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2.1 out of 5 stars
2.1 out of 5 stars
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on June 17, 2004
In the beginning, the title of this book attracted me a lot as a VB.NET programmer aiming to add some 3D content to my programs. The title seemed close enough to my ojective. I thought i could easily learn DirectX 9.0 from this book. Unfortunatly, this didn't happen.
First of all this book is missing the sense of attracting the reader to it, it gives examples and it goes through some steps and finally it tells you to copy the rest of the code from the companying CD. Also some examples have mistakes so they may not function well just by wrutung them. I got frustrated because of that, i had to copy and correct a lot using the cd which finally ended up with me by copying the whole project and understanding it on my own.
Probably the most usefull chapter is chapter 3, in which the author explains the basics of 3D gaming. However, This book doesn't deal with 3D anymore, most ( in fact 99%) are dealing with 2D games.
As an advice, if you are trying to find what i looked for, try another book as I am doing now. This book doesn't worth the money i spent on it. I am sorry to say so, but truth is truth
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on January 24, 2004
I've been buying books from Amazon for years now, and not once have I actually written a review about one. However, this book is so terrible that I felt compelled to send out a warning to all those considering this book.
The whole time I was reading it, the only thing I could think of was all of the naive programmers out there who might just be learning and not realize all of the bad practices this book is advising. Not to mention a complete misunderstanding of how Object Oriented Programming is to be used. According to Mr. Lobao, EVERYTHING derives from a game engine - a sprite, a tile, a font, etc...
I can't believe a book like this ever made it to press. I also find it laughable that the foreward is written by a Microsoft MVP whose focus is in ADO.NET, and the technical reviewer specializes in data warehousing and internet solutions. Um, since this is a book about GAME programming, shouldn't someone who actually knows a bit about GAME programming actually review the thing?
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on December 27, 2003
Like a few others who have posted here I was excited to see this book. How disappointed I was to find that the book was a complete mess. I feel for other budding game programmers like me who have struggled looking for the Draw( ) command referred to on pages 36 and 37. I kept searching through the previous pages, sure that I had missed something somewhere.
Turns out there is no Draw( ) command, never was. The correct command is Show( ). If I'm not mistaken the problem does not exist on the CD source code (available with the book), but for those who are typing it in from the book line by line (like me), you can stop looking now.
The mistake has been caught by APress and that plus other errata can be found here:
I realize now that lots of books have errata pages online, so I guess this is normal in the industry, but it seems obvious to me that nobody at APress actually sat down and tried to USE this book as a layman. I know this because if they had done so prior to going to print, they would have found and fixed this problem!
What is also funny is that Mr. Labao and Ms. Hatton also have apparently not used the book they wrote, either. Kinda scary that as computer scientists they published the book while forgetting the most BASIC concept of computer programming of any kind: TEST, TEST, TEST!!!!
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on November 24, 2003
I had been waiting for this book to come out for months. After multiple delays, it finally arrived. And, I am very disappointed. Clearly a lot has been removed from the book since its initial concept.
The "Game Programming" aspect of the book is just one Chapter. There are references to a mysterious Chapter 6 throughout the book, but Chapter 6 does not exist. My guess is that it was removed before publication.
This book is not even good if you are new to programming. There are several places that assume you have an understanding of C/C++. Novice programmers will be quite frustrated by this.
I originally bought this book as a gift for my young nephew who has not programmed in any language, hoping it was going to teach VB in the context of game programs. Unfortunately it fails to cover VB from a novice perspective, and there is only one chapter on games. Hardly worth putting Game Programming in the title.
My recommendation is to find another book. Unfortunately this one does not live up to its promises.
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on October 10, 2003
I can forgive the horrible editing, I suppose: sadly, I've gotten used to it, as it seems endemic to the computer book industry (and there are no errata on the publisher's web site). I could forgive the horrible misunderstanding of inheritance concepts in object-oriented programming (a sprite derives from a game field???). Mostly I could forgive these because the authors have a nice, clear style, and seem to understand fundamental game development principles that I am still learning, like collision detection. But when I was able to greatly enhance the performance of the example in chapter 3 because I already understood culling even though the authors don't, I became annoyed. And I just gave up when the example from chapter 4 ran at an unplayable speed: I just couldn't navigate the river in this game, the performance was so bad, and that was without moving enemies or the ability to shoot. Additionally, this example crashed both computers I tried it on twice. I won't even try to resell this as a used book: I'd be doing the buyer a disservice.
