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Focus On 3D Models (Game Development) ****-

Focus On 3D Models (Game Development) By Evan Pipho
Published December 2002
List Price: $29.99, Your Amazon.com Price: $29.99

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 2,692,036
Availability: Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your credit card will not be charged until we ship the item.

Acts as a reference for novice to intermediate game programmers on the various formats of 3D models.

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This book covers the loading and handling of 3D models from the programmer's point of view (not the artist's, which may not be immediately obvious from the title). Like other Focus On books, it's short (checking in at just under 200 pages), but doesn't spend a lot of time on introductory material or subjects not related to the main topic.

The model formats covered by this book are Quake 2 (.md2), .obj, MilkShape, 3D Studio Max (.3ds), Half-life (.mdl), and Quake 3 (.md3). All of these formats are covered quite well, with sample code showing how to load, display and (when applicable) animate them. The exception is the Half-life format, for which he just uses the SDK, so there's no real information on the format itself. In addition to the specific formats, there are chapters on skeletal animation and useful tips on working with models.

My only real complaint is that about 1/4 of the book's pages are spent on covering vectors, matrices, quaternions, and STL vectors. Although knowledge of these topics is important for understanding the rest of the book, I'd suspect most readers will already be familiar with them. I would have preferred to have these chapters included on the CD instead, freeing up space for more useful information (detailed coverage of the Half-life format, perhaps?).

Overall, though, I was happy with the book. It's compact, inexpensive, an easy read, and it's nice to have the most common formats covered in one convenient volume. If you're looking for an introduction to using 3D models, or just want a physical reference for these formats to keep on your desk, I'd recommend it.
Explains several popular model formats very well. The Intro claims that are extra sample models on the CD. As far as I can tell, there are not. Also, the book's website has been MIA since I bout it a year ago.
Excellent book if you need information on model formats and how to animate/work-with skeletons & keyframes. I learned quite a bit from this, and am highly pleased with my purchase.