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RS_Hybrid

....Andre Lamonthe....

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-I''ve started to read his Tricks of the Windows game programming guru''s 2nd edition, now for some reason although i''ve seen some positive feedback on his book, i''m just wondering why people say that he doesn''t really teach you anything. Whenever i check out the MSDN, the stuff in the MSDN matches along with what he states in the book(except for the fact that Lamonthe makes his book more enjoyable). (Please don''t flame me i''m just stating an opinion and plus i''m a noob to game development) but is it his teaching style that you all don''t like or...is it something else? I prefer reading his stuff rather then read the boring MSDN which most of the time you have to dig through hundreds of different functions in there just to find what you need and for a noob, its hard to find exactly what works for you and Lamonthe seems to fix that problem (for me at least) by showing me what i need and what i don''t need. I''m not saying he''s the best but, is it really better to spend countless times digging in the MSDN just to learn the DX and Win32 API? after all you''re only learning the API, its not like you''re really programming, the API doesn''t teach you the algorithms that you need to draw a lines, polygons or other shapes using pixels, you gotta come up with formula''s to do such things and the API is only a tool and to make matters worse, the DX API is always upgrading no theory`

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I too enjoy Andrés books, and his style of writing. And also, having exchanged email''s with him a few times, over both topics in his books, and topics not covered, I can tell you that he definately knows what he''s talking about.

I think most people dislike him because of his way to write code in his books. They want a fully optimised, perfectly working code library from the book, so they can make a game by copy and paste, but they don''t want to learn anything.
Andrés code is extremely easy to read, and understand, it is not in any way optimised for used in a real game, and he usually states this somewhere in the book. His code is there as an example, to learn from. but to use it, you have to understand it, so you can write your own version.

This is my own personal view, nothing more.

The more I think, the more confussed I get.

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My opinion is the other way around.

I think André code is unclear, his variables sometimes have meaningless names (on top that most of them are globals) etc.

He uses absolutely useless optimizations such as global variables ("Because they are faster") and bitshifts instead of 2^n divisions... which, in realitty, do not make sense in any beginner's code, especially since some of the algorithm he uses are nowhere near decent and could have used much better optimization themselves.

Sure, his style is light and easy to read but, after the first jokes, you grow tired of him talking about his cars and how big of a dick he has...

He is also blamed of not using OOP but I can't hold it to him, he never said he did.

Note that all refers to the "Tricks" book with the 3D spaceship on it that uses almost only DirectDraw if my memory is good. heh.


[edited by - xMcBainx on August 8, 2003 12:45:14 PM]

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It depends for me. I normally find his books enjoyable to read. He knows what he is talking about, and proves it in his writing. however, I like to know just about everything there is to know on the subject, so I find that his books lack the simple explanations I like in the for Dummies book. But Windows Game programming for Dummies looks very good. I picked it up in a bookstore and looked through it, and it is my style.

Scott Simontis
If it wasn''t for C, we''d be using BASI, PASAL and OBOL

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The very first gurus book is what really got me into game programming. So I will always have a little place in my heart for lamothe. His books are straightforward and to the point. You can skim a chapter, see how to draw something to the screen, play a sound, or whatever. And I think thats what is important for beginners.

But that being said, his coding style is horrible IMO. It works for him with the type of games he writes, but I just think it would fall apart in anything more than a dig-dug clone. Like mentined above, global variables everywhere, pointless optimizations, and some very strange and flatout wrong things (I love how he includes friggin <iostream.h> in almost every file and never uses anything from it).

When someone asks me what they should do to get into game development, I usually say learn a language, get a lamothe book, write a game or two, throw the book out and buy design patterns and game architecture and design.

[edited by - ratman on August 8, 2003 1:29:25 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
There are a number of issues to deal with when talking about lamothes series of books.

The first thing you need to understand is that his books are a great first step at getting into game development, however if you own one you should not need to purchase another. Andre''s made a very bad habbit of rehashing information from his previous titles and integrating them into his newer books. A prime example of this would be the difference between Tricks of the windows game programming gurus and Game programming for dummies. Other than some minor fix''s and enhancements and the addition of a couple chapters it was virtually the same book. This is completely unacceptable people want the next step but all they recieve are steps 1-3 over and over.

