From Shawn's post: "... Good analog control has a huge impact on the feel of a game, and massaging your input values can do wonders to make things feel more controllable and responsive ...".Read on!
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
From John's post: "... I have been getting e-mails and have had some comments about the next release of Xna5D. I am happy to say that it won't be coming, at least not in the way anyone would expect it. I have been taking some time to take a deeper look into the design of the core as well as the design of XNA. I am specifically taking a look at content management, abstraction of services and entities. I have been working closely with a developer on the prior, working on a set of prototype classes that will serve as a complete replacement for any component functionality present in the Game class. I want more layers of functionality while maintaining 100% compatibility so that no one has to rewrite code if they do not want to. The latter, has yet to come to realization, but I have been researching some scripting and dynamic assembly programming so that code can be compiled and ran on the fly as well as loading and running of a complete assembly during game time ...".
Before you panic, then John adds: "... In the next few days I will be bringing a few changes to the site that reflect the new library and will at some point make the announcement about all the goodies ...".Watch this space!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
From Garret's post: " ... For those that use Netvibes, I have shared my XNA tab full of RSS feeds. I slimmed it back down a little bit so there aren't any more of the dead blogs.
Click --> Here <-- to add the page to your netvibes ...".
So, if you have a site with news, articles, tutorials, games or any other topic or content related to XNA -and also has a RSS-feed enabled- then head over XNA Portal main page and add your news feed by entering the url of your RSS feed.Nice one, guys!
This 6-page publication is specifically the book's opening chapter.
From the excerpt: "... This chapter explains why the COLLADA technology has been developed. It provides a global view, defines the problems addressed by the technology, the main actors, and the goals and perspectives for this new technology. It provides an historic overview and information on how COLLADA is being designed and adopted. The goal is to give the reader an insight into how the design choices are made and how this technology might evolve ...".
I don't know much about this format. I know is making a lot of noise in the Industry these days. So maybe it's interesting to read it and catch up at least on the concepts behind the format.Later.
The issue includes a full interview with Michal Madej -Chief Designer of the RPG "The Witcher", previews of "Empire Earth III" and "Frontlines: Fuel of War", and more, much more.Download it now!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
He mentions the awful truth of these peripherals as far as game programming is concerned.
From Shawn's posts: "... Gamepads, like keyboards, are not perfect. They are designed to be cheap, sturdy, and nice to hold: accuracy comes second ...".
You can find the installments here:
The posts give useful advice on how to deal with keyboards and gamepads as well as explains how XNA makes our lives easier for reading thumbsticks' absolute positions.Enjoy!
This second part of the interview to Shane Kim and Dave Mitchell covers "... their feelings toward Nintendo as competition, Microsoft's strategy of funding game development in Japan, the upcoming episodic Halo content, Peter Jackson, and more ...".
And yes, XNA GSE is mentioned throughout the interview. Take for instance: "... we've got over eighty universities from eight countries that are teaching, including Japan. In Japan, we've got Iwatani-san, the creator of Pac-Man, extremely excited about getting into the possibilities of Express. As a result, when he retires, he is going to be teaching at Tokyo Polytechnic University, using Game Studio Express to teach game design to future game developers ... ".
The creator of Pac-Man ... impressive, ugh?Ok, please all repeat after me: "XNA rules!" ... ;)
Monday, March 26, 2007
This time Thomas explains the initial How To's for benchmarking your algorithms and methods -and includes two source code samples.
From Thomas post: "... If benchmarking shows your algorithm has problems without implementation optimizations, you are probably better off with a different algorithm. Which isn't to say that these sorts of optimizations aren't still useful. But it's better to do these selectively, once you have your code implemented and have profiled it to find specific problem areas. We'll look at how to use a profiler to find these problem areas next week, in Part 3 ...".Cannot wait for part 3 ... :)
From Mykres' post: "... It has been a relatively quite week in the world of XNA; this must be due to the April Update coming soon. But through the week we have seen some discussions on Performance. I remember with Managed DirectX everyone seemed to be talking about the Perfect Game Loop, but with XNA it seems to be Performance and the Foreach functions, this month cornflower Blue gives us some thoughts on the Foreach loop.
