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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Game AI by Example
Publisher: Wordware Publishing, Inc.
Authors: Mat Buckland
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must-have.


This book is simply one of the best AI texts that I have ever seen. The author has the ability (as those others who have visited his website will attest - http://www.ai-junkie.com/ai-junkie.html ) to take complex topics and break them down into simple, logical steps that make sense even to novice programmers such as myself.

Throughout this book, he does that time and time again. He gives thorough examples and describes them very well. These are not "baby" examples that serve only to highlight this or that point - he delivers real, working examples that you could plug right into your own game or simulation. Take Chapter 4, for example. It is an elegant sports simulation of a Soccer match. This single chapter is worth the price of the entire book, in my opinion.

The examples are cool. The code is modern and efficient. The techniques are those in use today.

For years, I would buy a book on AI Programming, only to find that techniques were only hinted at and not fully explained. It was like, with those authors, they were keeping some mysterious trade-secrets all to themselves.

This author doesn't do that. He is confident enough to give you everything you need to know to program your own AI. Be it a Finite State Machine, an intricate sports simulation, or fuzzy logic - just to name a few of the topics you will find in this book. If you have his other book, you know that he is also adept at Neural Nets and GA.

So, my advice is biased because I have read this book and I love it. I think you will, too. Buy this book. You won't regret it.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Microsoft SQL Server 2000(TM) Performance Tuning Technical Reference (Technical Reference)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Edward Whalen, Marcilina Garcia
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The tuning bible for SQL Server 2000!


As both a professional database consultant and DBA, I must agree that this is hands down the best overall tuning book for SQL Server 2000. It covers the gamut from hardware planning and sizing/tuning to database performance tuning. Easy to read and quite useful! Great job Microsoft Press another winner. Get it and become a tuning god.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Stored Procedures, XML, and HTML (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Extremely well-written


As an English major, I'm often very critical of the way in which technical books are written. Many times, the authors simply aren't very good writers. They may know their technical stuff, but they don't write very well. This book is a noteworthy exception. It is written in a clear, lucid style that flows naturally and keeps you engaged all along the way. Henderson actually makes stored procedure programming exciting and fun, which is no small feat considering the subject matter.
I found that while the book isn't for dummies, it proceeds logically and systematically through the topics it broaches. I especially appreciated the discussion of design patterns. I don't know why someone didn't think of it before, but, in hindsight, applying common software design patterns to Transact-SQL makes perfect sense, and I commend Henderson for coming up with the idea and for his sagely advice on how to go about it.
Also, the XML instruction is simply wonderful. From the XML language tutorial to all the SQL Server-specific information to the discussion of .NET, I found Henderson's teaching insightful and thorough. This section alone is worth the purchase price of the book.
Lastly, I loved the essays. Showing that he is more than just a technical scribe, Henderson spreads his wings a bit and provides us some wonderful bits that would be at home in virtually any magazine, technical or not. As I said before, this author is also a writer in the true sense of the word. Very, very enjoyable book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Andrew Hunt, David Thomas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Philosophy of programming


Take it from a programmer of ten years: The book was fabulous! It provides a philosophy about programming - something they don't teach you in college! The concepts extend to many different facets of information technology. All of the developers in my group are getting copies!