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XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming: Developing for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 [Paperback]

Tom Miller , Dean Johnson

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Book Description

Dec 12 2010 Developer's Library

Get Started Fast with XNA Game Studio 4.0–and Build Great Games for Both Windows® Phone 7 and Xbox 360®

 

This is the industry’s best reference and tutorial for all aspects of XNA Game Studio 4.0 programming on all supported platforms, from Xbox 360 to Windows Phone 7 and Windows PCs. The only game development book authored by Microsoft XNA development team members, it offers deep insider insights you won’t get anywhere else–including thorough coverage of new Windows Phone APIs for mobile game development.

 

You’ll quickly build simple games and get comfortable with Microsoft’s powerful XNA Game Studio 4.0 toolset. Next, you’ll drill down into every area of XNA, including graphics, input, audio, video, storage, GamerServices, and networking. Miller and Johnson present especially thorough coverage of 3D graphics, from Reach and HiDef to textures, effects, and avatars. Throughout, they introduce new concepts with downloadable code examples designed to help you jumpstart your own projects. Coverage includes

 

  • Downloading, installing, and getting started with XNA Game Studio 4
  • Building on capabilities provided in the default game template
  • Using 2D sprites, textures, sprite operations, blending, and SpriteFonts
  • Creating high-performance 3D graphics with XNA’s newly simplified APIs
  • Loading, generating, recording, and playing audio
  • Supporting keyboards, mice, Xbox 360 controllers, Touch, accelerometer, and GPS inputs
  • Managing all types of XNA storage
  • Using avatars as characters in your games
  • Utilizing gamer types, player profiles, presence information, and other GamerServices
  • Supporting Xbox LIVE and networked games
  • Creating higher-level input systems that seamlessly manage cross-platform issues

 

From Windows Phone 7 mobile gaming to Xbox 360, XNA Game Studio 4.0 creates huge new opportunities for experienced Microsoft developers. This book helps you build on skills you already have, to create the compelling games millions of users are searching for.

 


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Get Started Fast with XNA Game Studio 4.0–and Build Great Games for Both Windows® Phone 7 and Xbox 360®

 

This is the industry’s best reference and tutorial for all aspects of XNA Game Studio 4.0 programming on all supported platforms, from Xbox 360 to Windows Phone 7 and Windows PCs. The only game development book authored by Microsoft XNA development team members, it offers deep insider insights you won’t get anywhere else–including thorough coverage of new Windows Phone APIs for mobile game development.

 

You’ll quickly build simple games and get comfortable with Microsoft’s powerful XNA Game Studio 4.0 toolset. Next, you’ll drill down into every area of XNA, including graphics, input, audio, video, storage, GamerServices, and networking. Miller and Johnson present especially thorough coverage of 3D graphics, from Reach and HiDef to textures, effects, and avatars. Throughout, they introduce new concepts with downloadable code examples designed to help you jumpstart your own projects. Coverage includes

 

  • Downloading, installing, and getting started with XNA Game Studio 4
  • Building on capabilities provided in the default game template
  • Using 2D sprites, textures, sprite operations, blending, and SpriteFonts
  • Creating high-performance 3D graphics with XNA’s newly simplified APIs
  • Loading, generating, recording, and playing audio
  • Supporting keyboards, mice, Xbox 360 controllers, Touch, accelerometer, and GPS inputs
  • Managing all types of XNA storage
  • Using avatars as characters in your games
  • Utilizing gamer types, player profiles, presence information, and other GamerServices
  • Supporting Xbox LIVE and networked games
  • Creating higher-level input systems that seamlessly manage cross-platform issues

 

From Windows Phone 7 mobile gaming to Xbox 360, XNA Game Studio 4.0 creates huge new opportunities for experienced Microsoft developers. This book helps you build on skills you already have, to create the compelling games millions of users are searching for.

 

About the Author

Tom Miller has been with Microsoft for a full decade. He specializes in bringing together managed code and gaming. He wrote and supported Managed DirectX, and for the past few years, he has been largely responsible for implementing the framework (graphics, audio, input, storage, and other core features) included in XNA Game Studio products. He currently works for Microsoft Game Studios.

 

Dean Johnson joined Microsoft in 2006 and helped launch the XNA Creators Club pipeline allowing hobbyists and independent developers to release their games on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games Marketplace. He currently is a Lead Software Development Engineer working on the XNA Game Studio product team.

 

Both authors actively blog and participate in game development conferences.

 


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to graphics programming, and a concise XNA primer Jan. 17 2011
By TIMOTHY GLEN COWLEY - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This isn't just an XNA manual with half-baked examples that cover the API: this is an aircraft carrier linear catapult to get you off the ground and making games.
I've been doing graphics programming since the DOS era, and have seen a lot of bad tutorials, and a lot of over-eager underachievers who write a "game programming" book to satisfy their need to accomplish something on a platform.
This is not one of those books: this is an accessible, clear, and purpose-driven course in games programming. It assumes only that you have a basic understanding of C#, and have at least seen a Dictionary<string,whatever> declaration before, but doesn't assume that you're a veteran D3D coder.
The coding examples are clear, thoroughly-explained, and ramp up quickly. Lots of best practices and gentle introduction of xna/winpho concepts, like game Components. The elements that are repeated are repeated in order to train you into them, and not just to pad out the book. This book doesn't fall into the Petzold trap of making an example for every member of every Enum, just to have one. There are a few typos here and there, but you'll catch them when you compile.