We also got to see the release of some more applications including Sky burner and Realms of Keldar, both of these are games ported from another code base.
This week David Weller gives us an introduction into Source control with the express products, as well as giving some praise to Sharky on his Air Legends Game (Which now includes Multi Player Split Screen). But most of All David tells us that the XNA Teams are Hiring, note that you do not send your information to David please follow the correct path for any applications or Questions.
Also George from XNADevelopment has posted a brief game design spec for his Dream Build Play entry. ...".
Find the whole news update here ...
From GameDev.net's announcing post: "... Pricing for Blade3D 1.x will be $99 for non-commercial use, and $249 for commercial use. The open and free Beta 1 of Blade3D can be downloaded from the product website at http://www.blade3d.com ..."Let's the games begin ...
Saturday, March 24, 2007
In his latest post, Shawn talks about how to priorize and optimize things when dealing with different kind of programming, plus he opens the x-files of his life and reveals some dirty secrets of his past.
From Shawn's post: "... This is one of the reasons I like having a content pipeline that separates build time data processing from my runtime game code. The more computations I can move from my game into a custom content processor, the less product code I have to write. Processors are internal utilities that only ever have to run on my computer, so I can get away with all kinds of shortcuts that would never be acceptable if I was doing this processing as part of my shipping game code. ...".
I agree. What is more, for those of you who may think that the content processor could turn out to obstruct the creation of a game editor (say, for the PC platform) by using the XNA Framework, I'm afraid that you are forgeting something: "MS Build" console application and the "XNA Content Builder Application" comes to the rescue when you need to import content "on-the-fly" (unless of course you decide to make your own "dynamic" loader).Cheers!
Michael Klucher explains who are behind "XNA", or in better words, the teams in charge of the respective areas that make up "XNA" as a whole.
From Michael's post: "... To translate that a bit, XNA is a brand that encompasses all of the game development products, initiatives and services for developing games on Microsoft platforms. So you may be wondering "Who's responsible for the development of XNA Game Studio Express?" There are several teams that make up XNA ..."....
Friday, March 23, 2007
As you an see this is the first installment of a series so stay tuned to his blog.Cheers!
Good luck![When will be the day when only C# is requested? ... C++ is still a must ... also, what about "tele-working"? ... ok, let's stop the daydream ... back to the ultracave!]
First things first, mathematical concepts: undertanding vectors and matrices. You will learn how to operate with both as well as understand some relevant concepts like the difference between dot and cross products. Of course, further separated reads can be found on vectors and matrices.
Assuming that you've got that clear, you can then move onto the next concept: coordinate systems. What's the difference between local and world coordinates? What's tangent space? You'll get a first glimpse to these concepts, dont' worry.
Now enters transformation matrices. So, what's a transformation matrix? You will learn that in order to get the desired and or correct 3D projection, the order how you operate with matrices is the key.
Ok, let's take a larger step here, ... this topic is not particularly referred to 3D only, but it comes very handy when you want to build a game engine and start dealing with parent and children objects moving along together and thus, with matrices concatenation: scene-graph.
Implementing a scenegraph varies on a per-project basis, but if you understand the basic concepts you will do well, even if you don't (want to) call it a scene-graph in your source code or want to avoid its whole implementation but still preserve its functionality.
Well, as you can see, this is just an ad-hoc primer, built by just browsing the web with the help of search engines, so if you don't have money to buy a good book on the subject you will find that Internet is a great place to find the information you need if you're patient while searching.Have a nice read ...
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The slides are available in PDF files and can be found here.
By the way, for those that heard some rumors about FX Composer 2 coming out next month, the slides are clear, and I quote:
- Public Beta, early April 2007
- Final Release, early May 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Part 1 of 3:
Part 2 of 3:
Part 3 of 3:
From the article: "... With the release of XNA Game Studio Express just behind them, Gamasutra met with Microsoft Game Studios' corporate vice president Shane Kim, and Microsoft Game Developer Group director of marketing Dave Mitchell in the heat of the 2007 Game Developers Conference.
