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NickGravelyn

3D Game Engine Design or Architecture? (book question)

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I'm looking to finally get some text on making a 3D game engine since that's something I've always been interested in. Trouble is there seems to be two books that are very close to each other. They are both by the same author and almost sound identical: 3D Game Engine Architecture and 3D Game Engine Design Now, assuming I don't just buy both of them, which do you all recommend for someone who's pretty good with 3D concepts looking to build a small 3D game engine? I've heard the architecture book recommended a lot around here and other sites, but not the other. Is there any big difference between the two. From the sounds of it, the design book seems like it would be more theory, ideas, and algorithms whereas the architecture book is more about actually implementing some or all of those things. If that's true, I think I'd rather start with the design book and see how I do implementing things myself. Then I could get the architecture book to help when I get stuck. So what are the general opinions of the two books? Thanks in advance.

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I have 3D Game Engine Design and Architecture from when it first came out. I think it was well written. I'm looking to get another book on the same topic, I like reading up on it and seeing how different people handle different, as HP makes you call it, issues.

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I don't have the Design book, as I faced the same decision as you when purchasing the architecture book. I've heard the Design book is more about the actual algorithms and code to perform various elements found in a 3D engine. On the other hand, the architecture book is about how it all fits together into an engine (probably the most difficult thing of creating an engine). Eberly models the design after his engine, Wild Magic.

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Amazon seems to give a pretty good discount when you buy both of Eberly's books together. That seems like a good deal to me.

I'd probably go for the architecture one first as that seems to have a higher-level concept, but a good 3D math book is invaluable. I've referred to the design book a few times to figure out quaternion stuff.

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3DGED-1st appeared in September 2000 and was motivated by, and written after, development of NetImmerse. The book was a lot about algorithms, but that is what it took to create NetImmerse. Also at that time, shader hardware was in its infancy (we were using 3DFX Voodoo 1/2/3 cards, Riva TNT 1/2), so the book says nothing about shader programming.

After seeing all the criticism of 3DGED-1st about its apparent overemphasis on mathematics and algorithms, I wrote 3DGEA (appeared in December 2004) to talk about how I architected a scene graph management system, focusing mainly on the management and not a lot on the rendering side of things. This book appeared to be what folks thought 3DGED-1st should have been.

3DGED-2nd appeared in December 2006. When I was asked to write a second edition, I wanted to expand 3DGED-1st to talk about shader programming and combine it with the material in 3DGEA. Book publishers are not interested in such massive books, because the price point is not much higher than that of a book of fewer pages. So I compromised and included *some* of the 3DGEA material in 3DGED-2nd, but only that material for which I actually have source code. I apologize for the overlap--an author simply cannot assume that prospective buyers will or will not own another of his books.

3DGED-2nd is nearly 1100 pages, whereas 3DGED-1st was 550, so the book doubled in size. The discussion about the geometric pipeline and about 3D graphics generally is a large chunk of the 2nd edition. And there is still a large portion of algorithms, both for graphics and physics. Although 3DGEA still sells quite well, my opinion is that 3DGED-2nd is sufficient to cover both the graphics/shaders, algorithms, and architecture of a scene graph management system. Please note the flaw in Amazon's presentation. Of the 58 reviews for 3DGED, the first 56 are about the *1st edition*. The last two, posted this year, are about the 2nd edition. One would hope that the reviews be partitioned for the separate editions...

I have some information about these books at my website, but unfortunately no sample chapter from 3DGED-2nd. Feel free to send email (to my geometrictools.com account) with questions. And keep in mind that there are good books available by other authors. Maybe your best bet is to find the books you are interested in at a library or borrow from a friend, look them over, and decide what suits your needs.

For what it is worth: There will be no 2nd edition of 3DGEA. There will be a second edition of "Game Physics" (in the planning stage at the moment). I doubt there will be a 3DGED-3rd, but given my experiences working on a commercial game (rather than on a commercial game engine), I suspect I will have a lot more to say that would fit into a book :)

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Thanks for pointing out the link. I guess my not being in the loop on their posting a sample is consistent with everything else that has happened at MKP over the last year. The computer graphics page at the MKP site still lists the Interactive Series, but in fact folks at Focal Press are now in charge of that series (which is consistent with the link being at a UK site). At any rate, this will make a good lead-in when I meet with one of the Focal editors at SIGGRAPH...

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