Books I’ve read in 2011

1) 4/5 Who wants to be a millionaire? (978-1883589875)

This book was a pretty good book for what it is. It’s a very small book, so you really can’t expect much. It’s catered towards teenagers in school and you can read it in about a day. The contents are about how to save up for retirement, basically. If you do it soon enough, and correctly, you can have about a million dollars or more. The critical ideas are: mutual funds, 401Ks, roth IRAs, and insurance.  I recommend it if you don’t know anything about finances or about where to put your money. Even if you don’t have any money, you can still save up, but the key is to do it early enough (when you’re young).

2) 3/5 The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory (978-1592577026)

Amazingly, there aren’t any equations. There are good and bad parts and I get lots quite often. Mainly when he says “The blank-blank theory says this”… But doesn’t leave any references to say why, because I don’t know where he gets quite a few of his statements. The author is probably correct, because I don’t know any better. On a good note, the appendix has a wealth of really good links and info if you want more info. Overall, so far, it’s ok. But there’s got to be a book that explains it better. It does make some things clearer though, but I guess it’s just piecing things together piece by piece, but you will probably need other resources to complete the picture. This book just feels like a bunch of random physics statements thrown together.

3) IN PROGRESS 5/5 The Holy Bible

I won’t be reading all of it, but I will be reading all of the main narrative books that go through the main story. So far, the story is very unique and inspiring. You can’t really attempt to understand it by yourself unless you’re a history buff and know what was going on in the time period. Also knowing which books were written in which time period is very helpful as well. Who was in world power, where the old nations were located, etc. I have quite a few resources and help to figure things out, so if a regular person picked up the bible and started reading it, they’d most likely miss a good portion of the important things that require an understanding of real history. This will always be “in progress.”

 

Books I’ve read before 2009

3/5 – Introduction to Game Development
This books has a little to say about a lot of the different areas of game development. If you don’t know anything about the game industry or how things work, it would probably be a very good read. The sections that helped me personally were the physics and the programming sections. The rest were not interesting to me. I’m sure they would be interesting to the people that took interest in those sections, obviously.

5/5 – Get in the Game! – Careers in the Game Industry
Goes over in depth of how a game dev studio works internally and what each position entails. If you’re trying to break into the industry, I would definitely recommend this book.

5/5 – Unix for Dummies
If you’ve never used linux or unix before, this is a good book. It’s easy to follow and is actually a decent reference. Although it doesn’t have advanced things, which I wouldn’t expect it to. For getting acquainted with linux/unix, it’s very good.

development

Books I’ve read in 2009

4/5 – Advanced Lighting and Materials with Shaders
Discusses a ton of different BRDF’s that I never knew existed. This book is really book and meant for advanced graphics programmers. There are a couple of things I dislike about the book: 1) Math formulas are glazed over and never really discussed, so you have to figure them out for yourself, which isn’t necessarily the end of the world. 2) Spherical Harmonic Lighting section was confusing. I’m not sure it was the books fault though because the concepts are really advanced. I just wish they were discussed in more detail. I had to read the section like 3 or 4 times and I’m still not 100% clear on some aspects. Overall, if you are into graphics, I highly recommend this book.

3/5 – Focus on 3D Models
This book is a little bit dated unfortunately. I’m not sure why it bothered discussing the obj model format, I feel it’s pretty worthless. You can be the judge though as the model formats it discusses are as follows: md2( quake 2), obj, milkshape 3d, 3ds, mdl (half-life), md3 (quake 3). I was looking for a good model format and so far I’ve settled on a possible few: milkshape 3d, x format, or possibly md5?  Milkshape 3d seems to be a good general one that can easily be converted to and from others.

5/5 – Programming Interviews Exposed
I learned quite a bit from this book, like solutions to problems that I’ve never really come across before but that could perhaps be useful in the future. Unfortunately, a lot of the questions are simple of you know the “trick.” Otherwise, it’s a good exercise and refresher if you’re rusty. I felt that this book helped expand my mind and helped me start thinking outside the box.

Books I’ve read in 2010

4/5 – How to make people like you in 90 seconds or less

This book is a pretty good book because it talks about things I probably wouldn’t have ever thought of. It can be used to network, get a date, or enhance your current social life. The book isn’t very long and at first the book didn’t seem to be that great. By the time I got to the end I was pleased with what I had read overall. I gave it 4/5 because I didn’t think the book was super awesome in any way, but I thought it was worth the read if you want to improve your social skills when meeting new people. I honestly don’t know what would make this book a 5/5 though since I’m not into reading these types of books very often.

5/5 – Game Development Essentials: Game Industry Career Guide
A very good book about preparing to enter the gaming industry. I wish I would have read this while I was actually in school.

5/5 – Pragmatic Programmer : Journeyman to Masters
Lots of really good general coding practices that I should have been taught but was not. All coders should read this to avoid sucking at their job.

4/5 – Effective C++
Although I knew quite a bit already, this book clarified the why’s. A good book overall. I still learned quite a few things.

3/5 – More Effective C++
Taught me why C++ sucks. Has solutions for things that I felt were hackish or incomplete (reference counting solution for example). At least take note of the table of contents. Worth the read if you plan on coding in C++ for your job though.

4/5 – Effective STL
Taught me all the problems the STL has. Basically, if you do advanced things with the STL, either know the STL inside and out, or avoid doing advanced things because it may cause you headaches. It discusses lots of STL special cases. My opinion after reading this book: the STL sucks because it requires a book to explain it and to discuss it’s pitfalls and problems. If an api/library is well written, it shouldn’t need a book to discuss all of its pitfalls and workarounds. Although, the STL is still better than whatever solution you could possibly come up with by yourself. For general coding it’s good, for advanced stuff, well…. you were warned. A lot of special cases are discussed by this book though, so if you plan to do lots of STL stuff, this book is definitely worth the read.

5/5 – Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0c A Shader Approach
If you’ve never used D3D before, get this book. Although lots have changed since DX9, it still has lots of concepts (and more advanced things like skinning) that are still very much applicable. I wish I would have read this book a long time ago instead of fumbling through the API’s documentation (which is a good reference though.)