Monday, April 30, 2007


Realmware Corp. has recently released the "Guidelines for Evaluating Visual3D.NET Beta 1".

From the guidelines: "... In order to make your evaluation a positive experience that helps us better Visual3D.NET and ensures you have the information you need work through crucial issues we ask you to adhere to the following guidlines during your evaluation of Visual3D.NET ...".

If you are a betatester, you should have already read them or be reading them right now.


There's an interesting article available at Ziggyware -"Extending the Bitmap Font Maker Utility", which explains how to add more image extensions to the tool recently released by the XNA Team for the creation of bitmap fonts.

From Ziggy's article: "... Extending the Bitmap Font Maker Utility to support multiple file formats is a very easy task since the .NET System.Drawing.Bitmap class wich the font utility uses to write its output with already supports several file formats via the System.Drawing.Image base class ... I have chosen to implement bmp, jpg, png and tiff ...".

Read on!


Andy -TheZMan- has published the third part of his "Introduction to XNA" series, this time focusing on audio effects plus text rendering.

From the article: "... Before you go any further I need to explain how XNA works on the Xbox 360. Microsoft created a version of the .Net compact framework that runs on the Xbox 360, as well as Xbox versions of the XNA assemblies. To get these assemblies onto your Xbox 360 and enable deployment of XNA framework requires that you join the Creators Club which has a cost associated. The changes you will make for this article will work on the PC too, but you will not be able to play on the Xbox 360 without this. Microsoft have provided a video to help you get this installed: Getting Started with the XNA Creators Club ...".

This article is available on the Coding4Fun site.


NekoCake analyzes how to measure the performance of your game by using FPS ratio and frame time.

From the article: "... I’ll look at what FPS values actually mean, how we count them in game and then why it’s a bad idea to profile your games performance using FPS as your only metric ...".

It uses the new SpriteFont class to render the performance data on screen.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


One of the questions we developers usually ask is "what can I do to reduce the size of my executable and content files?". The answer for audio content has been provided by Mitch, who has published the process you must follow so as to compress audio using the XACT tool.

From the post: "... there is some support for compressing your audio files in the current product, using the XACT tool; it's just not easy to discover. XACT supports ADPCM compression on Windows and XMA compression on the Xbox 360. You can get about 4:1 compression with ADPCM and even better with XMA. So while perhaps not as high as some other encodings, such as WMA, it does offer quite a substantial savings ...".

Let's compress some audio files!

Friday, April 27, 2007


As announced by Benjamin Nitchke, the new site for the just-released "Racing Game" starter kit is now up and running.

From the announcement: "... The download file is 130 MB in size and will eat up almost 290 MB of your hard disk space extracted. It is also only available in the .vsi format and can't be used in anything but XNA Game Studio Express or Visual C# Express. The main reason for this incredible size is the Textures directory, with uses mainly uncompressed .TGA files ...".

Let's race!


There's a new version of the XNAGPUParticles application at, with adjustments to the way the vertex texture system works among other things.

From Mike's post: "... it takes a texture and picks out pixel colours from the texture and maps it onto a large vertex buffer which then is used as the input to my Vetex Texture particle system ...".



How important is to you being able to dynamically load ".wav" files into wavebanks with XNA? This is what Mitch is asking. Why? Go on reading ...

From Mitch's post: "... The native XACT APIs have added the support for programmatic wave playback. I.e. at runtime, you can load *.wav files into a Wavebank and play them from there, without needing to create a project and compile the binaries. This is something we're looking at supporting in our next release, but I want to gauge how much interest there is in this feature? Keep in mind that implementing this feature may very well mean we can't do some other feature ...".

So how important is this to you? Hurry up and post your answer here.


Rhysingsun has posted a code snippet for autoformatting multiple lines of text when using the new XNA's fonts system.

From the post: "... I've been putting off my GUI because I didn't want to redesign once the XNA team's font support came out, here's the first trick I created, to help myself with my GUI: autoformatting multiple lines of text. If you look into the documentation it says that the new text functionality will go the a new line with the text if the '\n' character is found. However, this makes for some static game design. What if I want the text block to be wider? ...".

Watch this space!


By this time, we're all aware that with the just-released update for the XNA Framework a lot of goodies were given away, like a built-in implementation to handle fonts rendering.

Shawn tell us what the font system is capable of for bitmap fonts, plus unveils a handy tool that helps you create a bitmap-font base which you can then enhace with your favorite graphic tool, like Photoshop, Gimp and such.

From the post: "... TrueType fonts are convenient, but you may sometimes find yourself wanting a more distinctive look for your text. You can create custom typefaces by arranging a set of character images into a single bitmap, separating the areas between each letter with a pure magenta marker color ...".

Read on!


Do you believe in second chances? What could you do if your game didn't make it in the Dream.Build.Play contest? Maybe (1) you decide to hold to your more-than-8-hour daytime job -plus you quit your dreams of cash, more cash and glory- or (2) the "Intel® Game Demo Contest 2007" could be your next solution.

