API gurus: learning tips?

This is a discussion on API gurus: learning tips? within the Game Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Aside from reading tutorials and trying to make original programs using a certain API, what are some tips that can ...

  1. #1
    Shadow12345
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    API gurus: learning tips?

    Aside from reading tutorials and trying to make original programs using a certain API, what are some tips that can help me effectively learn an API (OpenGL in my case). I am thinking of keeping a notebook or notepad file of function prototypes, does that sound like a good idea?

    I would prefer that no tire kickers who do not know an API (win32, directx, opengl, etc) answer this, it is indended for people who already have experience and have some helpful suggestions that worked for them.

    Ok thanks in advanced!

  2. #2
    Used Registerer jdinger's Avatar
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    If keeping notes on function prototypes helps you learn the go for it. I did the same thing when I first started learning C++ except that I wrote down EVERYTHING.

    What I did when I first started learning DirectX is to take games that I'd previously written with GDI and rewrite them with DirectX. Since I already knew the logic behind the games, I was able to concentrate on learning the ins/outs of the new API (this is the same method I used when I made the jump from VB to C++, to help me learn the C++ syntax, etc.).

    Take a simple game that you've written in Console mode and rewrite it in OpenGL, like hangman or tic tac toe.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    1) grab a reference
    2) read read read
    3) code code code
    if you are attempting to do 3d, take some math courses, pick up some books, whatever. math is a big part of 3d, and im struggling because i do not have proficient math knowledge.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Read books, books, books, and then read more books.


    Some to look at are:


    Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus - Andre Lamothe
    ..a bit dated but will help you get started with DirectX and Windows (basically you write just enough code to satisfy Windows and then it will leave you alone to code your game)

    OpenGL Bible (not sure of the exact name)

    Can't beat Barnes and Nobles for books
    Barnes and Nobles has these and many more - also found a series by WorldWide publishing that covers everything from DirectDraw/Direct3D (now DirectX Graphics) to multi-player games.
    There are also 2 very good books (forget the name of them) that explain both OpenGL and Direct3D - Andre Lamothe also helped to write these. I'm sorry but I forget the name of them.

    Most of the 3D math stuff is fairly simple once you get the hang of it - there are about a billion algorithms out there to speed up your 3D code. Some good books to get algos from are:

    Game Programming Gems
    Game Programming Gems volume 2

    These are about 70 dollars at B&N but they are in hard back form which is very nice.

    All of the other books here are about 60 dollars with the exception of the Gurus book which is 50 dollars. It also included:
    • DirectX6 SDK (old but you can still use the interfaces to learn from - then when you are good - you can get the DX8 SDK and learn the new interfaces)
    • MSVC introductory edition (pretty much all you need)
    • Paint Shop Pro (not too bad for the money - in this case FREE!!)
    • demos
    • source
    • two mini-books on Direct3D
    • 3 3D engines - Genesis 3D and others
    • Some other utilities

    Not too bad for 50 bucks.

    There is another volume about Direct3D but I'm not sure it has been written yet and if it has I've not seen it.

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