In this extensive interview, we discussed the Xbox 360's current placement in the market, the possibility of making harddrives mandatory, the state of Microsoft Game Studios in Japan, future Zune connectivity with the 360, Kim's thoughts about the competition, and the future of XNA Game Studio Express, both commercially and for educational purposes. ...".Interesting read.
Monday, March 19, 2007
If you did, you may have also noticed that I'm a fan of the animated movie "The Incredibles", but the video you are going to watch is way too much, so relax and ... enjoy??
Having watched this, only one question remains: what's next?
Sunday, March 18, 2007
From Mykres' post: "... Ok, that's it for this week; remember if you have anything that you would like added please post. Also one more thing if you have any questions on the XNA Framework, Game Studio Express or any other game development question you can drop over to http://creators.xna.com. Or you could jump onto the IRC and talk with us all live, we are currently living on Efnet under the Channel XNA, hope to see you there. ...".Watch this space!
From Kyle's post: "... Use the Separating Axis Theorem. Use a space-division scheme, like a Quadtree. Use multiple levels of collision detection to avoid unnecessary testing. Use a common bounding structure for all objects so they can interact generically. Those are things I learned when I did it. ...".Stay tuned!
From Dave's post: "... While it's true you could spend a whopping $595 (retail) for the full version of Visual SourceSafe 2005, you might instead look at alternatives. One such product that I heartily recommend (not as a Microsoft employee, but as an individual) is SourceGear's Vault. ..."Downloading it right now ...
From Machaira's post: "... The sessions today were all about DirectX and XNA. Good stuff. The future of XNA is looking incredible is about all I can say. The team is dedicated to making it the best possible tool for game development that they can. They're all great guys too. ...".Browse to this site to read the full post.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
From Eli's post: "... I wanted to get the whole story. Plus, this was an ideal reason to learn to use the Windows and Xbox 360 CLR profiling tools, which I've put off doing for some time. So, I figured I'd do just that: do a foreach loop over a bunch of collections, use the profilers to see if I'm making garbage, and hopefully we'd all learn something in the process. ...".
It's a nice read, but most important, the results Eli's obtained are quite interesting, so go ahead, pay a visit to "Foreach, Garbage, and the CLR Profiler" and read on.Enjoy!
Friday, March 16, 2007
The update fixes some minor bugs, boosts performance, and adds new features but it requires a videocard that supports Shader Model 3.0 -if you happen to have a lowerend GPU, say, the nVidia GeForce 6600 card (like I do), make sure to run the game in a lower resolution to seed up things a little bit more.
Those big ogres are awesome.Great level ... Cannot wait to get the book ... ;)
Why can't any programer take the proper time to execute this task? The quick answer: because it's too boring ...
... and please bear in mind that we are leaving out any references to other aspects of the task, like how hard is to find common rules to follow (and learn them by heart) and, of course, writting the proper words or explanation so that any person (including yourself at a later time) can understand what is going on with that particular piece of code.
Well, exactly a week ago Eric ("TehOne") and I exchanged a couple of messages about tools that make your life easier when you want to document source code (by the way, having read the code of his mouse component, one realizes the great benefits of properly commenting source code).
There used to be an open project called "nDoc" (I bet you know it) which never reached a beta stage for v2 (which would support the whole .NET Framework 2, once released the final build).
Unfortunately, the project was abandoned on the alpha stage. But luckily, Microsoft came to the rescue with "Sandcastle": a console application that builds documentation from the xml files that the Visual Studio IDE generates by request (even in the express editions).
"Console application"? Yes, you've read it. And I know what you're thinking: "Why things have to be so complicated?". Well, to answer that let me tell you that there exists some open GUI projects that will ease the task, being -in my honest opinion- one of the most useful and easy-to-use applications: the "SandCastle Help File Builder".
The beauty of it is that it really works and does a great job with any XNA-based programs, but there are some things that you must know though:
- The process verifies any dependencies for the assemblies you want to document, so you have to specify whether you want to include the documents of these dependencies in the final help file or not. In case of the latter, you have to manually add the assemblies to the dependencies' collection in the GUI.