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on October 1, 2003
All I can say is that I picked this book up hoping it could guide me through some simple game programming. I ended up more confused by How to use the book than I ever would by the code. As someone who likes to step through working samples, it seems virtually impossible to do so using this book. I have had it for over a month and am still trying to decipher the first chapter!
Here's an idea of what I am talking about. You begin by programming a tetris clone. You start by coding the little objects (puzzle pieces) that will fall from the top, you get to a certain point and the author says to run the program to look at the object - only one problem - there is no "playing field" for the object to be displayed! You have to flip ahead several pages to find out how to program the playing field. The playing field probably should have come well BEFORE you'd ever program the object that is going to be placed onto it. At the very least it should come before you are asked to run the program. Once you find the playing field code in the book, there is a missing reference to another class that hasn't even been written yet, so your search begins again. etc, etc.
I have so many examples of this type of frustration. Just when you finish your "code hunt" for a missing function, there is another one that rears it's ugly head.
I am giving it 2 stars because they explain some gaming concepts I wasn't familiar with like Collision detection and Proximity Algorithms. But other than that it has been a headache.
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on May 31, 2003
I've gotten about halfway through this book in the past two weeks and I feel like I'm learning enough where I can start writing my own simple games once I'm done with it. I started from knowing pretty well (for business apps), but not knowing the first thing about DirectX or Game Programming. That said, the editing of the code samples in this book is atrocious. The code samples in the book almost never match those on the CD and you have to figure out "what they mean" most of the time, debugging stuff yourself. Another dumb thing is that whoever wrote the code doesn't know how to use arrays, and always Dims a 4 element array as MyArray(4) instead of (3). Lastly, they don't tell you to enable "key preview" on your forms, so if you didn't know to do that from reading it in another .Net book, the keyboard handler functions would never work for you. Bottom line is that this book can help you learn elementary game programming in, as long as you know the language reasonably well (decent VB6 would be enough), and you won't get too frustrated trying to reconcile the code in the book and on the CD. It's too bad: If they had gotten their act together, this could have been a 5 star book.
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on April 16, 2003
Alexandre Lobao and Ellen Hatton have done a great job with this book!! This is a great entry level book that will teach you the basics of game programming without requiring a degree in Math or Computer Science. This book is delightful to read, because it intersperses graphics programming techniques with discussions about good game play. The appendices also include some notable articles about game playing, game projects, and the "science" of making a good game. Some hard-core developers may be put off by the fact that the examples are in Visual Basic.NET, but I strongly advise against such a bias -- VB.NET code is just as efficient in execution as C#, and you would miss out on a GREAT opportunity to learn about game programming AND have fun. Lastly, I want to say that their writing style is very nice -- well thought out and not pretentious at all. Thank you, Alex and Ellen!
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on July 19, 2003
This is a pretty good book. It is very easy to read although the subjects discussed aren't really trivial. The book touches on a wide array of topics, ranging from GDI+ to DirectInput and DirectAudio, as well as DirectDraw.
However, the potential buyer should be aware that this is a very basic book. If you want to write the next Doom, this book will not teach you how to do that. In fact, considering that this book has "DirectX" in the title, it covers very little 3D programming. However, this book DOES teach the basics of game development and almost all aspects that go along with that, from simple graphics to controlling sound, and controllers such as force feedback joysticks. But as I said: Most of it is pretty basic. But if you have no experience with game development whatsoever, reading this book will be an excellent first step...
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on April 29, 2003
I should have waited until there was reviews on this book before I bought it. Im trying to get the hang of multiplayer game programming in a 3D environment and the introductional text to this book sounded very promising. When I got it the book I got very disappointed when I discoved that it almost only covered 2d programming and only had one chapter on 3d and that was very basic stuff. The topic multiplayer only covered peer2peer technology and almost nothing on client-server which is more interesting when programming multiplayer for more then 4 connected players.
For persons interested in 2d game programming i suppose this book could be of good value though.
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