I got O'Reilly's "AI for Game Developers" by David M. Bourg & Glenn Seemann and "MUD Game Programming" by Ron Penton
I set my alarm for 9:30 this morning, and ended up hitting bed and eventually crawling out of bed at 11:30. I can get six hours of sleep and get up at 1 or 2 just fine, but eight hours of sleep apparently isn't enough if i want to get up before 10 =P
11 is the latest i should be leaving tomorrow, and 10 would be a lot better, so i'll have to set some extra alarms.
Morna called me about noon and wanted to know if i was interested in hanging out. I told her i could do lunch, but not too much more than that since i had stuff and studying to do. So i finished looking up books on amazon and went over to her place about 12:45. We had lunch at subway and then hung out and talked for a little bit before i headed off to Borders.
I had a much better idea of what i wanted this time thanks to the web research, but still wasn't entirely sure.
I grabed the O'Reilly book right away since i'd been looking at it earlier, and a quick double check decided me on getting it, but i was still unsure about the other two categories, networking and DirectX/graphics.
The websites sithjawa had pointed me towards (thank you!) pretty much said that there were no really good game networking books. I looked through the one book specifically labeled as being about multiplayer stuff, which had gotten pretty mediocre reviews, and decided that both sources were right. I looked at the pure networking books, but that section was pretty small, and they all seemed to be about how to use/run a TCP/IP network, and nothing at all about how to program using sockets or any other netwroking interface. Searching through Borders computer thing found three or four books about proframming using sockets, all of which were out of print and/or out of stock. I then started looking through other books in the game development section that i thought might cover networking. I found several that touched on the subject, usually about 20-30 pages, usually mostly a rough description of TCP/IP vs UDP with a minimum amount of code and explanation about the actual workings. Finally i got to MUD book, of which the first 188 pages are mostly devoted to networking, with about 50 pages in the middle about multithreading and the basic library (before it gets on to the Socket specific portion of the library.)
I was ammused by the note on pg 33:
"I'm not going to spend a great deal of time on the actual API; after all, this book is about MUDs, not network programming in general. There are literally hundreds of books that cover this material better than I can, since they are purely about networking. [Too bad i can't find any of them!] This chapter is an introduction to the API that teaches you its use in relation to MUDs; therefore, I won't get into the juicy details of multicasting and other things you may never use. Two good books that cover this material are Multiplayer Game Programming by Todd Barron, and Network Programming for Microsoft Windows, by Anthony Jones and Jim Ohlund."
The Todd Barron book was actually discussed in the thread sithjawa pointed me towards. In fact it was what prompted the original question of "this is the book that was recomended for my class, but what's an actually _good_ book?" :) The conclusion was that despite a guestimate that 95% of the book had nothing to do with networks, it was the best you could find. Of course it was irrelevant anyways because Borders had neither of the books, and the second one was out of print =P
So in the end i decided to go with the book that said "I'm not going to tell you much about networking" and then followed with ~130 pages of usefull stuff as opposed to any of the books that said "here's what you need to know about networking" and followed with 30 pages of tripe.
The graphics book decision was a little more difficult (and the more observant will already have noticed that i didn't actually end up with one =)
There was one book that looked very usefull, it covered a lot of graphics techniques as well as code optimization and diagnostic techniques. However it was intended for an intermediate audience who already had some graphics knowledge. so i decided i should get something else and come back to that book later once i have more money.
The next two choices were both DirectX specific. The one by Luna got slightly better reviews on Amazon than the one by McCuskey. However some of the lower rated comments about the McCuskey one were complaints that the book was too big because it spent too much time covering stuff only a beginner would need to know, or something like that. I don't know if they meant a beginner programmer, or a beginner at DirectX, so that could be either a plus or a minus for me. Luna also had the disadvantage when i looked at it that he had kindly and thoughtfull started the book by describing who the book was intended for, what you needed to do to install DirectX, what type of software and hardware you needed, etc. All the good stuff which the McCuskey book _didn't_ have. Unfortunatly for Luna in his forthrightness he revealed that DirectX 9 is only designed to work with Visual Studio, which i unfortunatly don't have. I'm pretty sure Dev-Cpp works with 8.0, it _might_ work with 9.0 by this point so i don't know for sure. The back of the McCuskey book said the CD included DirectX 8.0, but when i looked through the book it didn't say anything about how to install DirectX 8.0 or what compilers it would work with. There was some brief comment that seemed to indicate that he expected you to be using Visual Studios, but not much else.
So i decided to just get the other two books and poke around at Dec-Cpp and see what it could handle before i get any more books. Unfortunatly when i try to use the "Look for updates/packages" feature in Dev-Cpp in complains "Your devcpp.cfg file is missing" even though this is a fresh install =P So i need to poke around at that some more.
So after spending almsot two hours looking through the CS books i picked those two out and then briefly wandered over to the SF section and saw a couple cute girls there and found several books i wanted to get, but resisted getting anything since i was already spending about $90. *preemptively sticks his tongue out at sithjawa*
I came home and took a shower and then went to supercuts and got two or three inches of my hair cut off. It comes down to just a little below my shoulders now, and probably has about 10,000 less split ends now.
And as long as i'm typing, a quick recap of the weekend.
Stayed up till about 7:30 or 8 am friday night/saturday morning playing GalCiv and reading Dragonriders of Pern. I had been considering watching saturday morning cartoons, but i checked an online tv listing and found that there wasn't anything too interesting on. THere _was_ a Teen Titans on, which i had been looking forward to, but it was a repeat i'd seen at least once before already. So i decided to go to bed instead.
Got up about 2ish saturday afternoon. Had nothing to do and noone to see, so i just sat around reading and playing games more and thinking about Caithris. Ended up getting to sleep about 6am.
Got woken up sunday about noon by Bricriu and Morna calling, about 30 seconds before my alarm was set to go off. They wanted to know if i was interested in lunch, and i said sure so they headed over to pick me up while i got ready. They wanted to go to a dumpling place in... i forget now *grrr* someplace near Pasadena i think. Anyways there was a huge line for it so we got a number and went into the next store over to look around while we waited. I saw they had a manga section so i spent awhile looking through it while Morna went to the little cafe place inside to get something to drink. Unfortunatly i didn't find out till after she'd gotten her drink that they served bubble tea there =P
So we sat outside and talked for awhile, Bricriu wanted to know what i'd heard about the PSP and the DS, and after awhile our number got called. The food was very good, although we weren't quite sure what to order or how much to get. We started out with an order of juicy pork dumplings and an order of pork and shrimp dumplings, but we ended up adding on another order or the juicy pork dumplings and one of the big bowls of soup. Afterwards we had some red bean dumplings for desert.
We deicded to look around the area a little more and went into the supermarket, which had lots of cool things as asian supermarkets usually do. They didn't have any of the lyche cups, but i ended up getting four bags of gummies :)
They dropped me back off at home after that, and i spent the rest of the day playing GalCiv and reading Sara Douglass' "Hades' Daughter"
Okay, back to studying time.