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!