However, you'll have to consider that the contest calls for entries elegible for the following two categories:

  1. Best Threaded Game: for the demo that best shows off the computational power of a multi-core processor, and
  2. Best Game on the Go: for the demo that best shows advances in laptop gaming.

Life is not that easy, isn't it? Well, before say "naaahh, it's not for me ...", check the prizes and the official rules.

From the rules: "... Contest begins March 5th, 2007. Registration Forms must be received by July 1st, 3:00pm PST 2007. Community judging to determine finalists will begin July 1st, 3:00pm PST 2007 and run until August 1st, 3:00pm PST 2007. Executables of finalists must be received by August 15th, 3:00pm PST 2007. Winners will be announced at Austin Game Developer Conference on September 5th, 2007, and published on the contest website the same day ...".

Let's code!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Ok, so you downloaded the refresh update for XNA GSE v1.0, read the readme page and updated the framework on your system, but have you happened to check the new content available at

I knew it! Don't be a lazybones, pay a visit to the XNA Creators Club Online site and:

  • Download the new starter kit: finally! The long-awaited "Racing Game" (formerly called "XNA Racer"),
  • Download the new samples: 3D audio, bloom, 2D particles, and many more.
  • Read the new articles: data structure and the shader series,
  • Watch the new video tutorials: advance audio series, and,
  • Download the new utilities: the "Bitmap Font Maker" utility and controller graphics.


[Are you an "XNA'ER"? Sounds cool, doesn't it?]


This month issue of PCGZine is now available for free download. As always, you have read it right, free download.

The issue includes an interview to the president of Massive Entertainment -the one behind "World in Conflict" game- plus a preview of "Enemy Territory: Quake Wars", a review of "The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar", and more, much more.

So, what are you waiting for?! Download it now!


Ok, at first that was what I thought: if you check the site, there's no many info available, nor downloads, well it's like a shell with no content and last submission of ??? was done on January, 2007.

However, after some search I happened to find a google group where you can actually check some XNA Framework's assemblies being ported to OpenGL.

As it's seems to be in the first stages of development, does anyone know whether it's a serious project?


Andy ("TheZMan") has written a good review of Benjamin Nitschke's book "Professional XNA Game Programming".

From Andy's post: "... The postman left a nice gift for me this morning, a copy of Ben's book. I've had a grand total of about 30 minutes to look at it so don't consider this a full review.... Firstly you can get the code for the book included versions of XNA Racer and XNA Shooter from the Wrox website. The XNA Racer and XNA Shooter sites are not up yet but Rocket Commander has been up for quite a while. I have no idea if the Racer game is identical to what was supposed to show up on the creators club site or a different version, but looks like the book version is available first ...".

Although, Benny didn't include in the book's readme file some of the XNA-news blogs that have been working hard to keep you up-to-date in the XNA world ... snif! snif! ... :( ... I still believe this is a great book, so go and buy it ... ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Kobingo has announced that the demo of the "Bullet Hell Tactics" game is almost complete, and along with the announcement comes a new video of its gameplay:



Epsicode has posted a new video of his game: "Teh Game".



... if that's the question you've been asking your-self lately, then you need to pay a visit to at least the following three sites:
  • XNA GSE 1.0 Refresh ReadMe: of course.
  • Let's Kill Dave blog: list of "big" things pointed out by Dave.
  • The ZBuffer site: Andy publishes a handy list of changes in the API.

Of course, you should also check XNA Creators Club Forums, since there have some questions on issues while installing, updating past code and so on.

Hope it helps.


Lawrence has announced that you'll do fine with the latest release of his game -"Sharky's Air Legends"- and the "refresh" update for XNA GSE v1.

From Lawrence's post: "... So I won’t be needing to rush out a new release to be compatible. You’ll be fine with the last one ...".



Jamezila from has submitted a handy tutorial on post processing bloom/blur effects to Ziggyware, which includes source code and a zip file to downlaod.

Read on!


Shawn has posted and interesting tutorial on how to handle discrete decision making from the changes in the values of continuos analog input: just by adding "hysteresis".

From Shawn's post: "... The problem is, game simulations tend to produce a lot of small and basically random fluctuations from one frame to the next. When these values are used to control a discrete decision, and when the input value is close to the decision threshold, the results can look pretty silly ...".

There's an interesting discussion going on there, so I suggest you read the post.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Finally!!! The first update for XNA GSE v1 is now out ...

From the XNA Team Blog's post: "... We’ve gone over many of the features outlined in the announcement we made at GDC 2007. One thing we didn’t really cover previously is compatibility. The entire team made a conscious effort to maintain compatibility with this release.

Your game should just recompile in 1.0 Refresh with no changes required. Any game that is compiled should run fine if you have 1.0 Refresh installed.As mentioned, you can continue to use 1.0 on your Windows computer with 1.0 Refresh on the Xbox 360 console.

