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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Fast Track C#
Publisher: Peer Information Inc.
Authors: Julian Templeman, Jon Reid, Neil Avent, K. Scott Allen, Syed Fahad Gilani
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Wrox Press Fast Track Series Does It Again!


I've long been of the opinion that Wrox Press makes the best developer-oriented books, bar none. Yes, there have been a few missteps in the past, but nobody is perfect. The Fast Track series, however, has thus far failed to disappoint me.
This is the second Fast Track I have purchased. I started using .Net when the first public beta came out, and now I am a complete convert to C#. Not to play into the old "this language is better than that one" argument, but I have found C# to be clean, powerful, and elegant. They used to say that "Inside C++ is a nice clean language ready to come out, and that language is Java." I say that language is C#.
This book gets right to it. If you are already familiar with (n.b. you don't have to be an expert, just familiar with) a true OO language such as C++ or Java, then C# will be a snap for you to learn. This book gets you there, covering the topics that all experienced developers need to go from one language to the next. We're talking the bare-bones necessities here: syntax, basic classes, and usage for .NET, WebServices, and Windows Apps. No, this is not an exhaustive reference for the language. If you want that, check out the excellent: Professional C#, also by Wrox. This book is to get you up and running quickly in a new language, and give you the tools you need to build a core knowledgebase of C#. We all know that once you have the basics, it is much easier to search the web, or MSDN, or a giant reference book, for more advanced topics. But it is often hard to find one good source for the "getting started" stages of a new language. How do I do in C#: A FOR loop? Arrays? Inherit a class? Use XML? These and more are all answered in a way that will get you productive quickly, and leaving you to your own devices to grow beyond that.
If you are going to get into C# for the first time, get this book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Exceptional C++: 47 Engineering Puzzles, Programming Problems, and Solutions
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Herb Sutter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Simply exceptional!


I just received the book and ended up reading it in a single sitting. Outstanding! This book is is a veritable treasure trove of tips, tricks, gotchas, and very solid design advice. You need to know C++ fairly well to follow all the subtleties but if you meet this prerequisite, you will find yourself referring to this book time and time again. The sections on exception safety are particularly valuable. Highly recommended!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: A. Keyton Weissinger
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book, not just for reference


Although meant as a desktop reference, this book is great read from front to back. Clear, concise and immensely helpful for more advanced ASP folks. Indespensable on your next consulting job. I only wish it covered ADO 2.0 instead of 1.5, so you'll also need WROX's ADO 2.0 book.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: 3D Game Engine Design : A Practical Approach to Real-Time Computer Graphics
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: David H. Eberly
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent reference


Yes, this book is an invaluable reference. All the mathematical knowledge necessary to building a 3D engine is contained within its pages. Each topic is covered separately, with algorithm examples to support each mathematical discussion. A basic 3D engine is also included to help the reader put the concepts together.
You must, however, adapt well to formal mathematical notation to understand this book -- there is no handholding; it assumes the reader is familiar with vector and matrix algebra, linear algebra, multivariate calculus, and data structures. Following the mathematics can become quite tedious if you are lacking in any of these areas. One thing I think Eberly might have improved is "dumbing down" the mathematical notation to appeal to a broader audience, or at least have written the book in a more personal, explanatory manner (Its funny how the smarter a person is, the harder it is for him/her to express ideas in a way understanding to the rest of us).
For you college kids, I'd say you need up to Calc 3 and Linear Algebra. It'll help if you've taken a couple graphics courses, covering things like BSP/Oct/Quad trees, rendering pipeline analysis, and intersection testing. I myself AM a college kid, so trust me on this... it'll help if you have a little background. Also note that this book is non-API specific; you must know a 3D API well in order to implement the author's ideas. He uses OpenGL for his CD-ROM examples.
What else... Don't buy this book if you just want to implement special effects... check out the 3D Graphics Gems series for that. Concepts such as Lens Flare, Bump/Enviroment Mapping, Shadows, and Particle Systems are discussed, but only slightly within 4 pages of the last chapter -- which is understandable, considering the focus of this book is on the core 3D engine, not the flare surrounding it.
That's about it. Buy it if you've got patience, persistence, and are serious about 3D game programming -- and that's the bottom line.