Game Programming With DirectX 7.0
Author: Ernest Pazera
Publisher: Premier Press
- RRP US$59.99
Reviewed: 30th December 2001
games almost seem to be a dying breed of game
these days - whilst things are starting to level
out, 3D graphics still seems to be the band-wagon
that people want to be on. This is a huge shame,
as some of the most classic games for the PC have
used an isometric engine, at least for me anyway
(the XCOM series in particular).
with the release of this book I hope to see a
slight revival in the Isometric world ;) well,
maybe I'm just dreaming, but I can hope. For those
of you not in tune with what isometric games are,
this following screen shot is a good example -
taken from one of the sample programs on the CD:
are traditionally made up of diamond-like tiles,
as is fairly evident in the screenshot. Whilst
they are graphically quite primitive in comparison
to the latest 3D graphics engines, there is a
certain charm to them, and they are in many cases
the best choice to displaying what is necessary
for the game.
structure of the book is, as you would expect,
very similiar to the other books in the series
(Premier Press Game Development Series). The book
is divided into 5 parts - the first 3 follow on
from one another, and the last 2 operate as seperate
entities (although only really accesable once
you've read the rest of the book).
1 is an introduction to the basics, which increases
quite rapidly - going from basic Windows/Win32
programming in C/C++ through to DirectDraw/DirectX
programming in 200 pages. This may not be the
best book to start learning DirectDraw/DirectX
from, consider this introduction for anyone who's
either used an earlier version of DirectX or for
a programmer experienced in other graphics API's.
Unfortunately, being based on DirectDraw there
aren't any new books on the subjects - you can
find many hundreds of tutorials on the web though
if you really need them.
2 is about isometric fundamentals, this is the
first real taster of isometric game programming
in this book. It covers the various different
ways of rendering tiles, and variations on isometric
3 extends upon part 2 by introducing some more
advanced features and techniques for isometric
games; whilst they are fairly advanced they are
almost always required for isometric games (object
placement, movement and selecting for example).
4 is another advanced reading chapter, but not
quite so required as Part 3. It covers some very
basic artificial intelligence, and then gives
an introduction to Direct3D7 rendering - which
is going to be required reading if you intend
to convert any of these samples/engines into Direct3D8.
5 is a collection of appendices, which are quite
simple, and dont really cover any new ground...
content of the book is excellent, Ernest definitely
loves his isometric gaming! You can tell that
he's been doing this for quite a long time now
(too long maybe?!) and that some of this stuff
is as simple to him as 1+1 to most of us. This
comes over in the text in a very positive way,
whereas some authors leave fairly vague descriptions
of some things due to a lack of understanding,
that is very rarely the case in this book.
content works up in a well structured and linear
order - which is good, whilst it takes a reasonable
programmer to be able to learn most of this stuff
straight away it is all presented in a logical
manner; "this is what we were just discussing,
here it is in code". There are alot of box-outs
containing hints, explanations, tips and warnings
throughout this book - which is common in all
the other books in this series, which is no bad
thing at all.
CD As A Resource
CD for this book is well done, but not quite as
well as in the special
effects book, which is a shame, but not really
a bad thing. Whilst the book is based on the DirectX7
API, we are actually given the DirectX8 SDK on
the CD, which may well confuse a few people...
but you can still use DX7 from this SDK, just
that there aren't any of the help files/examples
for the old DirectX7 interfaces. We also get a
couple of art programs (PSP7 and Truespace 5)
to play with, which is good. And of course, we
get the complete source code for all the examples
in the book... which is an essential feature as
far as I see it.
is definitely the best book around on isometric
gaming - which isn't surprising as it's obviously
a favourite of the author, and not being a particularly
widely used medium any more there aren't many
books published on the subject. However, if you
have any interest in isometric gaming, then this
is most definitely the book for you...
nicely divided into parts, with a nice learning
Entirely in C/C++, which may be a drawback
for VB developers.
Covers the use of new technology for a relatively
Could have done with some colour diagrams/colour
Probably the best, if not only, book dedicated
to the subject.
The author appears to enjoy this subject,
and his enthusiam shows...
CD resource is done well, and includes all