Games that are built on 1.0 Refresh may run on 1.0; however, if you are using new functions or features in the XNA Framework (such as font functionality), it will not work properly.You can download the XNA Framework 1.0 Refresh for including in your installer as you start to upgrade your games ...".

Donwloading it right now!

Monday, April 23, 2007


There's a new post on the XNA Team Blog: Dave Mitchell comments on the following:
  • XNA Creators Club membership extension (4 months "on the house"),
  • Community resources, assets, premium content, etc.,
  • The update to XNA Game Studio Express 1.0,
  • The brand new "Club Packaging" format, and
  • Dream-Build-Play compo.

From Dave's post: "... As a gesture of thanks to our incredible community and especially those who have jumped on board the XNA Creators Club train earlier than others, we’ve extended each and every active XNA Creators Club membership that was active on March 5th by an additional 4 months ...".

Read on!


JoeN's asking "Which Visual Studio version will you use?".

From Joe's post: "... As we finish up the refresh release to XNA Game Studio Express, we are looking at the next major version and some decisions that need to be made. I wanted to get some impressions from people around a particular topic that I am currently looking at.

As many of you know, Visual Studio is releasing a new version at the end of this year (codenamed Orcas). One of the major features we are planning to add in the next major version of XNA Game Studio Express is the ability to create games in all SKUs of Visual Studio (Express, Standard, Pro, etc). With Orcas coming, the next obvious question is which release of Visual Studio should/can we support ...".

Also, there's a thread on the Creator's site on this regard.

This is an important step in the future of XNA GSE, so c'mon and share your thoughts!


If so, then just visit Mykres Space site and download the files with these images:

Quite useful!


Head onto Benjamin Nitschke's blog to see some photos from this year's "Quo Vadis" Conference in Berlin, where Benny's showed off some of the XNA-based games he made (like the formerly called "XNA Racer" and GDC's "Dungeon Quest").

From Benny's post: "... There was not much interaction with the audience because most people had no questions, but I talked my way through it and I heard some positive feedback about XNA later ...".

Shy audience, ugh?


Ziggyware is hosting a contest: write an XNA article/tutorial, submit it to Ziggyware, and you will have the chance to get USD 100 if you're picked as the winner.

From Zygote's post: "... Ziggyware is hosting an XNA tutorial/article contest. Simply submit a quality article covering any range of XNA related content.

Top prize is currently One Hundred Dollars USD. Contest deadline is May 30th 2007 ...".

So, do you want to win 100 bucks?

Friday, April 20, 2007


Microsoft has released the first beta build of the next version of Visual Studio product family (known as "Orcas").

The first great thing is that you can donload and betatest a fully functional version of the Team Suite, either by downloading ISO images -not available yet- or the VPC images (for the latter, you will need to download Virtual PC 2007). I had previously downloaded March CTP's VPC images and everything worked ok.

But this time, there's something more, with this release comes the beta builds for the VS Express editions. Although I have not installed VC# Express "Orcas" yet -I'm downloading the installation files as I write this post- it seems we'll be getting an object-relational UML designer tool (probably a lite version of it).

Great news!

[BTW, does anybody know whether the upcoming release of XNA GSE will support "Orcas" VC# express edition?]


There's a new tutorial available on site entitled: "Introduction to XNA: The Microsoft 2D and 3D Game Development Platform" -by Mike Gold.

From Mike's post: "... Although I couldn't name all the episodes, I think I watched every original Star Trek episode that was produced. My fascination with Star Trek didn't end with the original, but continued into the Next Generation. After that, I kinda lost track...Anyway, this month, Microsoft came out with an article in MSDN on the XNA framework, written by Charles Cox and Michael Klucher. I became intrigued and decided to pursue exploring the XNA Framework. In doing so, I created this simple example. Most of the inspiration for this article didn't come from the MSDN article, but from a game called elves revenge on a website called Errolian. By examining this code, I was able to piece together this demonstration of XNA ...".

Read on.


Yes, you've read it right: on the upcoming release, the XNA Framework will add a "built-in" per pixel lighting -through the "BasicEffect" class, and Shawn's explains how to deal with it.

From Shawn's post: "... Per-vertex lighting is efficient, and it looks good on models that contain lots of highly tessellated triangles or which don't use too much specular. It can look pretty bad on lower resolution meshes, though, ..."`.

Read on ...


Bullet Hell Tactics' getting a graphics update as you can tell from this catchy titlescreen.

From the post: "... Tonight I worked with some new graphics for player shield and the "energypacks" the enemies drop. Sometimes it's fun to just sit and play around with colors and some filters in photoshop, what a difference - so much better! ...".


Thursday, April 19, 2007


Check out Aaron's blog for his first tutorial, which covers setting up his GUIManager class.

From Aaron's post: "... The simplest way to begin is to use the GUI_Testbed project as a starting template. I simply created a new source file containing a class called Tutorial1, and set that as the startup Game object in Program.cs. You could also just use the existing GUI_Testbed.cs if you don't feel like starting from scratch ...".

