Microcomputer graphics. (book reviews) Steve Gray.
Microcomputer Graphics, by Roy E. Myers. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, MA. 296 pages, paperback $11.95. 1982.
The title of this latest of Addison-Wesley's Microbooks is somewhat misleading. It's not a general text on microcomputer graphics, but, as the slash on the corner of the cover indicates, it is "With Apple II Examples," which means that all the examples are written in Applesoft Basic. The back cover says the book "fully explains the graphics capabilities of the Apple II while introducing the mathematical and programming techniques central to computer graphics."
The nine chapters are divided into six parts: Introduction (The World of Microcomputer Graphics), the Computer (Graphics Characteristics of the Apple II, Text on the Graphics Screen), 2-D Graphics (Software Tools for Computer Graphics, Analytic Geometry and Computer Graphics), 3-D Graphics (Basics of 3-D Graphics, Hidden Line and Hidden Surface Routines), Animation (animated Images), and Peripheral Equipment and Software (System Components). Six appendixes provide information on number systems, shape tables, vectors, matrices, radian measure of angles, and program listings for the six images on the front and back covers.
As the chapter titles show, this is not like most of the personal computer graphics texts, which don't get much beyond what is in the first three chapters of this book, plus perhaps a little on animation. Myers assumes a knowledge of Basic, and starts right off with short programs for creating a bouncing ball and a space ship. Depending on the reader's knowledge of Basic and programming, he may find the going a little tough once he get to the chapter on Software Tools. However, Myers gives about as much help with matrices as can be expected without presenting a course on the subject. And when he gets to the 3-D chapter, he starts with a notice, "Warning--read sowly, mathematics ahead," and adds, "The process of displaying three-dimensional images requires additional mathematics. As is usual when traveling in rough terrain, we will progress more rapidly if we move slowly and carefully."
This is the best book of its kind seen so far by this reviewer, who would like to see it "translated" for several other personal computers. Myers makes a difficult subject comparatively easy to understand, and writes as simply as possible.
The book includes 73 programs, and a disk containing them all is available from the author for $15.
Review Grade: B