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Essential reference for any real-time 3D programming
on January 10, 2002
Finally, no more searching through all my college math textbooks for the reference I need for real-time 3D software development. The basics of vectors and matrices are of course included, but in much more depth than you got in school, more than likely - and with emphasis on how they are useful in 3D game programming. So many game developers lack an intuitive feel for such basics as transformation matrices, dot products, and cross products and are hobbled by this; just read up to chapter three and the lights will go on, so to speak. The chapter on lighting is particularly, well, enlightening - not only are the various lighting models explained in detail (including some I was unfamiliar with before), but the author provides means for accomplishing them in real-time using texture and vertex shaders.
The notation used in the book is modern and consistent, and the code samples clearly written. I believe this is the first volume to combine complete mathematical explanations of essential 3D computer graphics operations with practical advice on how to implement the sometimes complex math efficiently in real-time systems.
The chapters on picking and collision detection are also complete and include practical advice on implementation in addition to the theory behind it.
This is not a book for most high school math students - the author assumes you've at least been through some higher level math and can talk the basic language of mathematics. However, it does not presuppose that you are familiar with anything but basic calculus, and more importantly, it doesn't assume that you're familiar with some quirky notational system specific to the author. I haven't been in a math class for ten years, but I had no trouble understanding any concepts introduced in this book upon the first read.
I don't forsee this volume leaving my desk anytime soon!