game engine

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  • Books, books, and more books: I received review copies of two books. Best of Game Programming Gems is as it sounds, certainly cheaper than buying the seven books in this series, no real review needed (look inside). Game Engine Architecture is about just that, how to make a professional-grade game rendering system, from soup to nuts (you can look inside). Eberly’s two books are the previous notable works in this area, but are quite different than this new volume. While they focus almost exclusively on algorithms, this book attempts to cover the whole task of developing an engine: what to use for source control, dealing with memory management and in-game profiling, input devices, SIMD, and many other practical topics. There is also algorithmic coverage of rendering, animation, collision detection and physics, among other areas. Naturally, the amount of information on each area is limited by page count (the book’s a solid 860 pages), but in my brief skim it looks like most of the critical areas and concepts are touched on. You won’t become an expert in any one area from this volume, but it looks like you’ll have some reasonably deep understanding of the elements that go into making a game engine. Quite an impressive work, and I know of nothing else in this area that is so detailed. I hope I get a chance to read it (who am I fooling? Though I do wish I had the time…) – well, at the least, it’s a place I’ll first go if I want to learn about a topic in game development that I know little about. If you’d rather wax nostalgic about great game engines you have known, as well as what the state of the are is, this article is for you (oh, yeah, the author of this new book works at the company that made #3).
  • Looking around for titles I’d like to look over at SIGGRAPH, I found these: Game Graphics ProgrammingProgramming the Cell Processor: For Games, Graphics, and ComputationIntroduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 10Ultimate Game Programming with DirectX, 2nd Ed., Advanced Game ProgrammingGame Coding Complete. Which all sort of sound the same (except for the Cell book), but I’d be happy to page through each and see if it looks promising.
  • There’s a worthwhile comparison of average vertex normal computation methods on the MeshLab blog. He gives the nod to Thürmer and Wüthrich’s method. You can try each of the three using MeshLab itself.
  • Sure, Spore didn’t light the world on fire as many of us hoped, but a lot of cool technology was explored. Chris Hecker has a worthwhile rundown of some of the great stuff they worked on.
  • There are some surprisingly affordable 3D stereolithography objects available on Shapeways. I bought Spiral Cage (tiny, but impressive, and so cheap), Clematis (looks delicate, but is quite springy), and Gyroid (pricier, but more sizeable and a fun form). It’s great to see so many people exploring such areas; here’s a detailed summary of resources. Even if you never plan on getting involved, the Flickr area dedicated to such techniques is worth a browse.
  • This one amused me: a cloud computing company had a contest that was meant to show off Ruby and cloud computing strengths. It was won by people brute-forcing the problem with GPUs: 16 used by the first-place winner (plus 117 CPU cores, which had less performance total than the 16 GPUs), 4 by the second. Steve Worley and others talk about the GPU approach on the CUDA forum (his program, shared with the community there, was used to win second place).
  • I admire the dedication.

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As I mentioned in a previous post, Eric Lengyel is heading up a new project, a book series called “Game Engine Gems”. It turns out that we ran across the website before it was announced (moral: there’s no hiding on the internet). He’s sent out an official call for papers today – see the book’s website for basic information.

I’m posting today to mention a few dates not currently shown on the website (though I expect this will change soon):

  • August 1 – Final day to submit article proposals
  • August 15 – Authors notified of acceptance
  • October 15 – Final day to submit completed articles

Contact Eric for more information.

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