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Game Programming Gems 4 (Game Programming Gems (W/CD)) (v. 4) ****-

Game Programming Gems 4 (Game Programming Gems (W/CD)) (v. 4) By Andrew Kirmse
Published March 2004
List Price: $69.95, Your Amazon.com Price: $55.97

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 514,752
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With over 60 all new techniques, Game Programming Gems 4 continues to be the definitive resource for developers. Written by expert game developers who make today's amazing games, these articles not only provide quick solutions to cutting-edge problems, but they provide insights that you'll return to again and again. They'll spark your creativity and inspire your own discoveries.

For the past few years, the game industry has been on an incredible journey of exploration and innovation. In conjunction with this journey, the scope of the Game Programming Gems series has broadened as well. With the variety of new platforms available, coverage has been expanded to include alternative languages and third party APIs. Most code is written in C++, but some interpreted languages (Java and Python) are also represented. The graphics articles make use of OpenGL, DirectX, and the various available shader languages. Volume 4 also includes an all new physics section that teaches innovative techniques for implementing real-time physics that will help you create emergent gameplay. To make searching between all four volumes of the series easy and efficient, we have added a cumulative index.

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May 20 2004 09:43 AM
The latest in this series of highly successful books delivers 60 new articles covering diverse game development topics. Once again, the articles are written by an impressive group of people that collectively represent a substantial amount of game industry experience. The writing style and editing is very good, as usual, with a professional but casual tone, making the articles easy to read.

Although all of the topics are relevant to game development, because they are typically very narrow in scope, your mileage will vary depending on what exactly you’re working on. This is true for the entire series. It’s likely that you won’t be reading the book cover to cover, but rather a handful of chapters here and there as you need them. This fourth volume is particularly useful in that respect because it includes a comprehensive index of the first 4 volumes

Another noteworthy change is the addition of a physics section. Given how important physics has become in game development, this is a welcome addition. It’s also interesting to see a couple of chapters that use Python and Java (though only one for each) for the sample code, rather than the C++ used for most of the chapters. DirectX is used for much of the sample code, with OpenGL being used in a few of the graphics chapters.

This volume does have a few shortcomings, which again are typical for the series. Due to the length of the articles (about 5 to 15 pages each), some of them were a bit too short to cover the topic with sufficient depth. This is pretty subjective, since many people may be satisfied with a more high-level explanation, but it seems to me that the series would be better served with a smaller number of slightly longer articles that go into greater depth.

I also think that the price of the book is rather high. True, it’s hardbound, but similar books have been published (notably, GPU Gems, which is hardbound, the same length, and printed in full-color) with notably lower prices. Since the book covers such a broad range of topic areas - only a handful of which will be of interest to you - the value of this book is diminished somewhat.

Despite the price, this book is still an important part of any complete game programming library. If you have the previous volumes, you’ll want to pick it up for the index if nothing else.
Jul 29 2004 10:08 PM
This is a really good book, the articles are great again. But the price is too high for only a collection of articles. There are only a handful color plates (GPU Gems has the whole book with colored plates!) and not every chapter has its own example program.