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4.0 out of 5 stars Good But Watch HW Requirements
I got my copy of this book today. So far I've read through chapter 6 and have been very impressed. The introduction to 3D concepts is appropriately brief (I hate when an intermediate level book spends 3 chapters on matrices and vectors). I like how Snook ties the terrain into a realistic 3D engine (Gaia). Many authors sidestep this daunting task and just build on top of...
Published on July 21 2003 by Brian Popp

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2.0 out of 5 stars You need to enjoy digging through a lot of code...
Not an easy book to learn from, all the code from the first demo program on up use the (complicated) final engine to do their rendering, and you'll have to go spelunking through it to try and figure out what's going on. The emphasis of this book is on the whole game engine itself and you're locked into his way of doing it, you're never given smaller programs that teach...
Published on July 27 2003 by N. Davidson


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2.0 out of 5 stars You need to enjoy digging through a lot of code..., July 27 2003
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
Not an easy book to learn from, all the code from the first demo program on up use the (complicated) final engine to do their rendering, and you'll have to go spelunking through it to try and figure out what's going on. The emphasis of this book is on the whole game engine itself and you're locked into his way of doing it, you're never given smaller programs that teach you how to do specific topics, it's all or nothing.
The first third of the book barely touches on terrain, you'll get overviews of things like memory management, resource pools, High Level Shader Language, render queue's, and a dozen other topics. And if you already have your own systems for these things or don't like his systems, too bad, because they are interwoven in the code throughout the rest of the book and it's difficult to seperate it out.
Like the review above, I have to agree that the terrain looks a bit aged for such a new book, and it runs slow on my P4 2.4ghz with GeForceFX card. I've seen plenty of recent games that look much better and run smooth as silk on my setup. You'll need a very high end system for his techniques to run smoothly on.
It's hard to recommend this book when you'll find much better tutorial code on the internet that's more to the point and has better looking results than you will get in this book. It does bring many techniques all together, but not in an easily learnable format when it comes to actually programming it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Hope you like digging through his final engine code..., July 27 2003
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
Not an easy book to learn from, all the code from the first demo program on up use the (complicated) final engine to do their rendering, and you'll have to go spelunking through it to try and figure out what's going on. The emphasis of this book is on the whole game engine itself and you're locked into his way of doing it, you're never given smaller programs that teach you how to do specific topics, it's all or nothing.
The first third of the book barely touches on terrain, you'll get overviews of things like memory management, resource pools, High Level Shader Language, render queue's, and a dozen other topics. And if you already have your own systems for these things or don't like his systems, too bad, because they are interwoven in the code throughout the rest of the book and it's difficult to seperate it out.
Like the review above, I have to agree that the terrain looks a bit aged for such a new book, and it runs slow on my P4 2.4ghz with GeForceFX card. I've seen plenty of recent games that look much better and run smooth as silk on my setup. You'll need a very high end system for his techniques to run smoothly on.
It's hard to recommend this book when you'll find much better tutorial code on the internet that's more to the point and has better looking results than you will get in this book. It does bring many techniques all together, but not in an easily learnable format when it comes to actually programming it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good But Watch HW Requirements, July 21 2003
By 
Brian Popp (Southaven, MS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
I got my copy of this book today. So far I've read through chapter 6 and have been very impressed. The introduction to 3D concepts is appropriately brief (I hate when an intermediate level book spends 3 chapters on matrices and vectors). I like how Snook ties the terrain into a realistic 3D engine (Gaia). Many authors sidestep this daunting task and just build on top of generic, dysfunctional skeletons.
My only critique of the book so far is that it seems to only focus on shader enabled hardware. On my Geforce 2 TI, all of the demos run in software emulation mode (ouch). The first few demos run at .5 FPS. Nothing beyond that will even run. The book is very clear about this requirement from the start, but I still would have liked to see a progression from "antique" hardware like mine to the more advanced shader-friendly stuff. There's still a lot of 3D cards out there that aren't shader enabled so I am hesitant to make this a requirement for my current project (which is why I haven't upgraded my GF2).
