Windows Game Programming with Visual Basic and DirectX (With CD-ROM)
||Author: Wayne S. Freeze|
List Price: $39.99
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
Publisher: Que (15 December, 2001)
Sales Rank: 122,700
Average Customer Rating: 3.4 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 3 out of 5
Explanation is not so good
I expected a thorough explanation of DirectX when I bought this book. I want to know what CLIPPER is, why we have to use it...etc. There's so much cryptic terms to learn in DirectX - DDSCAPS_OFFSCREENPLAIN, DDSCAPS_PRIMARYSURFACE, DDSCL_ALLOWMODEX, BltFast, Blt just to name a few. The book does explain how to set up DirectX so that we can use Direct3D etc, but it does a poor job on explaining them succinctly, instead it spends too much time on third-party graphics tools. The explanation on the 3D coordinate space, vertex, points etc is very short.
The explanation on the logic of the game is very boring, to be objective, it doesn't help me much. Overall, I'm disappointed.
Rating: 5 out of 5
worth its weight in gold
In the context of showing you how to make a simulation game, this book shows you how to load meshes from outside sources like 3dsmax. What's more it's done simply and clearly explained. It also shows how to make your game scriptable and is a very good example of how to make your code object orientated. Every thing talked about in the book while shown in the use of a simulation game would apply to any other type of game with a little creative thinking. This book is a must, the price seals the deal.
However, it's not without its faults. One thing to remember though is that you will need to refer to the cd, because the author cut the size of the book by only showing the relevant portions of the code to the topic in the book not the whole picture. However since the code makes use of a debug log you can't run the code from off a cd. You need to copy it to a space on your hard drive first and then open it in vb and run it. Lastly the modeling package featured in the book seems to be another me too product.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Good, but better with add-ons.
Wayne S. Freeze, Windows Game Programming with Visual Basic and DirectX (Que, 2002)
First and foremost, a warning. Freeze's book, despite its publication date, deals exclusively in Visual Basic 6. If you're using VB.NET, a lot of this stuff is going to cause you to wonder what on earth Freeze is on about. I strongly suggest reading Keith Sink's DirectX 8 and Visual Basic Development in conjunction with this, and asking a lot of questions on a lot of VB.NET tech support mailing lists. (Microsoft's documentation on how to go from VB6-VB.NET with DirectX is not nonexistent, but it is such that nonexistent would have been better.) Given that .NET had already been in prerelease for over a year by this book's publication, one would think that, at the very least, the publisher would have made it very plain somewhere on the cover that the book dealt in a technology that's not compatible with the next generation of the language. An unforgivable oversight, especially if you happen to spend the full retail price for a copy of this book.
That aside, Freeze's book is quite good in the way it introduces the reader to the new, and largely esoteric, combination of Visual Basic and DirectX (the latter technology was exclusively the realm of C++ programmers until 2001, when DX8 began to include VB wrappers). He's not afraid to use repetition to get his point across, and he does so in a laid-back atmosphere that's quite different from what one sees in most how-to programming manuals.
Freeze teaches the VB/DX intersection through the programming of a SimCity-style games called SwimMall, which is in and of itself at least worth a discounted copy of the book. Needless to say it's not a commercial-quality game, as one would expect from a single person programming such a thing while under the pressure of a book deadline. But the routines and ideas therein are just the thing to spark the imaginations of novice game programmers; no matter what genre a person is working in, there are certainly routines here that will help a programmer out in various ways. Much of this code is easily ported to any other type of game framework.
Very good stuff. Just remember the admonition in the first paragraph if you're working with .NET and haven't used VB before. (Actually, I recommend Sink in conjunction with this book anyway; the atmospheres of the two are a pleasant mesh, and when you can't find a niggling piece of information you need in one, the other is sure to have it.) *** ½
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