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5.0 out of 5 stars The Guide
Before you buy any "I want to be the next John Carmark/John Romero/Sid Meyer/Roberta Willians/Rick Goodman/Big Game Guru" book please check this book. Clever and deep reading removes many spots from "conceptual idea" to "ready to market game"
Definetely recommended.
Published on March 18 2002 by jorge h f faria

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Worst
This is seriously the worst book I own, I'm not saying that this book is bad, I've just seen better. I don't mind owning it, but if I would have had more time to glance it over in the book store, i definetly wouldn't have paid what i did for it, ... If your looking for a learning book, than this isnt for you, if your looking to learn a thing or two, and i really mean a...
Published on May 31 2002 by Nick Brabant


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4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful., Dec 8 2003
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
I've found this book to be very useful in game programming. The variety of articles an concepts covered is very vast. In fact, that is probably the cause for its only (in my opinion) shortcomming - that many of the articles aren't long or complete enough. An excellent book if you're looking for an introduction to many different concepts.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT buy this book without actually reading a chapter or, July 18 2003
By 
John Doe (Bloomsbery, MO, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
two -- very carefully -- in a bookstore. I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. You will be tempted to buy it at first because the book is well made -- it's cute to look at, printed on acid-free, thick paper, font selection is very good, pleasing and clear. Don't fall for these mechanical attractions! Evaluate the contents.
It's truly not a book; it's more of a collection of perfunctory commentary to some source code on the disk (of unknown quality and/or usefulness.) The writing is mostly abhorrent (with the exception of the sections written by LaMothe and another guy whose name escapes me at the moment; Lamothe is good and can write, not only program); a lot of stuff is simply not explicated, the selection of the actually printed code is haphazard and unhelpful vis-a-vis the text. Since the quality and usefulness of the stuff on the disk is anyone's guess as well (and based on the text, it's nothing awesome), I don't think this book deserves the acclaim that it seems to get.
Several chapters are wasted on annoying bs about hungarian notation, development process (a la Code Complete), absolute banalities about using STL (very superficial, w/o any linkup with games programming -- just buy an STL book if you need to learn it, you won't get anything out of the Gems book itself.) There's a section on templates where the writers seemed more concerned with hugely impressing the reader with the supposedly latest-and-greatest template tricks than offering something useful (look for matrix classes -- they propose the stuff as some kind of generic mechanism (thus, templates), yet what they do will be totally useless for more than 3x3 matrices, and those can be simply coded manually if you need this kind of optimization, which is inlining and unrolling, really -- and keep in mind that it's only small loops that can be gainfully unrolled coz if it doesn't fit in the cache... you know where I'm getting to... moreover, with branch prediction, normal loops may perform better than when unrolled; at any rate, a regular, less-fashionable approach could result in simpler code; but they gotta show off their templatizing skill, wow, I'm impressed, another piece of pompous nonsense suitable for the C++ Report... too bad it's useless practically for 4-and-above dimensional matrices. Generality that doesn't apply generally... an overdesigned particular case, that's what it is.)
Most other chapters are written in a very typical halting, disjointed, and ungrammatical geeky-speak, and I don't mean terminology or technicalities, I mean an irritating inability of most contributors to organize and articulate their thoughts. Like I've already mentioned, it's printed on thick paper, if printed on normal paper, it'd be half the size. The binding is not good, my copy has already fallen apart, and it's not that I use it all the time.
The only potentially fruitful side of this book is bibiography; iow, you can use it as an catalogue of diverse methods used in programming, and when you're interested in something, follow the bibliography in order to really learn about the topic. The bibliography is fairly extensive, obviously recent; includes many web-sites with papers, etc. So that's good of course.
Overall though, the book is mediocre and too expensive for what it is. I would't buy it for more than $. 'course I've already bought it for more, but you don't have to. My opinion is, it's a clear thumbs down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars May find something useful in it, March 11 2003
By 
Nathan Donaldson (Muskogee, OK United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
I am for the most part a 2D DirectDraw programmer with some experience in DirectSound and DirectMusic. I only use these APIs and only with Visual C++ 6.0 Standard in Windows XP. So, I cannot sit here and write a lengthy review about how cool I think all the aspects of this book are when I wouldn't use most of the information covered in the book with my own 2D graphics engines. However, there was still a few VERY good articles in this book that can be used by either 2D or 3D programmers, so I'll talk about those because I know them and have used them.
The first really good chapter I found is 1.9 "Frame Based Memory Allocation" by Steven Ranck. Teaches you a trick on how to completely eliminate memory fragmentation in your games and speed up memory allocation during run-time, by never using memory allocation in run time. Instead, allocating memory at load time and using that allocation throughout various parts of the program until the program exits. Pretty cool and fast.
But I cannot skip the fact that all the articles in the first section can be used in any type of game (2D/3D) but I haven't gotten as much use out of them yet. There are 14 chapters in the first section total.
Once you get into the section on mathematics, you had better be a math wiz or at least proficiant.... Chapters like "Polynormal Approximations to Trigonomic Functions" means nothing to a 2D programmer like myself. Same goes for the chapter, "Matrix-Quaternion Conversions".