- Sometimes, when you want to open the "Namespaces" form -so as to tell the GUI which namespaces must be documented and which ones must not - you may find that that an exception is thrown by the application and not all the namespace or none are listed. If that is the case, you can edit with the notepad the project file (".shbf"), adding the missing namespaces:
<namespaceSummaryItem name="NamespaceRoot.MyNamespace1" isDocumented="true">This is an example.</namespaceSummaryItem>
<namespaceSummaryItem name="NamespaceRoot.MyNamespace2" isDocumented="false" />
Now, you may say "Ok, but I still have to type the whole comments, explanations and links to all those "see" and "seealso" references (like, say, complete namespaces)" in VS IDE. Right. But there's exist an add-on for Visual Studio that -even though it does not miracles in some cases- makes the task a lot easier: "GhostDoc". I must admit that never used this add-on, but for what I can see and read in this site it seems to be a great tool. However, it does not support express editions ... :(
To sum up, take your time to comment the code, find the method that suits you, but don't leave the task as an "never-ending" ToDo entry; just believe me you won't regret it.
Take my case for instance, it took me two days to properly comment the source code of my Warm-Up Challenge entry! (And yes, I'm still working on it -on my sparetime- even though the challenge is over ... Why? Becuse it helps me learn and implement my-own "best practices" on designing and implementing a game with XNA -either for the main compo or any other compo to come). And by "properly" I mean the way I want to see the comments on the final documentation.
So remember: do as I say, not as I do ... or did, actually ... ;)
BTW, if someone happens to know any program like GhostDoc that works with VS Express editions please drop a comment (and or message to my email address). Ditto for any free application/add-on that helps building Design Class Diagrams of .NET applications.'till later.
After playing the game I was really curious about the way these guys had implemented that tractor beam fx ("graviton ray" as they call it), so I decided to make use of their public invitation to get the source code so I contacted them a couple of days ago.
The result: they contacted me back, provided a link to a zip file and gave me the rights to access the server in order to download it.
Thus, having downloaded the zip file, I feel the obligation of publicly thanking them for sharing the source code of the game.
Great game, great code, great "G"enerosity!Now, back to the Ultracave ...
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Download it now!
I bet you do, so jump to XNA Matrix site and be amazed!
Thanks to dczraptor for sharing the links with all of us.Cheers!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
If you know links to sites where builds of "Cracklin Crackles", "Earth vs. Mars", and "Viduce" are available for download and want to share them with the XNA community, please drop a comment.See ya!
For those that do not know, G is one of the winning entries in the Dream.Build.Play's Warm-Up Challenge Competition.
Very cool entry, the eye-candy is great and the gameplay is really funny.Download the latest build from this link, and let's the joy begin!
The video shows Andy Wilson's first XNA project: real-time terrain generation with XNA through the use of a depth-sensing video camera and real world objects.Enjoy!
Monday, March 12, 2007
Today, Joran has announced that due to an increase in his workload, he has no time left to spend in order to bring more weekly updates to the XNA Community.
It's sad to hear this news. However, at the same time, after reading his post, it's completely understandable.
But not everything is bad news: "... On the upside, this means I should be able to get back to making tutorials. Although, with the increased workload, I doubt there will be one per week, like during last year ...".So let's thank Joran for all the efforts he made in order to bring this invaluable resource week by week and wish him luck in his new "split" of activities.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
From Blade3D's forums: "We are happy to announce the availability of the latest build of Blade3D.
Here is a list of features and improvements for this weeks release.
- Entirely new multimedia help system with embedded video tutorials
- Integrated web based asset delivery mechanism for textures, models and modules
- Over 400 free textures and more than 70 models ready for delivery
- New menu commands for quick model import, selection and scene insertion
- Improved, more intuitive translation tool
- Ability to define custom bone controllers for animated models
- New animation graphs provide basis for total animation control in future
- Ability to import/export any part of the module to shareable packages
- Many bugs fixed
Registered Beta 1 users should go here to download the latest build
Enjoy!"So, ... enjoy!
