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+ - Book Review: CryENGINE 3 Cookbook->

Submitted by
Arndreth
Arndreth writes "I have been wanting to get my teeth into Crytek's CryENGINE3 for a while, and felt that reading CryENGINE3 Cookbook (authored by Dan tracy & Sean Tracy, published by Packt Publishing) would give me an ideal chance to learn how to use the engine and make a small game, especially as the engine was only recently made publicly available

The CryENGINE3 Cookbook offers an invaluable insight into the technology and methodologies that are apparent within Crytek's CryENGINE 3. The cookbook covers all aspects of development, with topics including Animation, Level-Design, Modelling and Programming. To cover all aspects of the book previous knowledge of image manipulation programs (such as Photoshop) and modelling programs (such as Maya) are required, in addition to having access to the CryENGINE3 SDK itself.

The book starts with how to setup CryENGINE3 on your computer, sequentially taking you through the recipes to ensure that CryENGINE3 is configured correctly, with later recipes showing the reader how to change the workspace within the editor to suit their styles of development. There are four main areas which the chapters can categorise themselves into: Programming, Modelling, Level Design and Animation. The benefit to having these categories is that all aspects of development within the engine are covered, although there doesn't seem to be a direct indication as to which category each of the chapters belongs to.

The chapters themselves are organished into relevant topics, such as Environment Creation, Artificial Intelligence and Creating Vehicles. Each chapter offers the reader a number of recipes to choose from relevant to the chapter. The recipes are written and ordered in such as way that it allows the reader to gradually learn the topic and the engine by working through the recipes sequentially. Readers who are already familiar with CryENGINE3 are able to .

Designing the level is the key stepping stone to producing a full quality level."Sandbox Basics" consists of a group of recipes that allow the reader to create a level step by step, from creating the new map file to being able to export the map and play it within the editor. Each of the recipes within the chapter are well versed and are easy to follow, preventing the reader from being swamped with baffling jargon. Leading on from this chapter readers are then able to look into more detailed environment creation, creating geometry, implementing AI and even their own vehicles into the game level. Due to the structure of the book, readers are not forced down a liner path of reading, allowing readers to use any recipe

The authors go into a good amount of depth when it comes to "Profiling and Improving Performance", detailing recipes on how to optimize the level using a number of different methods, such as using VisAreas, portals and light areas to optimize the rendering of the level. In addition the chapter looks into showing the reader how to enable the debug mode of the editor and offering a breakdown of each of the debug components.

The overall layout of the book is well thought out, with clear definitions of where each chapter starts, as well as giving a breakdown of what the chapter will be covering before the first recipe is displayed. The use of images within the CryENGINE3 Cookbook is put to excellent use, with each recipe using images to show the reader which tools they should be using at which point, in addition to showing the reader what the expected end result should look like. The images themselves are formatted well, showing only what needs to be shown.

Each of the recipes follows a set structure of what the recipe is aiming to achieve, how to use the engine to achieve the desired recipe result, followed by a detailed analysis of the concepts and procudures that were just covered in the recipe. Going into detail like this is very beneficial and makes it easier to understand the concepts and the methods behind how the tools and settings in the recipe work. Each of the recipes also details more information about the concept that it covered, as well as recommendations on which recipe to view next.One of the nice things about the Cookbook is that the recipes that have been written aren't random 'Oh hey this would be awesome to make a recipe for' recipe, they're beneficial to learning the CryENGINE3 architecture, in addition to common tasks that the reader will likely be performing while using the engine.

To summarise, One thing that I will definately comment on is the lack of direct programming within the book, as a book that describes itself as relevant for all disciplines, the most programming that was seen within the book was XML Configuration files, with no recipes detailing actual script snippets. Otherwise an excellent book and would recommend to anyone looking to learn the intricacies of the CryENGINE3 middleware platform, or looking to extend their knowledge of CryENGINE3. I found the book extremely insightful and felt that the content within the book was very enriching. The book felt like it was written in a progressive Cookbook style, as it made sense to follow the recipes in order to achieve a great result at the end, as opposed to some cookbooks that just randomly throw recipes in an irrelevant order, albeit loosely categorised.

CryENGINE3 Cookbook is available at Packt Publishing [--Slashdot.org EXTRA INFO--] Would it be possible to obfuscate my email address? Also, my email address for contact is contact@andrewroper.co.uk, my phone number being +44 07764-922-789"

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Book Review: CryENGINE 3 Cookbook

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