on July 20, 2003
I have already exterminated in my reviews here Gems1 and Gems3; now I gotta say something about this one: it is, believe it or not, much better than those two. Although not entirely devoid of pretentious sermonizing about "patterns" etc., this book offers a highest content-to-bs ratio of all three in the series; the articles are actually interesting, stimulating, and useful. When I say "useful" I mean applicable even outside the games development. There's some sound in the book, a lot of interesting math-related things, AI, a few curious assembly tricks ("stack winding"), good bibliographies (the only part that's good in all books of the series) -- all stimulating and suitable for borrowing in many design contexts. This is the only book in the Games Gems series that is suitable for purchase blindly off the net.
One thing (ultimate nitpicking) that's still annoying about it is writing style, replete with failing diction and humourless -- for example, the authors thoroughly earnestly call their little essays "a gem", as "in this gem I'm going to cover this and that". Of course, a "gem" is not a technical term, it's a normal English word, and it either means a real gem, or a metaphor for something of extremely high value. And so it appears that the authors have an a-priori huge opinion about their work. Which, in addition to being inappropriate (judgement of this kind is better left to the reader), is not what they mean. They simply mean "this article". Speaka Englisha? Anyone? Editors? Hello-o.
OK, having thus satisfied my deep-seated hatred of self-satisfied geekdom with their attendant lack of feel for words, I end my review on a positive note -- it's a decent book.
on May 3, 2003
Game Programming Gems 2 is a collection of short articles detailing various aspects of computer game design. Personally, I found the first half of the book to be very helpful while the second half, on rendering and audio techniques, was too brief and lacked the depth to be of much use. However, the first half, covering general game programming technique and mathematics has proved very useful to me in my amateur game programming endavours.
Pick up this book if you are looking to add to your reference collection however, due to the nature of the articles and due to the price, you might find yourself heading to the library to pick up this book. In the end, a solid addition to a programming library.
I am an amateur game programmer, not a professional
In addition, many of the articles are not relevant only to games.
on August 8, 2001
I like this book a lot, though it isn't quite as good as the previous edition (partly because the first one was great)
This book didn't have any real networking tips, which in this day and age seems a bit odd. Hopefully there will be a gems 3 and that will include some net stuff.
It also had a few odd typos. Some of the gems were *very* short (1 or 2 pages), when it seemed like a slightly more detailed discussion would be nice.
Other than those small problems, I enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to any game programmers that want to pick up a few useful tips.