Friday, March 09, 2007
From TehOne's post: "Here is my Mouse2D DrawableGameComponent. I started out just wanting to be able to put a custom Mouse pointer/cursor on the screen instead of the windows mouse. From there the code just seemed to keep evolving more and more. After I got my custom pointer on the screen, I wanted to then place a Texture2D where it clicked (this was mostly for debugging etc, but I think turned out to be useful for other things). I could see this feature being used in map editors maybe, or something where you want to give the user the ability to design what they see on the screen."
"As always, I would really appreciate some feeback on this. I'm sure people can make use of this code (especially beginers). And I'm even more sure that it can be improved with input from others (especially those with more experience then me)."
Let's give the guy some feedback.
It's a set of e-magazines written by UK game reviewers that anyone in the world can download for free. Yes, for free!
But what is so special about this magazines? Well, not only you will find previews, reviews, interviews, and contests, but also as the magazines are dispatched as PDF files there's lots of multimedia content included, like demo videos and trailers of brand-new game releases and upcoming games.
The magazines comes in this four different flavors:
- 360Zine: for XBOX 360 gamers.
- PCGZine: for PC gamers.
- HGZine: for Sony PSP and Nintendo DS gamers.
- PESFanzine: official "Pro Evolution Soccer" e-magazine.
So, what are you waiting for, go and get them now!
BTW, 360Zine #3 includes an exclusive interview with Larry Hyrb, Microsoft's Xbox Live Director of Programming, also known as "Major Nelson".Enjoy!
You can find complementary information on the following sites:
And if you think this is it, you are wrong! Browse to this link and download Microsoft XNA Developer Slides presented to this year's GDC (which cover many interesting topics).Too much info to process in no time. Ok, let's start ...
Thursday, March 08, 2007
So it must be true ... :( ... but is this really the end for "Captain America"? We shall see ...Godspeed in the afterlife Steve!
Joystiq shares a lot of interesting information from GDC, including four posts with exclusive videos of these ongoing XNA Challenges:
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
- TheZMan has some news to share with us, which range from "vague" to "not heard before", including "pie in the sky ideas", and
- Benny comments on creating "Dungeon Quest" (Day 1) as well as posts some pictures of GDC and San Francisco.
Will Andy find a better place to connect to the Internet and post updates? Will Benny's team meet the main goal on time?Let's keep our fingers crossed and stay tuned to their blogs ...
We apologize in advance if this creates an inconvenience, but we are very excited about the new opportunities this will offer to our entire community.
We look forward to seeing you there! ..."I know what you're thinking "LetsKillDave", right? ... ;)
Well, on XNA GSE's forums there's a new thread -regarding the same matter- where Jim Perry has posted a very useful link to a site with a list of available obfuscators for .NET (as well as discontinued ones).
The beauty of the site is that for each obfuscator listed, you will also know which versions of the .Net framework it works with (included the compact framework), whether there's a free version to download, when it was last updated, the vendor, etc.
Hope it helps, bye![BTW, I have tried to find a comparison chart in the Internet (independent from any vendor) with no success so far ... :( ]
In short, there will be a total of 20 winners organized in three places:
- One winner of the first place's prizes.
- Two winners of the second place's prizes.
- 17 winners of the third place's prizes.
Thus, only one indie will take the prize of all prizes: the long awaited publishing contract deal.
Watch out for the deadlines: "Enter March 5 - July 2, 2007".So, let's code!
Congrats to the winners!
[BTW, do you have links to builds of any of the winning games? Then feel free to post them here.]
Monday, March 05, 2007
As correctly informed by Lori Ada Kilty (after I asked for help through the XNA Creators Feedback), there is no need to be logged in to get to any content.
So, if you happen to find that when you try to download, say, the "Simple Animation Sample" zip from the site, a page pops up asking you to create a GamerTag and then re-log in, just pay no attention.
Instead, clean you browser's cache, and re-try the download request; you will see that it just works great ...
Of course, if your country is listed on the registration page, don't be a lazybones and create a GamerTag.'till next time ...
I should have checked any news on my RSS-feeds subscriptions earlier ... that's why the name of this site: "Do as I say, not as I do ..." (I'm not going to delete it to live in the shadows of shame as ways of auto-punishment; now where is my "dumb" cone-hat?).
