Aimed at the working Visual C++ game developer, 3D Game Engine Design provides a tour of mathematical techniques for 3-D graphics, and the source code that's used to implement them in state-of-the-art video game engines. If you work in the game industry (or would like to), this book will serve you well, because it delivers excellent best practices for algorithms and programming techniques that'll help your software keep up with the competition.
This text is a virtual encyclopedia of expertise that's based on the author's own work and research in the gaming industry. It provides the mathematical notation, algorithms, and C++ code (on the accompanying CD-ROM) that are needed to build fast and maintainable game engines. Early sections start with the basics, with the math that's used to work with common 3-D objects (like spheres and boxes). Highlights include a high-powered review of quaternion algebra--in many cases, the preferred way to transform 3-D data.
The chapters on graphics pipelines explain the math that's behind representing and rendering a 3-D world in 2-D with intervening effects like lighting and texture mapping. A variety of current algorithms are provided for representing 3-D scenes, efficient picking (which allows a programmer to determine the object in a 3-D world that has been selected), and collision detection (in which objects collide virtually). In the game software of today, curves--and not individual triangles or polygons--often are used to represent 3-D objects. Algorithms that are used to turn curves into rendered surfaces are provided, too.
Later sections look at the current thinking about animation techniques for characters (including key frames, inverse kinematics, and skinning (in which digital skin is fitted over digital bone to create more realistic-looking movement)). How to represent terrain inside virtual worlds also is explained. The book closes with excellent material on such cutting-edge special effects as lens flare and projected shadows, which can add an extra level of realism to a video game. An appendix examines guidelines for designing object-oriented game software in C++.