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cyssis

Possible Gaming Book List

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Hey all. I''ve spent some time on Amazon and some other book sites, and have dug up a sort of game programming book list. I have about 300 bucks to blow on books/learning resources, and I''d rather not pick the wrong ones. If anybody has read the following I''d appreciate your input. Plus if anyone has an addition that might be of interest please throw it in. I''m looking to start from the ground up (C coding -> DirectX/OpenGL -> AI coding -> textures -> game interface/theory -> 3d effects -> -> game physics -> Multiplayer -> 3d/character modelling, etc..), but I have a good basis in general programming (VB6, Java, java-script, Perl). Anyway, here''s the list: Programming Role-Playing Games with DirectX (With CD-ROM) **** http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931841098/qid=1023089822/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/104-8582065-6090325 by Jim Adams 974 pages $59.99 Special Effects Game Programming with DirectX 8.0 (With CD-ROM) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931841063/ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/104-8582065-6090325 by Mason McCuskey, Andre LaMothe (Editor) 800 pages $59.99 The Zen of Direct 3D Game Programming http://www.bookpool.com/.x/3dp5s61l4n/sm/0761534296 by Peter Walsh 863 pages $36.50 Modeling a Character in 3DS Max http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1556228155/qid%3D1023091598/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/104-8582065-6090325 by Paul Steed 350 pages $59.95 Physics for Game Developers http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596000065/ref=pd_sim_books/104-8582065-6090325 by David M. Bourg 336 pages $27.97 MultiPlayer Game Programming http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0761532986/qid%3D1023091245/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/104-8582065-6090325 by Todd Barron, Andre Lamothe 850 pages $59.99 Real Time Rendering Tricks and Techniques in DirectX http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931841276/qid%3D1023121516/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/104-8582065-6090325 by Kelly Dempski 821 pages $59.99 Absolute Beginner''s Guide to C (2nd Edition) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0672305100/ref=ase_gamedev/104-8582065-6090325 by Greg M. Perry 432 pages $15.40 Efficient C++: Performance Programming Techniques http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201379503/ref=ase_gamedev/104-8582065-6090325 by Dov Bulka, David Mayhew 309 pages $37.99 Digital Texturing & Painting http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0735709181/ref=ase_ultimate3dlinksA/104-8582065-6090325 by Owen Demers, Christine Urszenyi (Editor), George Maestri (Editor) 352 pages $38.50 Photoshop 6 Bible : Gold Edition http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764535978/qid=1023209840/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_5/104-8582065-6090325 by Deke McClelland, Amy Thomas Buscaglia, Mark Hamburg 1227 pages $45.49

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Well, have you any programming experience? If not, you really need to emphasize on it. That can’t be stressed enough! It’s your basic tool. And in that concern, go for C++. Some of the best C++ books for beginners are:

C++ Primer: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201824701/qid=1023355856/sr=8-3/ref=sr_8_3/103-5282627-8271038

OR C++ How To Program:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0130895717/qid=1023355913/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-5282627-8271038

Or if you have experience programming in another language you might want to get Accelerated C++:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/020170353X/qid%3D1023355940/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F0%5F1/103-5282627-8271038

Probably the best book in the whole wide world on C++ is the one from the creator’s hands (but it’s hard to learn from if you’re new to the whole programming paradigm):

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201700735/qid=1023356005/sr=2-2/ref=sr_2_2/103-5282627-8271038

Now, after you’ve churned through one of these C++ books, you can turn you attention towards DirectX or OpenGL and you might want to look into one of the following (thought at the time you’ve learned to master C++ there might be some new books out!!):

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931841098/qid=1023356107/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-5282627-8271038

for DirectX and, for OpenGL I can recommend:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1571691642/qid=1023356159/sr=2-3/ref=sr_2_3/103-5282627-8271038

But really, start by putting your effort into C++.


A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.

[edited by - rohde on June 6, 2002 5:47:14 AM]

[edited by - rohde on June 6, 2002 5:47:56 AM]

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Check out bookpool.com before you buy on amazon.com. You can find many of those books for around 20 to 40 percent off. And with those kinds of savings you should be able to buy an additional 3 books with the money your willing to spend

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I think there is too many books on your list focused on APIs. You should focus rather on the underlying theories and tools. In general, books that have title like this:

< theory topic > programming with < API or technology >

is bad and should be avoided. They try to teach many things but extremely often fail at both. They are, in essence, what I consider books for loosers.

If you insist on learning DirectX from a book only buy a single one. The rest should be theory only books.

Also, you have a lot of artist books on your list. That is not about game programming. Don't buy those, if you want to focus on game programming - we can't learn it all.

Here is the books I would recommend (instead of those you suggest). I assume you have basic programming experience:

Programming:
- Kernighan and Ritchie: The C Programming Language
- Lippman: C++ Primer
- Stroustrup: The C++ Programming language
- (More) Effective C++
- Gamma: Design patterns

Graphics:
- Heines: Real-time Rendering
- Foley: Computer Graphics - Principles and practice
- Woo: OpenGL Programmer's Guide (Red book)

Games:
- Game Programming Gems 1+2
- Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus (I haven't read this but it is highly praised by many)

AI:
- Russell and Norvig: Artificial Intelligence - A modern Approach.

Algorithms/scripting/compilers:
- Cormen: Introduction to Algorithms
- Aho: Compilers - Principles, Techniques and Tools

Basic Math:
- Garnier: Discrete Mathematics for New Technology
(the other books you mention in math might also be good but I don't know them)

And then we don't even cover subjects such as networks, assembler programming (and computer architecture) and the more advanced algorithms.

