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Game Coding Complete Paperback – Jun 11 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 580 pages
  • Publisher: Paraglyph Press; 1 edition (June 11 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932111751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932111750
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 953 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,078,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Mike McShaffry, a.k.a. aMr. Mike,a started programming games as soon as he could tap a keyboard. After graduating from the University of Houston, he worked for Warren Spector and Richard Garriott, a.k.a. aLord British,a at Origin Systems on Martian Dreams, Ultima VII:The Black Gate, Ultima VIII: Pagan, Ultima IX: Ascension, and Ultima Online. Seven years later he formed his first company, Tornado Alley. Mike later accepted a position at Glass Eye Entertainment, working for his friend Monty Kerr, where he produced Microsoft Casino. Ten months later, Monty asked Mike and his newly assembled team to start their own company called Compulsive Development, which would work exclusively with Microsoft on casual casino and card games. Mike served as the Head of Studio, and together with the rest of the Compulsive folks, produced three more casual titles for Microsoft until August 2002. Compulsive was acquired by Glass Eye Entertainment to continue work on Glass Eyeas growing online casual games business. Mike was later recruited to start an Austin studio for Maryland-based Breakaway Games. Mike is currently self-employed, helping teams build a positive, creative and energetic environment so they can do what they do best - make great games.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Quite frankly, this book kept me going in game programming when I was about to give up in frustration.
I've bought many game programming books over the years, and two authors stand out... Mike McShaffry and Andre LaMothe. This book is incredibly valuable as a reference and as a guide. Quite honestly, I wonder who paid the guy who wrote the "Spotlight Review" to dis it so badly, or who he paid to get his opinion in the spotlight.
But here's a test you can take for yourself... go to [...] and see how Mike McShaffry is *still* helping folks who've read his book, (or anyone who post on the site for that matter). He's still giving *free* advice on his book's forum, when most other authors won't even respond to an email.
In response to those who objected to the author's "coding opinions":
Yes, the guy has an opinon - he's entitled to. What do you expect from a book? "well, this is probably wrong, and I don't really know what I'm talking about, but the publisher paid me a lot of money so I have to say something." Give me a freaking break! OF COURSE the book is full of opinions - that's what books are!
Just one caveat - it doesn't teach you C++. It assumes some experience, meaning you can take the coding advice and apply it to suit your own style. It does assume a basic level of professional ability in other words.
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Format: Paperback
I say Incomplete because there is still a lot that could have been covered in a book called Game Coding Complete. At the same time I would not have picked it up off of the shelf if it didn't have such a catchy title, and learn as much about Game Coding as I did reading this book. Even though I think the title is incomplete, I still learned a great deal and I frequently reread chapters to catch things I missed the first time round.
IMHO this book is geared toward those who want to make a professional career in making games, but have no idea how, while at the same time teaching concrete principles of game programming to those like me who are currently hobby coders. Many times had I tried and failed to start developing a game, but I am now building my game intelligently and efficiently, knowing exactly what I need to do to get things done. I have to say it is all because of this book.
This is also one of the few books that has managed to grip my attention for as long as it did because of the clever way that Mike writes. His writing style is such that it is easy to read because of its almost informal nature. The text thankfully lacks rigid structure, and welcomed breaks in the lessons of "how and why" are made up of "I remember the day" stories that are both amusing and filled with helpful hints on what NOT to do OR how the approached a problem and fixed it :) (Which is the point BTW)
The code in the book is sparse, and it initially bugged me, but I came to realize that it really is not about giving the reader chunks of code. This is not a step by step guide on how to make a game, but a collection of ideas on how to cleverly write and manage your game.
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Format: Paperback
Ideally, I would like to give this book a better rating because it is written by a professional. So many of the currently available books on game programming are written by high-school kids who have goofed with the DirectX samples and think they can write a game. Their "hey, dude!" language gets really annoying (yeah, I'm talking to you LaMothe) and the sheer ignorance of their programming style usually makes their books useless.
Unfortunately Mr. McShaffry fell into the same pitfall most other "here's THE right way to write code" authors fall into: he just has too many opinions and not enough facts. He touches on a lot of subjects which are programming religions, and there is no objective right or wrong for much of what he discusses. I feel some of the problem lies in the fact that McShaffry has worked on two types of games: the Ultima series and a playing card game. If you work on one codebase for years, you're going to think your solutions are perfect. As a person who has worked on numerous different types of games and engines I can tell you that there is no magic solution for writing the perfect engine. The engine is always very heavily tailored to the game desired. This is why you hear about the Quake engine, or some other third-party technology, being licensed and then gutted with major portions rewritten. So most of McShaffry's game-specific ideas need to be taken with a grain of salt. An example: smart pointers sure are safe, but if you're working on the PS2 you probably can't spare the memory or execution time for all that tracking.
I also disagree with his opening statements about variable and function naming. This is a constant headache for development teams, particularly game dev teams whose programmers are mostly self-taught.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this book suggests two things to me. The first is that it provides a complete guide to game coding. The second is that it fills the same role for game programming that the book Code Complete fills for programming in general, i.e. a journeyman's book that fills in the gaps left in introductory texts and broadens your knowledge to prepare you to move on to more advanced topics. Unfortunately by trying to do the former (which I don't think is possible in a single book), it falls a bit short on the latter, resulting in a (very) good book rather than the great book it could have been given the author's impressive background.
First, the bad.
It seems that the author never really decided what his audience is. Parts of the book (e.g. the introduction to 3D graphics) are written for total beginners, while others (such as the overview of game engines - all of which cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to license) are really only relevant to experienced professionals. The author/publisher really should have picked an audience and stuck with it.
Some readers will be annoyed by how platform-specific this book is, which really isn't apparent from the cover copy or even the other reviews. All of the code samples use DirectX, and there is a lot of space dedicated to Windows-specific information. Granted, Windows and DirectX are by far the most popular choices for PC-based game development, so this won't be an issue for most readers.
And now for the good.
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