More news after the break ...


Thomas has published the latest installment of the series on software efficiency and optimization.

From the post: "... I'm trying to decide where to take this blog from here. I could continue focusing on software engineering as it applies to games. Or I could start taking in-depth looks at particular game algorithms and how to implement them for XNA — for example, I could show how I used the minimax algorithm with alpha-beta pruning for finding the best move in my Othello game, and how to implement it in XNA; or show how to implement the A* algorithm for pathfinding. Or I could start showcasing my Dream-Build-Play entry and how various parts are implemented. If you have any thoughts or preferences, please leave a comment ...".

To get to the above-mentioned part of the post -actually the final part- you'll need to read a bit more than usual ... trust me ... so you'd better hurry up and start reading right now!


Eli's second part of the series is available now.

From Eli's post: "... For you impatient readers, here's my results: As I just found out, this holds true on the Xbox360 as well. Read on to find out how I came to this conclusion, and maybe learn something about (deep breath) The XNA Framework Remote Performance Monitor for Xbox 360 ...".

So, want to find out? Read on ...


Joseph Molnar, whose blog is entitled "The Pensive Gamer", has published a series of interesting articles on XNA and threading:
  1. XNA Game Loop And Threading,
  2. XNA Threading - The Problems, and
  3. XNA Threading - Locks.
A must read.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


John Sedlak has published a new video showing off the new added menu elements and sounds to his version of "Tower Defense".

From John's post: "... A lot of progress made on Tower Defense over the week so far. We have weapons rotating and shooting as well as music and sound! Check out the new page for the game to see the latest screenshots and get the latest code release here. Note that although it comes with Thrust DLLs, it is in no way a release of the library and could be buggy and/or inefficient. Also note that I realize the video isn't the smoothest of gameplay videos, Camtasia seems to really hog up the computer when recording nowadays and I can't seem to get a smooth video anymore. I assure you the game runs at a consistant 63fps when not recording ...".


Tuesday, April 17, 2007


The XNA Team has announced that a new article about XNA GSE -by Charles Cox and Michael Klucher- is available on May issue of MSDN Magazine.

From the announcement: "... The article presents a high-level view of XNA Game Studio Express, and then walks through how to create a copy of Spacewar and modify the source to add new functionality to the game--in this case, a shield ...".

Cannot wait, ugh? Then get to the article by following this link.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Machaira has published a couple of examples, being one of them a class that manages units in a RTS game.

From the post: "... In response to a post on the Creators Club Online forums, I whipped up a quick sample of a class that manages RTS (or any genre) units. Check it out here. If I get a chance, I'll spruce it up a little since the current version is totally barebones (what do you expect for a half-hours, if that, worth of work) ...".

Well, I guess it's all for today ...


Shawn has published his latest installment on lighting: "Equalizing artwork".

From the post: "... Any time you draw more than one thing on the screen you need to think about how well their colors, brightness, and contrast levels will fit together. By far the most important tools for controlling this are the lighting and fog settings ...".

Read on!


Uhmm ... typo, sorry, my mistake: "A Better GetService" by Rhysyngsun.

From the post: "... so recently there's been a lot of major discussion on the XNA forums about GameComponents. Now, I love the idea of having integrated components that automatically get get updated and also drawn in the case of DrawableGameComponent, however, when it comes to accessing the Game class's Services. I also have at issue being able to access said Services in a class that is not a GameComponent. I understand the XNA's team for making the services the way they are, however I don't want to have to derive from GameComponent and add it to the GameComponentCollection every time I want to check to have access to the ContentManager or whatever. For the most part, input components are the only issue that I have with the way Services are set up ...".

Read on!


Maybe not this time ... it's the new name for the Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E).

Want to know whether XNA GSE will integrate it? Then read David's post on this regard.

From the post: "... How can I use Silverlight with my XNA Framework-based games?" I will directly answer that we have ...".

Curious? I told you to read David's post ... ;)


... want to know whether he's right? Go and download "Air Legends" game.

From Lawrence's post: "... I’ve decided I’m going to invoke “Sods Law” once again, and take the hit for the team. I’ll release early after all. If the XNA release comes shortly afterwards then so be it. You’ll all be able to thank me! ...".

A must have ...


There's a new compo with a prize of USD 100k to help you produce your own TV Show for the Xbox Live.

From Major Nelson's post: "... Got a great idea for a TV Show? How would you like $100k to produce your great idea AND have it digitally delivered over Xbox LIVE?

Hit this site for details on how to sign up and get in on the competition. To enter you must be over 18 and live in any of the 25 countries where Xbox Live is available. Fire up the camcorder and good luck ...".

Are you one of the lucky guys living in any of the eligible countries? If so, start thinking on an idea, right now and join the compo!


Francesco has uploaded the latest versions of "XMLPipeline" and "FontRenderer" assemblies, both used by his GUIManager sample.