Section 3 goes into AI programming. The only chapters I have really read thoroughly is 3.1, "A finite-state machine class" by Eric Dysband, and 3.3, "Basics of A* For Pathfinding" by Bryan Stout. I found this chapter very useful and the book CD-ROM comes with pathfinding examples written by Bryan that demonstrate what he is talking about. Really useful to me!
Section 4 is completely useless to me because it's all about 3D programming. In fact the section is titled "Polygonal Techniques" and contains 19 chapters.
Section 5 is titled Pixel Effects and I really haven't gotten much out of this section unfortunately.
So as you can see, no matter what kind of programmer you are, you can probably get at least one really good tip out of this book. I didn't list all the useful chapters in the book, just the ones that were useful to me. When you read through it, you are likely to find different ones that are just as useful to you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic "a la carte" tool kit, March 10 2003
By 
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
Written by a lot of the top professionals in the industry, each section in this book is like sitting in on a roundtable session at the Game Developers Conference. The contributors here are not giving you just theory that you can think about... they are providing TOOLS that they use in a manner that makes it easy for YOU to use in YOUR code.
The only drawback is that there is so much covered in so many different disciplines. You are buying the graphics and networking sections even if you aren't doing graphics and networking. The only way around this would have been to split the books by area... such as Charles River Media did with the "AI Wisdom" book. However, if you cover a lot of areas in your game programming, this book will touch on all of them!
I am personally using the "State Machine Language" by Steve Rabin (Nintendo of America), the gem on implementing a simple singleton class, and will be doing a variant on Steve Woodcock's "flocking" gem. Could I have done these myself? Possibly. However, by using the code on the CD and dropping it into my game project, I have recouped the purchase price of the book at least 1000:1! That's not a bad ROI.
If you are a game programmer, the book will be of value to you. Should you but it? Ask yourself how much YOUR time is worth... if you can save yourself hundreds of hours for ~70 bucks why even hesitate?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shiny gems for all levels of game programmers, Oct. 24 2002
By 
Jacob Marner (Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
This book is a collection of articles with game programming as the common theme. It does not cover game design so don't get disappointed about this. The articles cover many of the subjects concerned in game programming and are divided into the following categories: General Programming, math, AI, Geometry and Pixel Effects.
Some articles are introductory articles in their field and some are true gems that actually give information that cannot be found anywhere else. The introductory articles are good for those who don't know a field and allows an easy way to learn about it - one that gave me real new insight is Pete Isensee's introductory article about metaprogramming. Of course, if you already are an expert in the discussed field then the article will not bring anything new.
The articles are of highly varying quality. Some are excellently written and some not worth the paper they are written on - but all in all this book is a must-have for any game programmer.
The articles are also targeted and different reader groups. Some are pretty and easy to understand while others require advanced college math and physics to follow. To beauty of this is that beginners can grow with the book and understand more and more of it as they learn more - while getting an idea of what the field of game programming has to offer.
This book cannot be recommended as a book for beginning programmers or people new to game programming. They should read other books first. However, for the serious game programmer it can be highly recommended.
If the book only contained its good articles I would have given it 5 stars, but as it stands now it can only get 4.
Jacob Marner, M.Sc.
Console Programmer, R&D
Deadline Games
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Worst, May 31 2002
By 
Nick Brabant (Jacksonville, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
This is seriously the worst book I own, I'm not saying that this book is bad, I've just seen better. I don't mind owning it, but if I would have had more time to glance it over in the book store, i definetly wouldn't have paid what i did for it, ... If your looking for a learning book, than this isnt for you, if your looking to learn a thing or two, and i really mean a thing or 2(since thats about all you'll learn), then go ahead and blow your hard earned money on it. ... this book could have been better. Imagine if you gathered a few online articles on different subjects, printed em', slapped a hardcover on it, and titled it 'Game Programming Gems', you would essentially have this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Guide, March 18 2002
By 
jorge h f faria (Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
Before you buy any "I want to be the next John Carmark/John Romero/Sid Meyer/Roberta Willians/Rick Goodman/Big Game Guru" book please check this book. Clever and deep reading removes many spots from "conceptual idea" to "ready to market game"
Definetely recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Games, Dec 19 2001
By 
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
My cohorts and I develop real time control software for embedded applications running on microcomputers with minimal resources. It turns out that many of the "gems" in this book are directly usable. As a team building exercise and to increase our software savvy, we take turns presenting mini-seminars on software topics. This book provides many such topics. Recommended, and it's fun.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of useful little ideas, July 2 2001
By 
David J. Parrott "Valthon" (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
The gems in this book cover a good variety of topics with a spread from beginner to advanced complexity. While you won't use them all at the same time and you may already know some of gems, the book is a valuable addition to any game programmer's library for both reference and the occasional new idea.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well Organized, but stale, June 29 2001
This review is from: Game Programming Gems (Hardcover)
I thought it was well organized, but most of the articles/topics can be found on the internet.
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Game Programming Gems
Game Programming Gems by Mark DeLoura (Hardcover - Aug. 1 2000)
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