Which leads me into the second problem. In Andres'' latest book Tricks of the windows game programming gurus 2 Andre focus''s on Software rendering. And lets face it people software rendering started to slowly die out after the voodoo 1 video card hit the market. Yes you can learn alot about 3d theory doing a software renderer, howevever once you introduce a 3d accelerated video card into the mix you now have to re-orient yourself to the way things work with this hardware. And believe me they are completely different. If you want to learn 3d theory I''ll point you at the books Real Time Rendering, Principals of Computer graphics. If you want to learn software rendering let me point you at the bible of software rendering, Michael Abrash''s The Black book it costs $20 on amazon so save yourself $30.

Andres'' also built up a boat load of pre-conceptions which are based on how the game industry used to think of things 5-10 years ago. Things such as "Don''t use inheritance" or "C++ is slow" and his quick optimization techniques are virtually useless if you don''t know where the bottle neck in your application is. Times have changed, C++ is now used in the majority of the game industry and if C is used it''s typically used with an Object Oriented approach.

In my opinion Andre''s completely lost touch with the Gaming industry. The proof is in the pudding, his newly released book is a re-hash of technology that was widely used durring the Quake 1 and Voodo 1 era, his console project is based on technology that was new over 10 years ago. Yes it is possible to learn some things from his books which is why I still reccomend Tricks of the windows game programming gurus 1 as the first book for any intrested game developer. However after finishing this book I often reccomend the following books in order to make the budding game developer into a better, more educated, and well rounded programmer:

C++ for game programmers.
Real Time Rendering (first or second edition)
Computer graphics Principals & practice.
Any book by Jim Blinn.
Design Patters (commonly refered to as the gang of 4 book)
Code Complete.
3d Game engine design.
Game programming gems 1 & 2 (3 sucks).

These are the books which contain the information needed for all those kids who want to make it in to game industry. Andres books are a first step if all you do is stay on the first step you never get any where.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
There are a number of issues to deal with when talking about lamothes series of books.

The first thing you need to understand is that his books are a great first step at getting into game development, however if you own one you should not need to purchase another. Andre''s made a very bad habbit of rehashing information from his previous titles and integrating them into his newer books. A prime example of this would be the difference between Tricks of the windows game programming gurus and Game programming for dummies. Other than some minor fix''s and enhancements and the addition of a couple chapters it was virtually the same book. This is completely unacceptable people want the next step but all they recieve are steps 1-3 over and over.

Which leads me into the second problem. In Andres'' latest book Tricks of the windows game programming gurus 2 Andre focus''s on Software rendering. And lets face it people software rendering started to slowly die out after the voodoo 1 video card hit the market. Yes you can learn alot about 3d theory doing a software renderer, howevever once you introduce a 3d accelerated video card into the mix you now have to re-orient yourself to the way things work with this hardware. And believe me they are completely different. If you want to learn 3d theory I''ll point you at the books Real Time Rendering, Principals of Computer graphics. If you want to learn software rendering let me point you at the bible of software rendering, Michael Abrash''s The Black book it costs $20 on amazon so save yourself $30.

Andres'' also built up a boat load of pre-conceptions which are based on how the game industry used to think of things 5-10 years ago. Things such as "Don''t use inheritance" or "C++ is slow" and his quick optimization techniques are virtually useless if you don''t know where the bottle neck in your application is. Times have changed, C++ is now used in the majority of the game industry and if C is used it''s typically used with an Object Oriented approach.

In my opinion Andre''s completely lost touch with the Gaming industry. The proof is in the pudding, his newly released book is a re-hash of technology that was widely used durring the Quake 1 and Voodo 1 era, his console project is based on technology that was new over 10 years ago. Yes it is possible to learn some things from his books which is why I still reccomend Tricks of the windows game programming gurus 1 as the first book for any intrested game developer. However after finishing this book I often reccomend the following books in order to make the budding game developer into a better, more educated, and well rounded programmer:

C++ for game programmers.
Real Time Rendering (first or second edition)
Computer graphics Principals & practice.
Any book by Jim Blinn.
Design Patters (commonly refered to as the gang of 4 book)
Code Complete.
3d Game engine design.
Game programming gems 1 & 2 (3 sucks).

These are the books which contain the information needed for all those kids who want to make it in to game industry. Andres books are a first step if all you do is stay on the first step you never get any where.



