Books I’ve read in 2009

4/5 – Advanced Lighting and Materials with Shaders
Discusses a ton of different BRDF’s that I never knew existed. This book is really book and meant for advanced graphics programmers. There are a couple of things I dislike about the book: 1) Math formulas are glazed over and never really discussed, so you have to figure them out for yourself, which isn’t necessarily the end of the world. 2) Spherical Harmonic Lighting section was confusing. I’m not sure it was the books fault though because the concepts are really advanced. I just wish they were discussed in more detail. I had to read the section like 3 or 4 times and I’m still not 100% clear on some aspects. Overall, if you are into graphics, I highly recommend this book.

3/5 – Focus on 3D Models
This book is a little bit dated unfortunately. I’m not sure why it bothered discussing the obj model format, I feel it’s pretty worthless. You can be the judge though as the model formats it discusses are as follows: md2( quake 2), obj, milkshape 3d, 3ds, mdl (half-life), md3 (quake 3). I was looking for a good model format and so far I’ve settled on a possible few: milkshape 3d, x format, or possibly md5?  Milkshape 3d seems to be a good general one that can easily be converted to and from others.

5/5 – Programming Interviews Exposed
I learned quite a bit from this book, like solutions to problems that I’ve never really come across before but that could perhaps be useful in the future. Unfortunately, a lot of the questions are simple of you know the “trick.” Otherwise, it’s a good exercise and refresher if you’re rusty. I felt that this book helped expand my mind and helped me start thinking outside the box.

Books I’ve read in 2010

4/5 – How to make people like you in 90 seconds or less

This book is a pretty good book because it talks about things I probably wouldn’t have ever thought of. It can be used to network, get a date, or enhance your current social life. The book isn’t very long and at first the book didn’t seem to be that great. By the time I got to the end I was pleased with what I had read overall. I gave it 4/5 because I didn’t think the book was super awesome in any way, but I thought it was worth the read if you want to improve your social skills when meeting new people. I honestly don’t know what would make this book a 5/5 though since I’m not into reading these types of books very often.

5/5 – Game Development Essentials: Game Industry Career Guide
A very good book about preparing to enter the gaming industry. I wish I would have read this while I was actually in school.

5/5 – Pragmatic Programmer : Journeyman to Masters
Lots of really good general coding practices that I should have been taught but was not. All coders should read this to avoid sucking at their job.

4/5 – Effective C++
Although I knew quite a bit already, this book clarified the why’s. A good book overall. I still learned quite a few things.

3/5 – More Effective C++
Taught me why C++ sucks. Has solutions for things that I felt were hackish or incomplete (reference counting solution for example). At least take note of the table of contents. Worth the read if you plan on coding in C++ for your job though.

4/5 – Effective STL
Taught me all the problems the STL has. Basically, if you do advanced things with the STL, either know the STL inside and out, or avoid doing advanced things because it may cause you headaches. It discusses lots of STL special cases. My opinion after reading this book: the STL sucks because it requires a book to explain it and to discuss it’s pitfalls and problems. If an api/library is well written, it shouldn’t need a book to discuss all of its pitfalls and workarounds. Although, the STL is still better than whatever solution you could possibly come up with by yourself. For general coding it’s good, for advanced stuff, well…. you were warned. A lot of special cases are discussed by this book though, so if you plan to do lots of STL stuff, this book is definitely worth the read.

5/5 – Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0c A Shader Approach
If you’ve never used D3D before, get this book. Although lots have changed since DX9, it still has lots of concepts (and more advanced things like skinning) that are still very much applicable. I wish I would have read this book a long time ago instead of fumbling through the API’s documentation (which is a good reference though.)