From Francesco's post: "... The FontRenderer is the same you find on the Creators web site, however since I slightly modified it you need my DLL for the GUIManager to work. The source code of the modified sample is public: just drop me an email.

To learn how to use the XMLPipeline and FontRender components, just look at the GUIManagerSample, or post a comment to this post ...".


Saturday, April 14, 2007


Rhysyngsun has published a new tutorial explaining hot to build an XNA-based octree system.

From the post: "... First of all, what exactly is an octree? An octree is a spatial partitioning system that divides a cube recursively into eight equally sized cubes until each cube contains a specified number of polygons or objects. This tree can then be used to quickly determine visibility or to quickly rule out objects for physics purposes. For the purposes of XNA, I've designed my system to be used on a per-object basis ...".

Read on!


John Sedlak has published a couple of videos showing the progress of his DTD clone:



Francesco Forno has posted a sample solution showing how to handle GUI elements.

From Francesco's post: "... The sample at last! I managed to put together a small sample solution which shows how to use the GUIManager library. All required DLLs are included in the sample, but it's unlikely that I'll keep it updated, so always refer to the main download link (GUIManager, on your left) to get the latest library version ...".


FRIDAY, 13TH ...

... sorry guys for any delays in the news but I experienced some problems with my desktop that forced me to re-install everything ... before upgrading to WinXP Pro x64 I used an application called Restore-It!, but unfortunately it does not support this 64-bit OS, so I need to find an alternative -and more handy than "ntbackup.exe"- solution a.s.a.p. before a similar situation happens again.

Well, anyway, everything is getting back to normal now ... although I still have plenty of installations to do ...

I better start now, so see you all later!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Shawn has published the second part of the series on XNA and lighting, which focus this time on "specularity": what it is, and how to tweak it by using "BasicEffect".

From Shawn's post: "... Specular light can be harder to understand. When viewed in isolation, its contribution seems incredibly minimal ... But in combination with the diffuse light, specular is a critical part of making a model look good. Set it too low, and your objects will appear flat and uninteresting. Too high, and everything will look like plastic: waxy and unnatural ...".

Read on!


Lawrence has published some new screenshots of the new features he has been working on for his game: "Sharky's Air Legends".

For those of you who still don't know or never heard about this game, let me tell you that it's a legend it-self, since it's one of the first XNA games that came out -if not the first- all done by a XNA user.

What is more, if you do some search on YouTube for any initial videos promoting XNA, you will surely find a sequence of Air Legends' planes flying around nicely.

From Sharky's post: "... I’m wondering if I should just release it now anyway, and follow up with an XNA release when it comes out. I’m open to persuasion ..."

Want to get your hands on the latest build? Then just go and try to persuade him ...

By the way Lawrence, nice to hear from you, man!


... to post mini-tutos and code snippets, all related to XNA, of course, since he has been working hard to implement an octree functionality, multiple viewports, input management, etc.

From Rhysyngsun's post: "... I have a few more ideas for mini-tutorials that I may post here. Some are just quick code snippets, but others are a bit more detailed. Leave some comments to encourage me ...".

So c'mon, want to get some tutos? Then give the guy the encouraging comments he is asking for ...


"Joystiq" has published and interwiev to Major Nelson, who talks about Guitar Hero downloads Halo 3 and other stuff.

From the post: "... We had an opportunity to chat with Microsoft mascot-in-training Major Nelson, early yesterday morning as the internet began its incredible, violent reaction against the pricing of the Guitar Hero downloadable tracks on Xbox 360. Major Nelson listened to a few sample comments from Joystiq readers, and he had a lot to say. (He also gives imaginary "bonus points" to the "Horse Armor song" commenter.) ...".

I like this part: "... We've talked Sony, we've talked Microsoft. You own a Wii yet?

MN: Yeah, I have a Wii. I got a Wii probably about two, three months ago ..."

There's nothing wrong with the answer, but ... busted!!! ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Kobingo has posted an online help file for "Bullet Hell Tactics" game.

The rules and How to's are useful for any register beta tester, so if you are one, and need some guidance to play the game, just pay a visit to this blog and read on.

More news after the brake ...


As announced by Ziggy here, the guys from Borderline Interactive have released a demo version of the game "Chaos" and a video showing off the gameplay:

The game is simple in concept but still presents with elegance a nice and catchy gameplay -I really like this kind of smart games- and of course the physics were implemented accordingly.

Stay tuned to site for the upcoming release of the full version of the game.


"You turn on your computer as every normal day, grab your coffee cup, prepare yourself a nice warm coffee as Windows starts, of course with the usual amount of sugar -please, don't exaggerate- and go back to your nice and comfortable desk, your Kingdom, then start C# Express -or any edition of Visual Studio 2005- and decide to create a .NET Framework 3 project from scratch, so you click on "New Project" and select "Window Application (WPF)"; the hard-drive then emits the normal sounds of "working/busy" while the new project is being created, but suddenly the following message pops up: "The project type is not supported by this installation". You say: "WHAT!!!", and with that your great day has turned into a #$%&$@ nightmare ..."

