Many moons ago when the world was young(er), Jim Arvo asked a few other graphics guys what we thought the next volume of “Graphics Gems” should be. After batting around “More Graphics Gems”, “Son of Graphics Gems”, “Revenge of the Graphics Gems” and other alternatives, he finally went with the consensus: number them, even though the first one is not numbered “1″. This is now the norm: GPU Gems, Game Programming Gems, Game Development Tools have all gone this route. The ShaderX/GPU Pro series(es) have gone with pushing the numeral up top, e.g., ShaderX3. Which I guess is officially read as “ShaderX cubed,” but of course everyone calls it “ShaderX Three.” Some have gone a different route, like the “Jim Blinn’s Corner” books were differentiated by the subtitles and by strikingly different cover colors.
Along the way there has been the occasional rough patch with book titles. For example, ShaderX2 is actually two very different books, “Introductions and Tutorials” and “Tips and Tricks.” The “Best of Game Programming Gems” book is excerpted from the first six books, leaving the seventh and eighth in a funny state – “what am I, chopped liver?” There seems to be a tiny hint that there will be a ninth volume, but there’s not a whiff of any call for participation elsewhere, e.g. not on the official series page.
I bring up this topic of naming because there’s now a new axis being developed: gem names. I noticed this a few months ago, and in updating the book page today, it’s official: the new GPU Computing Gems series truly is going with calling their first volume Emerald, the second volume Jade. Or is it vice versa? I honestly had to check.
I have to question this naming concept a bit, especially given the gems’ colors, but I guess the damage is done. “You know, the GPU Computing Gems book edited by Hwu, the one named after a green gem, with the green molecular structure on the cover, came out in 2011?” That accurately describes both volumes. When I first ran across this pair of books, I thought it was a bug or misprint, that there was only one book but with two slightly-different entries, sort of like “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorceror’s Stone”. I’m not a marketing genius, but this naming scheme so far is not working for me. Which is a pity, as it does a disservice to the contributors by confusing the message. So, yes, there really are two different volumes, with Emerald out now and Jade coming out in August.