The XNA Team has informed in its latest blog's post three relevant things:
- XNA Creators Club Online community site is open for business,
- Dream-Build-Play's "main" competition has gone live, and
- New partnerships and exclusive benefits for XNA Creators Club Premium members.
The community site is a great place to start with XNA since it offers a growing set of educational tutos, starter kits, samples and so on.
D.B.P.'s main competition is the dream came true for any indie developer that was/is willing to make it into the pro leagues: "The Perfect Compo".
Last but not least, the new benefits that "premium" members will enjoy are great: SOFTIMAGE/XSI Mod Tool, TorqueX Engine, Allegorithmic ProFX, among others.
So, go ahead and read this post, for the complete information.Happy coding! ;)
"Dream-Build-Play’s main competition has gone live. Fame, fortune and a chance at global envy await you in our Dream-Build-Play competition. The grand prize is a $10,000, an awesome Alienware PC with a smokin’ fast AMD FX processor and ATI graphics card, 3D modeling software, Xbox 360, XNA Creators Club subscription tokens and an amazingly cool Xbox Live Arcade publishing contract for your chance to get your game published on Xbox Live Arcade. Do you have what it takes to win all that and more? Then get started on making your dream game using XNA Game Studio Express and head on over to http://www.dreambuildplay.com/ to enter it into the contest."
Quite interesting ... now we only have to wait for someone in the XNA Team to confirm whether "the cat is out of the bag" or not.
In the meantime, hands on our respective XNA projects!
What is more, the issue give further detail about the next phase of the D.B.P. contest, like a list with the prizes!
For those of us not subscribed to this magazine (for whatever reason), there's a comment left by David Weller on the above-mentioned thread that will make us stay tuned for news: "Ask me again on Monday ...".Ok, Monday ... now let's stay tuned for news!
Sunday, March 04, 2007
The page provides links to creator's pages, download sections as well as screenshots.
If you want to submit a link to your entry just contact them.See ya.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Check out this screenshot:
Worth testing, imho ...[Note: in order to receive the beta you must register here.]
From Ziggy's post: "In this example I have created a simple application that creates an XNA Device object and renders a triangle on the screen. This sample supports screen resizing and uses a scroll bar to rotate the triangle around in a circle."
Nice one![For those that want to dig into this subject, don't forget to check this post by Shawn Hargreaves on the matter].
Eric has kicked off with a couple of posts with source code:
From Shawn's post: "... While I was writing the menu system, the lead artist, a grizzled young man named Johnny Christmas, gave me a piece of advice I never forgot. "Listen here, young lad", quoth he: "the secret to making a game feel polished and professional lies in the transitions ...".
Stay tune to Shawn's blog for upcoming articles on the matter.Now, that's it! It's late and I'm tired soooo ... hoooawmmn ... I need to sle .. ep, can .. nnot ... re..each .... my ...bb.. ed ... zzz ... zzz ... zzz ...
Man, the eyecandy included in this game -which is under development- is quite amazing.
You can read what's going on with this project here (as well as watch a demo video of the cave).Cannot wait for a demo build!
Friday, March 02, 2007
The ZMan is calling for "burning issues" related to DirectX and XNA.
The reason: he'll be attending the upcoming MVP Summit so he's kindly offering, for those of us that cannot be present, his help to make sure that your questions reach the DirectX and XNA teams. Of course, the abovementioned help is subject to availability of time.
From ZMan's post: "When I return from GDC I have the pleasure of attending the MVP Summit. This is a chance for all the MVPs (and a few special guests) from around the world to meet up (some of us only know each other via email) and get some face time with the product groups. Most of the internal discussions will be under NDA so don't expect any big announcements. However I do get a chance to have Q&A with the DirectX and XNA teams. So if you have any burning issues then send me an email and if I have time I may be able to bring it up. I think I know all the MVPs who will be up here, but if you are coming and want to have a beer then also drop me a line and we can arrange to meet up.".
As I say, I did my homework and sent 11 "burning" questions ... at least, for my concern.Well, Zman, thanks a lot and enjoy those beers!