Book Review: DirectX 11.1 Game Programming

22:23
Mon
16
Sep 2013

Book Review: DirectX 11.1 Game Programming

"DirectX 11.1 Game Programming" is a new book published by Packt Publishing, written by Pooya Eimandar. It introduces new features of DirectX 11.1 and some other technologies available for game developers when writing Metro-style apps for Windows 8. The book uses C++/CX - a new language based on C++, with the syntax somewhat similar to C++/CLI (the language is extended by managed pointer operator ^). But while C++/CLI is a .NET language (like C#), C++/CX is compiled to native code and the ^ pointer is just a convenient syntax for reference-counting smart pointer to a COM object. Math is done with DirectXMath library (the successor of XNA Math).

Each of the chapters describes several loosely coupled topics. Their flattened list looks like this:

I have mixed feelings about this book. Contrary to what title suggests and what the author claims inside ("By the end of this chapter, we are going to have a multithreaded game engine"), you obviously cannot learn game programming by reading just 146 pages. Especially as the book covers so many different topics. It looks like the author wanted to include everything what's fresh and sexy in Microsoft Windows 8 API-s. As a result, each example is kind of "Hello World" - the simplest possible application of the described technology.

But at the same time, the book is also not teaching 3D games programming from the start. It explains some selected basic concepts in more details (e.g. describes what vertex shader does, shows how rotation matrices look like, how to use constant, vertex and index buffer or shows a diagram of the graphics pipeline - 3 times actually :) but generally you should already know C++ and preferably DirectX 10/11 to make use of the knowledge from this book. It is more like an overview of "What's New" in Windows 8, DirectX 11-11.1 and new Visual Studio.

I think the biggest value of this book is the attached source code. Each chapter is accompanied by a complete C++/CX project that shows an application of the described technology and the text in the book is an overview of this code. So if you already know some game programming in C++ and DirectX 10/11, this book can be a good tutorial which will help you to start using latest Microsoft technologies and develop Windows 8 Metro-style games. Preface says "This book will help you easily create your own framework and build your first game for Metro Style all by yourself in order to publish it on the Windows Store." and that is true.

But whether this is worth doing, that's another question. Surely you can use DX 11 on 9- or 10-compatible hardware, using Feature Level, but you cannot use most of what this book describes below Windows 8, and many of these things also without buying Visual Studio Professional or higher. According to Steam Hardware & Software Survey: Auguest 2013, while 64.78% of gamers already have DirectX 11 capable system and GPU, only 15.41% of them have Windows 8 installed (and it's already a year since its release).

Now it's time for a contest. Packt has proposed to offer 3 digital copies of the book. All you need to do is head on over to the book page, look through the product description of the book and then drop a line via the comments below this post to let us know what interests you the most about this book. 3 best comments win!!! Deadline: The contest will close in 1 weeks time. Winners will be contacted by email, so be sure to use your real email address when you comment.

Comments (12) | Tags: books competitions reviews directx | Author: Adam Sawicki | Share

Comments

lighting
2013-09-17 08:54:23
With DirectX 11 you can achieve almost miracles. With DirectX 11.1 descbribed at this book the miracles are more shining :)
WhiteLightning
2013-09-17 17:44:38
It is nice to know, that I can count myself into 15.41% of humanity with DX11 capable environment:) Windows 8 isn't best system I've ever had, hovewer after

some tweaking it is quite usable and stable. As for the book I'm still searching for Game Creating Holly Grail, through SDL, XNA, Libgdx, pure Java (4K

compo) and OpenGL. Maybe its time to give DirectX a chance? Two years ago during IGK in Siedlce I had first contact with Shaders ("Mihu" used those in our

Compo entry - Escape) and its something I would like to learn during this winter, especially as I'm finishing my house and will have two nice plays to sit

with a book: near fireplace and on attic:) In addition it would be goog to be prepared for questions about "tesselation" :) As for the numbers of pages, my teacher has said during studies: reading one technical page, can take you more time than whole novel.

PS: lightning from previous post has nothing in common with me:)
WhiteLightning
2013-09-17 17:48:06
Once more as sh.. happened with formatting in previous post.

It is nice to know, that I can count myself into 15.41% of humanity with DX11 capable environment:) Windows 8 isn't best system I've ever had, hovewer after some tweaking it is quite usable and stable. As for the book I'm still searching for Game Creating Holly Grail, through SDL, XNA, Libgdx, pure Java (4K compo) and OpenGL. Maybe its time to give DirectX a chance? Two years ago during IGK in Siedlce I had first contact with Shaders ("Mihu" used those in our Compo entry - Escape) and its something I would like to learn during this winter, especially as I'm finishing my house and will have two nice plays to sit with a book: near fireplace and on attic:) In addition it would be goog to be prepared for questions about "tesselation" :) As for the numbers of pages, my teacher has said during studies: reading one technical page, can take you more time than whole novel.

PS: lightning from previous post has nothing in common with me:)
Sandy Joseph
2013-09-18 08:33:17
Thanks for the amazing review. I would like to get this book since Chapter 3: Rendering a 3D Scene is quite interesting.
Francis.C
2013-09-22 09:51:26
I think 146 pages is too short but I read it, and it is very efficient for those who want to jump to metro style games. Most parts of book need focus on source codes, I already made contact with the author for my questions and he supported well.
Anna Japan
2013-09-23 11:07:03
That is one of the best things that I found it great and gives me that many interesting things, thank you
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Reg
2013-09-23 22:28:17
The contest is now over.
Yepi 8
2013-10-12 05:27:28
This article was so good. It definitely shows that you spent a lot of time in research to produce such a fine article. Thank you. http://www.yepi8.org
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