This book has and will still be useful; it will just take some work discerning what is valid given my conservative requirements. ...
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2.0 out of 5 stars This is Some Bad Looking Terrain, July 21 2003
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This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
The picture on the cover of this book seems to be a screenshot of the culminating demo from the final chapter. That's the type of world you can expect to build with the code presented. It isn't pretty, it isn't efficient. My home computer is a slightly long in the tooth 1.2GHz machine with a Geforce 3. The final sample runs at about 10fps and shows really noticable draw in, all while managing to look really really bad.
The actual content of the book is passable, but there really isn't anything in here you can't find done better on-line. Most of the ideas presented are sound, though none revolutionary. I just really have to take everything presented with a grain of salt seeing how poor the end product is.
You could read the section on animating water, but then look at the water in the demo. Texture blending is covered, but the texturing in the demo is horrible. The terrain is randomly generated, the methods are described in the book, and once again the final result really fails to impress with overly bumpy, not in the least realistic feeling terrain.
The bottom line is that the author of this book produced the demos in this book using the methods presented. If the included demos are the best the author could do, you don't want to be using any of it as the basis for your work.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, many faults., Aug. 30 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (Germantown, MD United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
This is a tough book to recommend. If you need your hand held through detailed examples, this is not a good source at all, especially since the sample programs are (1) overly complex and platform-dependent and (2) slow and ugly. On the other hand, this DOES discuss texturing, quadtrees, a few CLOD algorithms, sky and water rendering, Perlin noise, and a few other things as they relate to terrain, and can be a useful source of ideas for the not-quite-novice. Yes, most of the information here can be found on the web, but that's true of practically any programming book.
By the way, a MAJOR annoyance here is the really rather astounding number of typos and basic usage errors ("discreet" vs. "discrete," etc) that somehow were not caught in editing. There seems be a trend to this effect in game programming books lately, but this one is really exceptionally error-ridden.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars waste of money, March 23 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
this book doesn't give you any background or theory on how to create a terrain engine. insted it only shows you code, code and more code!
The little theory presented here seems to be the one in DirectX SDK documentation and it only uses of D3DX functions...
Well... don't buy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book from an experienced programmer., May 22 2004
By 
David Neubelt (Winter Park, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
The book is exactly how the title describes it. It is developing a 3d terrain engine and if that is what you are looking to do then this is well worth the 30 bucks, in my opinion. The author is an experienced programmer and it shows through the code. The design of the engine is elegant and if you learn nothing else from the book you will at least walk away with a better understanding of engine design.
The book not only shows you the theory behind terrain programming but also resource management, scene management and integrating pixel and vertex shaders. This book seems to always be laying around open on my desk.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you're not a newbie 3D developer, this is THE DX9 book, Oct. 27 2003
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
Basically, I'm a professional OGL/D3D programmer and rather because I don't have days to devote to discerning the differences between DX8.x's PS/VS pipeline and the DX9 pipeline, I have found this book to be a great segway into porting to DX9. You don't need any previous DX experience to get a ton out of this book; however, I would recommend some 3D experience prior to indulging in its mysteries. The author writes very practically and well, and explains the problems and solutions to large scale terrain rendering clearly and informatively.
I can't recommend this book enough.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent terrain book, Sept. 10 2003
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
At first I was put off by the amount of code included with this book. But the more I look through it, the happier I am to have it. The book itself is a great introduction to terrain rendering and game engine construction. The code has a wealth of additional info on things like memory and resource management, random number generation, etc. You do have to enjoy reading code, but the rewards are worth it. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best terrain book available, Sept. 10 2003
By 
David Witken (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 (Paperback)
I picked up this book along with Trent Pollack's 'focus on 3D terrain programming'. Side-by-side, I'd advise anyone to pick up Snook's book. It has more information on terrain rendering and is well written. I'm still finding useful ideas in the sample code to use in my own shareware game. Of all the terrain books I've seen, this one is the best.
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Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9
Real-Time 3D Terrain Engines Using C++ and DirectX9 by Greg Snook (Paperback - June 30 2003)
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