No, the above is not part of the plot of a movie scene, it's life, real life and it's just happened to me. Fortunately, I found this thread on MS forums which presented a quick and easy fix, which -at least in my case- worked.

The fix:

  1. Open a VS 2005 Command Prompt,
  2. Enter the following command: regsvr32.exe "%vs80comntools%\..\IDE\projectaggregator.dll", and finally
  3. Execute %vs80comntools%\..\IDE\VCSExpress /setup (if you are using c# Express), or instead, execute %vs80comntools%\..\IDE\devenv /setup (if you are using VS 2005).

Take due note that "%vs80comntools% ..." is an environment variable, so the above-mentioned command lines should work "as is". However, if it doesn't because the path is not found -maybe some or all of the environmental variables set by the IDE are currently messed up in your system- just replace the "%vs80comntools%" term with your real path to the files' folder and the command should now execute.

Now, try to re-create the project again and it should all now go ok, as if nothing wrong had happened in the first place.


Monday, April 09, 2007


This is pretty much it for today!

I think I have posted a great bunch of news, some from this last weekend, some from today, but still news.

I gotta rest now, and watch for my daily activities (I need to "live", you know? I mean, out from the XNA ring).

Hope you have found the news' posts useful.

'till tomorrow.


For those of us who sometime happened the get or still get in touch with 3D animation (or photography, or cinematography, ...), hearing "Three-Point Lighting" technique should ring a bell.

It does, doesn't it? But, have you ever wonder why you had to use this visual technique? If you don't know the answer yet and still wonder why, just browse to Shawn's blog to find out.

From Shawn's post: "... Pretty much every movie ever made and every fashion shot ever photographed have depended on this lighting rig. There are many variations:

  • To increase the perception of shape without needing too much contrast between light and shadow, tint the key light yellow and the others blue.
  • For a moody drama, make the key light much brighter than the fill.
  • For a cheerful sit-com, make all three lights equally bright.
  • For a scary effect, position the key light low to the ground.
  • For a mysterious or fantastic effect, make the back light unusually bright so the character seems to glow around the edges.

But the underlying principle is always the same. Things simply look better when lit this way ...".

Read on!


Again, news not related to XNA (at least, for now).

GarageGames has released the long awaited "Constructor" for the Torque Game Engine (TGE) and Torque Game Engine Advanced (TGEA), for free.

To read the full list of features go here, and to download it, here.

[Now that TorqueX is out, maybe integration of this level editor to XNA is on the roadmap ...]


Recently, some members in the XNA Creators' forums have been asking for an example on ray-tracing. Well, Check LukeH's blog, then.

This guy has posted an interesting project based on the third version of the .NET Framework, which implements a ray tracer by using some of the new features of this framework, like LINQ and lambdas.

From LukeH's post: "... Although we often demo C#3.0 using databases and XML to show off LINQ - it turns out that the new language features really are also great for applications which have little to do with querying. Ray tracing, for example, is certainly not one of the prototypical scenario for query and transformation of data. Nonetheless, I found quite a few places in the code where C#3.0 and LINQ to Objects really improved the code - making it easier to express what the program was doing ...".

Not related to XNA, I admit, but nice screenshot, uh?!

[Again, imagine XNA, XAML, DX10 and .NET Framewor 3.5 ...]


Fluix lets you create user interface elements for your XNA-based project in Flash.

The second release is out and includes:

  • FSCommand implemented,
  • texture alpha being broken in some cases fixed,
  • lines support, including bevels,
  • gradients supported,
  • fix reported bug on not finding helper applications,
  • basic version of Sound object working,
  • fonts/text working with some caveats, and
  • various string manipulation functions implemented.

Worth testing, don't you think?

[Now, I'd like to see the same with XAML. Can you picture that? XNA, XAML and DX10 ...]


Until you answer that question for your particular game project, you could check this article on The Code Project.

From the article: "... You know what I miss about the pre .Net days? Script! I liked creating a little script file to do little tasks for me, or to test a small piece of code without having to create a new project or solution. I like having one nice little file to deal with and clean up after, not a solution folder, a project folder and the resulting bin and obj folders. I long for those days, which is why I created Dot Net Script ...".

Pros and cons? Of course, but still worth reading since it uses C# as the scripting language.


Maybe is not too late: Ziggy is "looking for an artist to help in a small multiplayer game project to showcase and enter into the Dream Build Play contest".

Interested? The reply to the original post.



What happens when "true" or "false" is not enough information from a reader viewpoint? You could optimize for readability.

From Eli's post: "... The other day I was working on my GSE game, and I had a class with an Update method. The Update returned a boolean indicating whether or not the class was finished updating. The idea was when the object was finished updating, I could stop worrying about it, and I could remove it from whatever collection was keeping track of it ...".

To get to the "Problem solved" part, just go and read Eli's full post.


