Okay, I know c++ fairly well and have done several text-based games like battleship, hangman, and such.
I am wanting to start graphics programming now. I am thinking that I want to use DirectX since that seems to be the most powerful API, although it'd be major overkill for the programs I'm wanting to start out with ( I'm wanting my first games to be Chess and Blackjack or something ). After I program one or two simple games, what I'd really like to be able to do is program a game similar to Command & Conquer. I have searched a bit for DirectX books but have been totally lost. A few review sites recommend a book called "Programming Role Playing Games with DirectX 8.0", although I want a book that teaches more any sort of game. I have also touched into the Windows API using Petzold's "Programming Windows". Also, I don't know what software I need to get started... all I have now is MSVC++6.
I much prefer books to online tutorials, preferably one that actually works through an actual example or two (like I think Sams Teach Yourself books do).
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.