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I want to learn 3D fundamentals for using 3D engines

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Just like the title says, I'm looking for a book (or a good article / website / etc) that will teach me what I need to know to be proficient using a 3D engine of some sort.

 

I'll put the details in topics:

- I know C++

- I'm starting game programming, so this is where I'm "coming from"

- I use and want to develop for Windows PC

- Right know I'm reading "3D math primer for graphics and game development", which someone recommended (can't recall where I found this reccomendation, though. It was at stackoverflow.com.)

- the book should be language + API agnostic. It's not a problem if it's not agnostic, as long as the ideas are easily transposable to other APIs

- I want to learn what I need to USE graphic engines (like SFML, Irrlicht, etc), not to CODE graphic engines. I don't have the slightest interest in reinventing the wheel.

- Once I learn the fundamentals, I'll dive into learning a specific API on my own.

 

What book should I pick up? Is "3D math primer" enough?

 

 

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If your goal is really just to use graphics engines then I think you're doing more than you need to.  For example, I use Leadwerks.  Check out sample C++ code here which shows how to set up a scene, load a model and display it.  If you understand that then you can make 3D games with it.  Other engines are similar.

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Knowing how modern game engines are built will help you to understand how they are used as well. Game Coding Complete and Game Engine Architecture are really good for this, even if you just study the basics and get an idea of the common interfaces.

 

Other than that, just start using any engines that catch your attention and you will get a feel of how to use all of them. Those books will help you understand why the engine used the paradigms it did though.

Edited by makuto

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I guess it depends on how much 3D math you want to do yourself, and how much you want a library to do for you.  For example, the RTCD book (http://realtimecollisiondetection.net/books/rtcd/) is fantastic in explaining all the details in 3D collision detection.  However you don't really need to know all the details if you end up using something like bullet (http://bulletphysics.org/wordpress/) for your physics.

 

Similarly with graphics.  If you don't want to program OpenGL 3D graphics yourself, use a game engine like Unity and it will do the heavy lifting for you.

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