Francesco Forno started to publish some of his work based on XNA, being "GUIManager" class the first available for download.

From Francesco's post: "... The "example content" folder inside the ZIP contains a sample GUI texture (which contains GUI elements) and a sample ElemDef XML, which tells the GUIManager where inside the texture he can find the elements. Both these must be included in your project. In the same folder you will also find a template with which your should be able to write a valid XML to pass to the PopulateFromXML method ...".



Sharky published a preview of what we should expect for his next build of "Air Legends" game.

From Sharky's post: "... Apologies for the quietness of this blog lately. Rest assured I’ve been working as hard as ever. ...".

No need to apologize, man!


Dean Lunz published a set of samples, code snippets and projects, all related to XNA.

Among the above-mention resources, you will find:

  • Kabombulator: a rts game where the goal is to both defend your base as well as send out troops to destroy your enemies base,
  • xGameConsoleXNA: a easy to use in game console system,
  • TextFileContentProcessors: allows the use of text files as game assets using content pipeline, and
  • XNAContentCode: generates so as to reference game assets directly without using strings.
For the complete list of projects and tools, please visit Dean's blog.


DotNetSlackers announced a contest with the chance to win 1 of 3 Xbox 360 Core Systems. How? Just writing an article.

From the post: "... DotNetSlackers is proud to present its authors with the chance to win 1 of 3 Xbox 360 Core Systems (worth 299$). Simply write an article for DotNetSlackers, following our Submission Guidelines, and you’ll automatically have a chance to win 1 of 3 XBoxs. It couldn’t be simpler!

Every month, for three months, registered DotNetSlackers users will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite DotNetSlackers article and the winning author gets a brand new Xbox 360! ...".

Hurry up!


Rick Hoskinson published a post about shaders used for "faceted" lamps, or lamps without curved surfaces.

From Rick's post: "... Early on, I decided I wanted to blur the line between realism and style for this title. Obviously, any game featuring ghosts and river spirits doesn't really necessitate rigid adherence to the laws of physical light, but for the lamps I wanted something both neat-looking and recognizable. I began my research by looking at about 200-300 pictures of Toro Nagashi festivals, and hanging Chochin (paper lanterns). This process took about 2 or 3 hours to find enough subject matter, at which point I brought out the graph paper and started to sketch down notes ...".

Read on ...


Remember this awesome game: "The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai"?

Two things:

  • Ziggy has interviewed James Silva, the author of this game, who answers a question that has been wandering around the XNA community: "Why the name?", and
  • A new video of the gameplay is available for our joy:

From Ziggy's post: "... James will be graduating from college soon and is looking for a job around the up-state New York area ..."

Good luck, buddy! ... but with a game like "Dishwasher" I guess you won't need it ... ;)


Microsoft has announced that Instant Messaging is coming to the 360 through Windows Live™ Messenger, among other new features to be distributed within the "XBOX 360 Spring Update".

You may wonder: "ok, but how can one input text to the 360 fast and easy?". The answer is straight ahead by just looking at the following picture:

Please follow this link for a full description of all the new features available within the Spring Update.

Now, if only I had a 360 ...


A new blogger has come to the XNA community, introducing "System Warrior" multiplayer-action game.

You can watch a video preview of the game, here.



This month issue of 360Zine is now available for free download. As always, you have read it right, free download.

The issue includes a first look to the XBO 360 Elite plus previews of "Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA 4)" and "Fable 2", and more, much more.

So, what are you waiting for?! Download it now!


Happy Easter, everyone!

After a short week-end off with my family the pimping nightmare is back ... sorry, folks ... :)

I'll be mainly catching up with all the news related to XNA today so please be patient while I publish all the posts since you know I like to publish one post per news item what takes a lot of time (and Mykres Space does a great job with the summary-styled news report).

So, enough talk and let's get started!

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Hi guys! I know I've been a bit hidden in my ultracave these days but as you may have guessed I just taking this week-end off to enjoy Easter with my family.

Still, I'm aware that there have been some great news lately so next Monday check out this blog for the cascade of news I'm going to publish.

In the meantime, I leave you with 2 great links:


[Also check the new design of my blog: on top part of the page you will find a dynamic news banner and on the left side you will see some random links to YouTube's videos related to game design, XNA GSE, xBOX360 and so on ...]

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Turn the volume of your speakers up and enjoy!


John Sedlak has published a nice 3-page tutorial about setting a basic particle system in XNA, with source code included.

From John's tuto: "... This tutorial describes a simple way to render particles using simple rendering techniques, and a custom vertex format in a 3D world ...".

Read on!


In a recent post, Dave has informed that the April's DirectX SDK has been released for public download.

The new features include:

  • Improvements to the XACT UI,
  • Improvements to PIX,
  • Shader compiler update, and
  • an effect-pools sample.

Please read Dave's post for full details. To download the SDK just follow this link.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Along with the new design for Realmware's site, beta 1 of the long-awaited "Visual3D.Net" framework has been announced.

