Written by: Kevin Hawkins and Dave Astle (both from GameDev.net)
Price: $60.00 (US) (cheaper on Amazon)
First let me say that I have no background in 3D programming to speak of. I bought the book with the hope that I would be able to learn how OpenGL works and the best ways to use it. I needed somewhere to start in order to put the rendering code in the scene graph that I am attempting to write for LWJGL. I had heard that most OpenGL books are simply API references. I knew from looking at the NeHe tutorials that those kinds of books weren't going to show me the things I need to know to make the renderer fast. So I was looking for something different, I believe I've found what I was looking for.
NOTE: Right now I'm only at chapter 7 in the book. However I have learned (come to understand) so much in the first 6 chapters I felt I need to write this review. I will update the review once I have finished the book.
About the Book:
The book uses C++ and is gear toward the Win32 API. They have done a good job of separating the OpenGL drawing parts into methods so that the OpenGL code isn't cluttered with Win32 code. The example programs have a common base. Once you understand how the window is created and how the windows program message loop works you can ignore that part of the code for the rest of the book and focus on the OpenGL calls.
The first part of the book gives you a bit of a primer for the rest of the book. Differences between OpenGL and DirectX (Direct3D), matricies, scalars, points, vectors, normalization, translation, rotation, scaling, projection, ambient light, diffues light, specular light, texture mapping. All of this is then gone into at fairly reasonable detail in the later parts of the book.
Part 2 starts by describing the OpenGL state machine and the use of primitives (point, lines, triangle). For me this was key to getting my head around OpenGL. Remember I have no 3D background.
I realize that this is not a complete reveiw by any means but as I said before I've already learned a lot wanted to share what I could about this book. I will come back and update this as I get further into the book.
Part I: (90 pages)
Chapter 1: The Exploration Begins: OpenGL and DirectX
Chapter 2: Using Windows with OpenGL
Chapter 3: An Overview of 3D Graphics Theory
Part II: (386 pages)
Chapter 4: OpenGL States and Primitives
Chapter 5: Coordinate Transformations and OpenGL Matrices
Chapter 6: Adding Colors, Blending, and Lighting
Chapter 7: Bitmaps and Images with OpenGL
Chapter 8: Texture Mapping
Chapter 9: Advanced Texture Mapping
Chapter 10: Display Lists and Vertex Arrays
Chapter 11: Displaying Text
Chapter 12: OpenGL Buffers
Chapter 13: OpenGL Quadrics
Chapter 14: Curves and Surfaces
Chapter 15: Special Effects
Part III: (280 pages)
Chapter 16: Using DirectX: Direct Input
Chapter 17: Using DirectX Audio
Chapter 18: Working with 3D Models
Chapter 19: Physics Modeling with OpenGL
Chapter 20: Building a Game Engine
Chapter 21: Making a Game: A Time To Kiil