DirectX cannot be ignored; it has grown from a little used API to a major player for Games and Multimedia development. This book is about DirectX 5.2, which has already been superseded by DirectX 6. Keeping pace with this technology is not easy, however, for its intended market it is becoming the de facto standard.
DirectX encompasses a number of different capabilities: DirectDraw (surfaces, rendering, blitting, page flipping, palettes...) DirectSound (audio formats, 3D, capture...), DirectPlay (multi-user play, chat...), DirectInput (keyboard, mouse, joystick, force feedback...) and DirectSetup (application delivery). Notable by its omission and apparently the subject of a separate book is Direct3D.
The authors explain each subject well with code snippets and by discussion of a simple game that is used to illustrate various techniques. Interspersed within this text are a number of tips and suggestions to assist the aspiring multimedia programmer. The code examples are largely in C, so if C++ were to be used as the language of choice some 'translation' would need to occur. The accompanying CD contains the code and DirectX 5.2, this SDK also has code ex-amples that can be examined and mined for 'how-tos'.
In summary, for C/C++ multimedia developers, DirectX is almost a pre- requisite and this book goes a long way in explaining it. The one major omission is Direct3D. At over£40 and presumably the same again for the Direct3D book (when available) this does not make the package good value, but if DirectX is what you need and you need a book to learn about it then this one does help.