From the announcement: "... Realmware is happy to announce that Visual3D.NET Beta1 will be released April 30th, 2007. The list of features to be included in Beta1 as well as future releases can be seen on the Visual3D.NET Features page. Please register now to sign up for the Beta ...".

Visual3D.Net vs. Blade3D vs. TorqueX vs. doing all by your-self. Hummm ... so many choices ... which one will you choose?


For those of you that never heard about Jad engine, it's one of the first shader-prone engines created using MDX that was released to the public for free.

I was following its development since it was originally called "Haddd" engine, so let me tell you that if you want to learn how to develop a robust and powerful engine, then Jad engine is a great knowledge base on the subject.

From the announcement: "... After more than 6 months of work the Jad Engine Team has finally released Jad Engine 1.1. This new version comes with lots of bug fixes, minor improvements (math library, multiple viewports,...) and major new features (virtual file system, scripting,..) ...".

You can download the engine from its hompage in Codeplex.


"XNA WEEKLY ROUNDUP 27-03-07 TO 01-04-07"

Mykres has published his "Weekly Roundup" which covers source codes, projects, games, new blogs/sites, tutorials and game releases from March 27th, 2007 to April 1st, 2007.

From Mykres' post: "... it as been another quiet week in the world of XNA, but this week we have seen a few new Bloggers come onto the scene (Lets hope they keep the content flowing). We have also seen a refresh of the Garage Games Torque X Systems and the introduction of another starter kit, 'Platformer Starter Kit'.

Ziggy has posted an update to his tutorial collections, and we have seen an example of a Windows GUI System for the XNA Framework.

Just a Reminder guys that a lot of the XNA Community already hangs out on IRC on the Efnet Server in the #xna Channel, please drop by and say hello… it has been a but quiet there as well ...".

Find the whole news update here ...


GameDaily Biz has published the article "Microsoft on Lowering the Barriers of Creativity" which includes an interview to Microsoft's Chris Satchell (General Manager, Game Developer Group) and Aaron Greenberg (Group Product Manager for Xbox 360 & Xbox Live) at GDC'07, which of course mentions XNA GSE.

From the article: "... With XNA Game Studio Express, it is a different approach. It's not just about modding a game that somebody's made; it's about making your own game. I definitely take your point [because] you need some skill to do it. Now I do think we've made it much easier with XNA Game Studio Express than it's ever been before, but when you add our partner products on top—like what we've done with Garage Games—then you actually have systems like Torque GameBuilder (TGB), which is drag and drop game development. You literally drag pieces in and you drop them. And then we have starter kits, so if you just want to mod an experience you can do that... So imagine if you take TGB and load up a pack and there's all the cool animated things—you just drag and drop them in, say what behavior you want and can start playing a game. And we actually licensed that from Garage Games so if you're a member of the Creator's Club in XNA you get that in your subscription ...".

Read on ...

Monday, April 02, 2007


Kobingo's looking for help in order to beta-test his game: "Bullet Hell Tactics".

So if you want to help the guy just get in touch a.s.a.p. (just read here for details).

Stay tuned to Kobingo's blog for more information.


A new tuto has been published on PlasmaFlux site which covers a starting point for networking with XNA, under Windows OS only.

From the site's post: "... Many people have asked “Can I/How do I make internet/network games in XNA” and the replay has been “yes” or “yes but not on the Xbox360 until later”. So I wanted to produce a simple network/internet game & tutorial/explanation to show off how it’s done. I wanted to keep the game simple as not to get people lost between where the game starts/stops and where the networking starts/stops, whilst not making it to simple like string only string messages as games need to send some quite complex information at times ...".

Read on ...


XNAResources has announced the launch of the second site in its network of sites: "".

From the announcement: "... The site was formerly known as The TextureBin and already has over 1700 seamless high resolution textures! is membership based though... we offer 3 types of membership:

  • Free 15 day Trial - Same as the standard below but limited to 15 days.
  • Standard Membership - Access to all the content on the site in lower resolutions (500 pixels wide).
  • Premium Membership - Access to all the content in the standard membership AND full access to high resolution versions of all the textures as well as bump maps, alpha maps, and games sized versions (powers of 2) of the textures in high resolution ...".
See ya!


Remember this post? Well, John Sedlak has announced the successor of his XNA5D engine ... and the name is "Thrust".

From John's post: "... Let me preface this story with a note that this is in no way an April Fools joke. The successor of Xna5D is Thrust and composes of all I have learned thus far. I am also pleased to announce that I have been working on several aspects of it with Matthew Randall. I thank him very much for contributing what he can to the project, even with his very busy schedule. I have decided that the development cycle of Thrust will be much slower compared to Xna5D ...".

So, let's thrust this is no April fools joke ... just kiddin' ... :)


In this hilarious video, Kevin Smith talks about the weird experiences he had to go through when he was asked to write the script for the candidate Superman sequel movie "Superman Lives".