BTW, to put some weight in my statement. I am pro game developer and have M.Sc. in CompSci and am specialized in GameDev. If you read the above books you will be among the cool game programmers out there.

[edited by - felonius on June 6, 2002 7:06:04 AM]

[edited by - felonius on June 6, 2002 7:07:36 AM]

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Great! Thanks for all the input everybody.

Rhode: Yeah. I have a good background in programming and programming theory, but just not in c/c++. I was thinking about taking some time this summer and taking a c class, but I personally don''t like the style in which most programming classes teach. I''d rather just learn it myself.

Felonius: Thank you. I wasn''t sure whether or not these kind of books were just hype or actually helped. I read the reader reviews on all of ''em, but they weren''t too helpful. Thanks for putting some light on the subject.

Once I get and read some of these I''ll try and post some reviews in Books & Software. Oh BTW felonius, since you''ve been down this path and figured out what it takes, can you suggest a good path in which to learn game development (with an end result of 3d/isometric real time programming). Oh, and another thing, how do employers in the insdustry weight degrees from places like DigiPen and FullSail? I''m looking into DigiPen up here in Redmond, but I don''t want to spend that much money if it''s not worth it. Thanks.

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quote:
Original post by cyssis
Felonius: Thank you. I wasn''t sure whether or not these kind of books were just hype or actually helped.



I am not sure exactly what books you refer to, but I can assure you that the books I suggest are not hype but really useful. I can''t make garantees for the book about Tricks for the Windows Game Programming gurus since I haven''t read.

Note that the books I mention is just what I consider the best among the essentials. If you want to strip down the list remove the Effective C++ and Design Patterns books. They are good but not vitally essential.

Concerning amazon, Amazon has some small guides next to some books. Look at this:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/guides/guide-display/-/1R0M2S83ZMUGF/103-2914553-7242201

Curiously enough I and that author suggests many of the same books.

A few notes: There is a book about called Efficient C++ that you mention above, this is *not* the same as the book Effective C++ by Scott Meyers which is the classic. Do not confuse those two.

I also hear good things about Accelerated C++ (also recommended by rohde above) but I haven''t read it (yet).

quote:

Oh BTW felonius, since you''ve been down this path and figured out what it takes, can you suggest a good path in which to learn game development (with an end result of 3d/isometric real time programming).



What exactly do you mean by path?

quote:

Oh, and another thing, how do employers in the insdustry weight degrees from places like DigiPen and FullSail? I''m looking into DigiPen up here in Redmond, but I don''t want to spend that much money if it''s not worth it.



I don''t know. We don''t have any people from either of those places and the industry seem no to agree on whether they can do anything. But I wouldn''t risk my money on it. But don''t take my word for it - it is better to ask some people that has been educated there - try asking at the IGDA forums (www.igda.org). As mentioned many times in this forum the de facto education of a game programmer is to get a degree in tradional computer science and then learn all you can about games while you are at it.

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BTW, here is some tips that can help you identify quality vs. crap books (it is almost always true - exceptions do exist.)

Tip 1.
If the book contains a disk or a CD then it almost certainly crap.

Tip 2.
If the book contains code listings longer than 1 - 2 pages max. it is almost certainly crap.

Tip 3.
Look at the publisher. Each publisher decides what books to publish and high ranking publishers therefore get the books of the highest quality. Here is a little list I have compiled:

Good publishers: IEEE, ACM, Springer-Verlag, Addison-Wesley, Prentice Hall, Morgan Kaufmann, MIT Press, Academic Press.
Average publishers (some good some bad books): Microsoft Press, O''Reilly, Premier Pr., Charless River Media.
Bad Publishers: SAMS, M&T, Sybex (this one is very bad), AP Professional, IDG, Wordware.

I hope this helps you. Feel free to ask more.

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quote:
Original post by felonius
Good publishers: IEEE, ACM, Springer-Verlag, Addison-Wesley, Prentice Hall, Morgan Kaufmann, MIT Press, Academic Press.
Average publishers (some good some bad books): Microsoft Press, O''Reilly, Premier Pr., Charless River Media.
Bad Publishers: SAMS, M&T, Sybex (this one is very bad), AP Professional, IDG, Wordware.



That''s SO true. Stay the hell away from Sybex!!!

*************

A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.

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I looked a little into Digipen, Fullsail and Gameintitute just for interests sake. I know my conclusions is not exact since I haven''t attented the schools, but by going through their course plans and looking at what you learn here is what I conclude (If I was the one to decide who to hire this is what I would say):

Digipen: Seems very good for game programmers assuming that you take the 4-year RTIS Bachelor of Science program. That seems to be good and covers many important subjects that people otherwise would have missed. Thumbs up.

Fullsail: This looks populistic and doesn''t go to proper depth. Does not give a recognized academic degree. Thumbs down.

Gameinstitute: This is also quite populistic and only covers a narrow set of topics. Does not give a recognized academic degree. Thumbs down.

If anybody here attends on of these schools please don''t flame me. Think of me as the ignorant employer considering whether you are any good when you get out. And remember, formal education is not everything - having something to show of is also important.

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quote:
Original post by felonius

Tip 1.
If the book contains a disk or a CD then it almost certainly crap.

Tip 2.
If the book contains code listings longer than 1 - 2 pages max. it is almost certainly crap.



Tip 1: I don''t agree with at all. Many good programming books come with CDs. This allows you to view source code, try out demos, etc.

Tip 2: This is sometimes true, but there are great books with long code listings, Programming Windows has some pretty long ones yet it is an excellent book.

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