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TANSTAAFL

Isometric Book Officially Happening

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So, last week i got the thumbs up from andre about writing a game programming book that specialized in isometric/hexagonal algorithms. I'm in final contract negotiations with the publisher, so i expect that in a week or two, i'll be signing the contract and starting the book. Anyway, i thought i'd throw this out to the forum, and see what sort of suggestions you all have as to what to include (i already have a pretty comprehensive table of contents, but you guys might think of something that i missed) the TOC, as it currently stands...
Section Zero:  Basics
	How to set up compiler, etc.
	WIN32 Programming Basics
		Overview of WIN32 program structure
		WinMain
		Window Classes
		Creating Windows
		Window Procs
			WM_*
	GDI Graphics Basics
		Overview of HDCs
		Graphics Primitives on HDCs
		Loading Bitmaps onto HDCs
		BitBlt
		Bitmasking and other transparent algorithms
		Double buffering with GDI
	DirectX Programming Basics
		Overview of Ddraw
		DD vs GDI
		The DirectDraw object
			Creating
			Coop Level
			Mode Setting
		The DirectDrawSurface object
			What is a surface
			Primary surface
			Backbuffer
			Off screen surfaces
	`		Pixel formats
			“Direct” Access
			Blting/colorfills	
			Color keys
		The DirectDrawClipper object
			Creating
			Setting the region
			Creating regions
			Using in a windowed DD app
		Fullscreen vs Windowed issues
			Primary surface
			Backbuffers
			Clippers				
	Game Logic/Finite State Machines
		Basic structure of a game
		FSMs and Game States
		The importance of design
Section One:  IsoHex fundamentals
	Tilebased Fundies(Rectangular)
		Overview
		Myths about tile based games
		Tilemap Basics
		Examples
			Memory
			Othello
	Iso and Hex Overview
		Overview(what is iso, what is hex)
		Iso/hex vs rectangular tiles
		Iso/hex vs rectangular maps
		Brief overview of the three types of iso map
			Slide
			Staggered
			Diamond
		Tile anchors, and their use
	Slide IsoMaps
		Overview
		Formulae and charts
		Examples
			“Zaxxon”
			“Skiing”
	Staggered Isomaps
		Overview
		Formulae and charts
		Example(s)
			TBA			
	Diagonal/Diamond IsoMaps
		Overview
		Formulae and charts
		Example-Isothello
Section Two: Isometric Rendering Techniques
	Layering/Z-Order
		Overview
		Basic layering
		Updating discreet regions
		Opacity Issues
			Dithering
			Alpha blending
	Height Mapping
		Overview
		Steps
		Slopes
		Advanced
			Using 3d to enhance height mapping
	Minimaps/map screens and the “Fog of War”
		Overview of minimaps
		Minimap techniques
		Overview of the Fog of War
		Fog of war techniques
	Tile Ripping, and other methods of getting iso tiles out of rectangular images.
		Overview of tile ripping/slanting
		Tile Ripping
		Tile slanting
Section Three:  Iso interactions and UI
	Object Selection/Movement
		Overview
		Basic object selection(by object extent)
		Pixel perfect object selection
		Movement/Collision detection
			Movement in isohex land
			Collision detection by bounding “Cubes”
		Obscured/partially obscured object selection
	Fine scrolling
		Overview/Terminology
			WorldSpace
			ScreenSpace
			Plotspace
		Conversion from WorldSpace to Screen Space and vice versa
		Screenspace anchoring
	Fringes/Tile transitions
		Overview
		Layering terrain types
		Coastline
		Examples
			Terrain transition map editors
			Coastline map editor
	Roads/Rivers, and other connecting structures
		Overview
		What you need(images)
		How to implement roads/rivers, etc
		Example
			Road/river map editor
			Forests/Mountain ranges map editor
Section Four: Bringing it all together
	(THIS PART NEEDS MORE FLESHING OUT)
	RTS and TBS AI
		Overview
		Pathfinding
			A* algorithm
		Teamwork
	Space war(a space strategy game in hex)
		Overview
		Design
		Implementation
	Gorilla Warfare(a territorial game in iso)
		Overview
		Design
		Implementation
Edited by - TANSTAAFL on 3/15/00 5:29:06 PM

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That sounds awesome. A book like that would be sweet. The only thing I would say is try not to make Section Zero too huge. While it is nice to have a reference there, I find it annoying when books that are supposed to be on a specific topic use half their pages on setting up DX. There are plenty of books that do that. Otherwise the list of subjects looks great and as you say, very comprehensive. The only bad thing is that I''m sad it is only now in the planning stage and will take a while for it to come out. Good luck and keep us updated.

bcj

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How about throwing in a chapter about how D3D can be utilized to do the rendering. D3D opens up a lot of new options for the eyecandy department, alphablend, texturemultiplication etc. It of course imposes some limitations as well, bitmap size must be power of 2 (Can''t think of any more, but there probably are ).

And I hope you''ll use DX7 or possibly DX8 for this book. It shouldn''t be too long before MS releases DX8 as beta, and your book would last a while longer it uses it.

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When will the book come out late 2000 early 2001 ???

Made sure to explain the soruce code in the book and include the Direct X SDK, and all the soruce from the book on the CD.

Also D3D would be nice

Does anyone anything about getting a X-Box Dev Kit???

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Although I have never written a book(I am only 14!), I know that it is really hard, and at times, even stressful. So I just wanted to wish you luck before you lock yourself in your basement for seven months. I hope you''ve stocked up on food .

But seriously, good luck. Let me know when you''re done. I''ll definately get a copy of it! Oh, and by the way, do you know what the price may be?(I know that''s really hard or even impossible to determine at this point, but, I was just asking). And(just curious), about how many pages do you expect to write?

"Remember, I'm the monkey, and you're the cheese grater. So no messing around."
-Grand Theft Auto, London

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Wish I had that book right now since I am currently in the processs of makeing my own iso engine. The table of contents looks good. I agree with one of the above posts..keep the content on the basics of Win programming to a minimum..just enough to be used as a refresher or whatnot.
As for the comment on using DX8, I don''t think he really needs to do that, 7 should be fine since 8 won''t be released for a few months yet and that would just delay the release of the book..get it to the shelves now damn it And from what I have heard, and I have not really looked into it, the biggest changes in DX8 are going to be an improved DirectSound and DirectPlay....those where the only 2 hyped parts in the article I read. But good luck Tans...it will be a NEED TO BUY on my list

Later
OME

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Well, one thought, I''ve never really had troubles doing map editors, but, it seems to me that you''re covering just about everything else on ISO games, why not cover that.

Good luck, I know I''ll buy it when it comes out!

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I think its a great idea. However, I personally hate when books cover the basics of programming/Win32 when they are supposed to be on other subjects. If anything, I would recommend that you cover modulization and code quality, and other things of such. This would not only help generalize your book and thus give it a more broad audience, but it would help with the growing problem of people writing crapy code. I hate crapy code!

Sorry if I rambled on.



Brent Robinson
"What if this is as good as it gets?"

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Wouldn''t it be a good idea to skip the basic gfx drawing and just leave it to his previous book (Windows Programming for Dummies (it''s called that I think)). I''ve already got that book, and buying this would be like buying it again, now with some tile programming.

============================
Daniel Netz, Sentinel Design
"I'm not stupid, I'm from Sweden" - Unknown

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