Excellent Argument!! I''m glad you''ve brough all those points up, because honestly i didn''t really know where to go but for some reason i thought that his book tricks 2nd edition wasn''t too bad. Now i understand things better and thanx for the recommendations! I''ll definately buy those books because I''ve started to build a tiny small code/game library (not that i have many books but i''m starting). I''d like to say thank you for clearing up the idea very well for me. Also I was wondering...i''ve often heard that using virtual functions is slow, although i am a noob whenever i''m building a basic game, do you think it''d hurt if i used virtual functions. I know how to use polymorphism but should i use that in my code as well? I did read from his books that he said "Don''t use multiple inheritance" but i mean since the C age is slowly dissappearing will i get any performance decrease in my games for having such things in there. I''ve been wondering exactly how do you learn to know when to optomize your code. As a noob, i don''t have those skills. Also I''d like to know, how do i learn about for instance function overheads...or loop overheads because i''ve been running through his book and also through this forum and i notice that sometimes people will speak about function calls. Whenever you keep calling a function or loop, it crushes the cpu...first what''s that all about, i do know the basics of c++ but the books that i''ve read don''t contain anything about function overheads, but i do know about the Stack and how function arguments are loaded on the stack and such...a clarification there would greatly help. Last but not least, what do you guys think about the MSDN. I mean, i''ve heard people say "Well i prefer learning from the MSDN then the books" honestly i find the MSDN to be cryptic, and confusing. Maybe its because i''m not familiar with it, but do you have any guidelines, or suggestions?

no theory`

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quote:
Original post by RS_Hybrid
Excellent Argument!! I''m glad you''ve brough all those points up, because honestly i didn''t really know where to go but for some reason i thought that his book tricks 2nd edition wasn''t too bad. Now i understand things better and thanx for the recommendations! I''ll definately buy those books because I''ve started to build a tiny small code/game library (not that i have many books but i''m starting). I''d like to say thank you for clearing up the idea very well for me. Also I was wondering...i''ve often heard that using virtual functions is slow, although i am a noob whenever i''m building a basic game, do you think it''d hurt if i used virtual functions. I know how to use polymorphism but should i use that in my code as well? I did read from his books that he said "Don''t use multiple inheritance" but i mean since the C age is slowly dissappearing will i get any performance decrease in my games for having such things in there. I''ve been wondering exactly how do you learn to know when to optomize your code. As a noob, i don''t have those skills. Also I''d like to know, how do i learn about for instance function overheads...or loop overheads because i''ve been running through his book and also through this forum and i notice that sometimes people will speak about function calls. Whenever you keep calling a function or loop, it crushes the cpu...first what''s that all about, i do know the basics of c++ but the books that i''ve read don''t contain anything about function overheads, but i do know about the Stack and how function arguments are loaded on the stack and such...a clarification there would greatly help. Last but not least, what do you guys think about the MSDN. I mean, i''ve heard people say "Well i prefer learning from the MSDN then the books" honestly i find the MSDN to be cryptic, and confusing. Maybe its because i''m not familiar with it, but do you have any guidelines, or suggestions?

no theory`


With all these questions you have I''d suggest you pick up C++ for game programmers as your next book. It contains all the information you require on virtual function overhead, examples on how to profile your applications, and other things such as a efficent memory manager for your games among other useful information. I''d explain it here but I honestly don''t have the time right now. So goto the store & take a look at the book.

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Umm interesting thread.

My first game programming book was Jim Adams Programming Role Playing Games with DirectX. It wasn’t the best choice to pick as a pure game novice because he didn’t explain the basic concepts very well leaving me feeling like a cut and paste programmer and I was soon forced to seek help from internet tutorials to supplement the knowledge in the book. After reading about half way thought the book, I was forced to leave town for a month for work.

When I returned I decided to restart my game programming endeavors by buying new book, hopefully one offering better cover of the basic concepts. I settled on LaMothes'' Tricks of the windows game programming gurus , second edition. And I feel that I picked the right book. He explains the basic concepts well and while I do become tired of his comments after a while, they do serve to keep the going light. And I would have no hesitation in advising anyone else wishing to learn game programming to buy the book.

However after saying that, I very quickly found myself rewriting his code into the C++ style of Jim Adams. But overall, I am happy that I took the time to buy the book.

Now that I am nearly finished laMothe book my thoughts are turning towards what book to buy next. I have the same questions as RS_Hybrid so I will make sure to take a look at C++ for game programmers before I make any decision.

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Tricks of the 3D Game Programming Gurus: Advanced 3D Graphics and Rasterization - was going to be the next book I was going to buy but now I''m not sure. What other book could i get to learn direct3d as i''ve been learning directdraw with game programming for dummies.

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