but a few pages that at least introduce them would be worthwhile in a beginners book.
All in all, if you want a lengthy, somewhat confusing book about how to make a particular game, with little or no discussion of C++, Windows programming, or DirectX as a whole (beyond the parts he uses), this is a worthwhile buy -- but only after you check out the other stuff I mentioned first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Programming With DirectX 8.0, March 14 2003
By 
Jeffery L Keller (Kent, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
The thing that the other reviewers didn't comprehend, is that this book is for beginners, notice the word "Introduction", this book isn't meant to be the book for learning all about DirectX 8.0, but it is meant to introduce you to DirectX and get you programming in it. After reading this the reader is ready for doing more advance DirectX programming. One thing for the newbie programmers, do not buy this book unless you have been programming in C++ for at least 6 months. And, you should be programming in OOP with C++ since that is the standard for DirectX programming.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My first introduction to game programming, March 8 2003
By 
Meesters Ludo (Geel, Antwerp Belgium) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
Well, I agree this book is not perfect.
Nevertheless, I gave it 4 starts because:
- it gave me an insight in general game logic
- it gave me a general idea about DirectX
- it gives you a fairly good grasp on general animation
- and last but not least: by reading this book, I learned OOP
But beware: I highly recommend that if you want to buy this book,
you should have at least 1 year of programming experience, preferably in assembly and C. Furthermore, it would be nice that you have some experience with DOS VGA programming (under mode 13H for example). Some knowledge of algorithms and a basic understanding of the WIN API message passing concepts are needed, too.
If you don't comply with these requirements, I agree that reading this book is a complete HORROR ;).
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4.0 out of 5 stars My first introduction to game programming, March 8 2003
By 
Meesters Ludo (Geel, Antwerp Belgium) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
Well, I agree this book is not perfect.
Nevertheless, I gave it 4 starts because:
- it gave me an insight in general game logic
- it gave me a general idea about DirectX
- it gives you a fairly good grasp on general animation
- and last but not least: by reading this book, I learned OOP
But beware: I highly recommend that if you want to buy this book,
you should have at least 1 year of programming experience, preferably in assembly and C. Furthermore, it would be nice that you have some experience with DOS VGA programming (under mode 13H for example). Some knowledge of algorithms and a basic understanding of the WIN API message passing concepts are needed, too.
If you don't comply with these requirements, I agree that reading this book is a complete HORROR ;).
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1.0 out of 5 stars Total garbage, Dec 22 2002
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
I have tried to read this book but it's very awful. For little experienced programmer, it gives nothing new. But, for a beginner, it tries to teach some 2D directx graphics by explaining his source code. He made its program from many source files and classes, so it's totally ununderstandable for a beginner. I recommend you to not buy this book, there are many better books in amazon.com about this subject. I have totally disappointed. But, of course, it's your money.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible book, damn Ian..., Aug. 9 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
I wasted 32 dollars on this pitiful book thinking it'd teach me something other than sloppy coding. I'm competent in C and C++ but even at the beginning he was too far ahead. A basic overview of the API wasn't enough. Concepts were non-existant nor were explanations. All this book did was confuse me more and discourage me. Don't waste your time or money on this guy, he can't write or put his teaching skills into text. My advice for him is INDENT YOUR CODE YOU SLOB. He leaves the comments in with the code and not indented out and it's painstaking to read. AHH!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Very deceiving...waste of time., July 31 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
I really think that both of the directx books from Parberry are complete garbage. Unfortunately I wasted my money on one of them only to be disappointed that there was no coverage on what was stated in the title! He states that the only knowledge one must have is some C++. I'm sorry but that is wrong. He says he covers the WIN API but does such a horrible job explaining it for beginners. He even goes to the extent of listing several portions of code and for his explanation on the code he says "This is out of the scope of the book." In addition, the way that he has structured the code in the book is so horrible and sloppy! It is completely obvious that he was trying to save paper instead of making the code readable. Don't be deceived into thinking that you will really know how to make your own simple games. Parberry doesn't really offer tips on game programming. He just does what is necessary to complete HIS little example game, nothing else.
Want a real book on programming games? Try Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus (2nd Edition) by Andre LaMothe.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great For Beginners, July 2 2002
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
I've read several complainant reviews about this book, and most of them make valid points. However when all is said and done this book is great for beginning 2D programming.
Many have pointed out that this book doesn't cover DirectX 8, and that is true, in fact it really covers DirectX 3. This doesn't really matter, as the aspects of DirectX have not changed much. In fact one of the only major differences between DirectDraw3 and DirectDraw7 is the RestoreAllSurfaces() function. The simple fact is you can upgrade to DirectDraw7 easily enough, and if you want to use 2D programming there is almost no reason to use Direct3D8 (often refered to as DirectX Graphics), as DirectDraw is perfectly satisfying for 2D programming.
On the plus side, this book covers a lot about the theory of game programming, and his methods are not at all bad.
I can say that his sound manager was not too profroundly great, and that DirectX 8 should have been used for that, and I would have prefered that DirectInput would have been used. But DirectInput is easy enough to learn from the tutorials included with the SDK, and the same is true for DirectMusic (which is fine for sound effects in a non-3D Sound environment and not just music). The author also used 256 color (using a palette) throughout the book (and only higher color depths in an appendix at the end), and he probably shouldn't have done that.
When it all comes down to it, this book is a good guide to game programming, and if your new there is now reason to even hesitate to buy it, unless of course you don't know the C++ language.
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1.0 out of 5 stars 8 years behind the times, completely useless., Feb. 23 2002
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
Nothing is more useless than an out of date computer book.
There is not one useful bit of information in this book. I would be embarrased to have my name on something this dated in the year 2002.
There are plenty of decent introductory computer programming books. Try OpenGL game programming - or any book with the name 'LaMothe' on it.
As a general rule of thumb, computer science professors from anywhere besides the best schools seem to be 4 - 10 years behind industry. This is why you shoule never ever buy a programming book by anyone whose title contains the letters PH.d.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book for beginners, Sept. 27 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Introduction to Computer Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 with CDROM (Paperback)
This book is great for begineers. I'm glad I bought it. One comment though, the sample codes could be formatted better(lines between codes,comments) to ease reading. Having them bunched together makes the code look messy. Other than that everything is well written.
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