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Search in Book Reviews

The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Beginning Game Audio Programming
Author:
Mason McCuskey
ISBN:
1-59200-029-0
Publisher:
Premier Press
Pages:
352pp + CD
Price:
£29-99
Reviewer:
Daire Stockdale
Subject:
games
Appeared in:
16-3
Although I have mixed feelings about many of the books in the Premier Press 'Game Development Series', this is a good book. It is unfortunately written in the first person, colloquial style of the other books; however it is possible this appeals to the younger, perhaps less experienced, audience that these books hope to address. Thetitle of the book explains that this is an introductory text, and it functions well in this role.

The book is composed of seventeen chapters, with each chapter providing just enough introduction and sample code to allow a user to accomplish something, get something working, and explore further as required. The book is to be complimented on its breadth: the author takes in a lot of ways of generating and playing sounds in games, including DirectX (of course), MIDI, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, CD, OpenAL and 'tracked' music. Of course, none of these are covered in great depth, which is fine, as the book is intended only as an introduction. The author appears to be both well informed and passionate about his subject, which makes the book pleasant to read. The book also serves as a useful introductory text to some areas of DirectX that can appear very dry and daunting, such as DirectX's dynamic soundtrack generation features, and the DirectPlay voice communication features. With a nod towards more advanced or ambitious readers, the author provides a nice explanation of discrete Fourier transforms, and their use in visualisation of music. He doesn't claim to be explaining anything to reference or academic depth, but instead provides useful links for further reading.

Although OpenAL and Ogg Vorbis do get a look-in, the book is primarily Windows oriented, and makes heavy use of DirectX for most of the chapters. It comes with a CD that provides working executables and Visual Studio projects to build them, which would be useful to any beginner. The CD also contains the DirectX, OpenAL, fmod and Ogg Vorbis SDKs. This is nice, as too many similar books neglect to provide on their CDs the really useful stuff, and just assume the reader will have access to a fast internet connection. The book also nicely avoids the habit this series of books has of spending several chapters just explaining Windows programming. In the introduction the author says the reader should already be familiar with C++ and Win32 programming. In all, this would be a good book for someone interested in adding game style sound features to an application.Design