It’s SIGGRAPH 2008 time! That’s exciting to me, but not for the reason you think. I really couldn’t care much less for the conference itself. I mean, who needs to hear about yet another shadow mapping algorithm, when we know there will be another 10 presented in the next year, and 10 more in the year after that, ad nauseum. I’m not particularly thrilled about going to paper presentations when just about every paper is already on the net, neatly collected and categorized on Ke-Sen Huang’s amazing conference index page. All the cool people I like to hang out with go to GDC and not SIGGRAPH so there’s not much in terms of networking. And the classes at SIGGRAPH just put me to sleep with their academic droning, overall lack of excitement, and no understanding of who actually attends their lectures and what they want to hear. Ugh.
Books, books, books
No, what’s exciting is that SIGGRAPH is the time when all the publishers rush out a bunch of new books (as well as bring their full back catalog of old)! Mmmmm, bookaholics rejoice! OK, so I admit that these days I buy many more books than I read, but I still enjoy having the books stacked around me, within grasp, for easy reference when needed. Fact remains, you’re still more likely to find me at the conference bookstore than in a lecture.
Sadly publishers are a bit crap at announcing what’s new and what they’ll be selling at SIGGRAPH so you’ll have to go to the bookstore to find out. The notable exception was Springer who were nice enough to publish their SIGGRAPH 2008 book list. Still exciting though!
Something that’s really exciting is that Real-Time Rendering is out in a 3rd Edition, and released at SIGGRAPH. I don’t like to do a lot of plugging because, frankly, just like Sturgeon I find that 90% of everything is crap. But RTR3 is about as far from crap as you can get and is well worth plugging. I’ve seen the early prerelease copy that Naty brought along to the office a while ago, and it is a massive revamp of the 2nd edition. It is one heck of a brick of a book as well; don’t fall asleep reading this in bed, because it’ll crush your skull if it lands on you! If you don’t believe me, check out the table of contents. I did some proof-reading for the book so I’m getting a (signed!) freebie copy, but if there’s one book to buy this year it would be this one! (Well, that is, assuming you already have mine of course.) Congrats to Eric, Tomas, and Naty! Oh, and if you want to be cool like me and have a signed book, Naty informs that “Eric and I are doing the book signing at the A K Peters booth at 12:30 on Wednesday.”
Other than RTR3, if you care what books I recommend (not many) you can find them on my book recommendation list. My list is, as always, guaranteed 100% free of “Design Patterns”, “More Excremental C++”, and all that other tripe that belongs in the “for dummies” series.