TL/DR; This book is worth purchasing for the skeletal animation code alone.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first truly good book on XNA for experienced developers April 25 2011
By cor2879 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is unfortunate that the rating for this book has been lowered for not being a "beginner" text. This book is clearly not intended for the beginner audience, and there is a plethora of other texts (just about every other book written on XNA, in fact) that are geared towards the beginner. What makes XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming great and sets it apart is that it is ~not~ geared towards beginners. While it does not expect any prior game development experience, XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming assumes that the reader of this book is a fully competent C# developer and doesn't waste any time explaining the basics that all decent C# developers should be acquainted with. If you are the kind of developer who enjoys reading 'deeper' books like CLR Via C#, Advanced .Net Debugging, etc, AND you are interested in developing XNA apps, then this book is definitely for you. That's not to say this book is a deep dive on the kind of level that Clr Via C# is, but it could fit the bill of being the unofficial "XNA Handbook" and excels where every other XNA book I have ever tried to read has failed. Instead of providing cookie cutter examples of how the authors built some cool app, XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming describes the API in great detail and requires the reader to inject their own imagination and inginuity to realize what may be possible. For example, after reading the first chapter, I spent a few hours and was able to build a sample XNA app that could animate a 2D game entity across the screen based on player input.

If you want to cut throught the mumbo jumbo and read a book that explains the API and best practices, and don't want to feel like you are being talked down to or having some important detail skipped, then I can't recommend XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming enough.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for what it does, but is not a beginner book Dec 13 2011
By Gary D. Pollock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This books is a lot of theory, and not much practical use. It helps you get into the head of the XNA architects, and understand the APIs, but it doesn't make the case why you should care. Don't get me wrong--you will need to know what's in this book if you want to be a successful XNA developer, but if this is the first book you read on XNA, it's going to seem like high school math. I made the mistake of reading this book first for XNA, and I wasted my time. My time wasn't wasted because the book was bad, but because this book was going into detail about its rendering system, while I was trying to figure out how to make a sprite jump when I pressed the "A" button. I'm not rating this book down, because nowhere does this book advertise itself as a tool for learning the system. I'm making sure people who want to program for Microsoft devices start in the right place to get the most use of their time and money.

The ideal audience for this book is someone who has some experience in making games with XNA, but wants to get more use out of the architecture. If you're starting out, I recommend the O'Reilly book. If you want to go further from there, maybe this would be the second or even third book you read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Book. Easy Progression With Extensive Resources. April 20 2012
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I don't write reviews but for this one I felt it was important. I don't mean to be rude, but unless you have never before in your life seen programming code or you have no will or motivation, this book is very good. Without knowing anything about XNA I picked it up and am moving along just fine. It uses code snippets as opposed to the entire source code (Which you can download from their website if you want). It has all of the assets (sprites, codes, images) there as well.

It progresses steadily building on things. Computer programming can be convoluted and some aspects seem almost counter-intuitive. The only way to truly understand why some things are done in the manner which is performed, would be to start at the beginning and see the progression and complications that required those needful changes. OOP and everything it entails can be daunting at first in and of itself.

What this book does is highlights key things that you are coding, gives you a brief description at first, and expands on it as you progress throughout. I appreciate this teaching method as I am a very kinetic learner and like to learn by doing. So if you see yourself as someone who can accept a concept without fully understanding all the hidden working mechanisms that lay beneath, but let them all connect in time, this book was written for you (And he reassures you when and where it will be expanded on).

One thing you might have trouble on is that sometimes where you need to insert the given code is not extremely clear. It's fairly obvious, but that may be me speaking from a somewhat experienced viewpoint. When I began programming (Book taught and all) I had to jump in. Knowing where to put the code was challenging enough that I had quit several books because of it. Knowing what I do now and having broken myself in through several other frustrating books, I've realized that it's up to the reader to assume some responsibility and just "figure it out". It would be ridiculous to ask the writer to be any more detailed, you might as well ask him to dress you every morning while your at it. Short of being spoon fed, the information is all there, the coding solution is there on their website, and the most important thing (For me at least) was the evolving and building block teaching style.

Like I said, I don't write reviews, but this one is well worth it. So if the the writers of this book for some unknown reason happen to peruse this review, I just want to say, Thank you, seriously. I appreciate hard work and you've done a great job.

If you find yourself struggling, I promise, if you challenge yourself to figure it out, you'll realize it wasn't as complicated as you thought. Especially if you plan on having success in the CIS field, you'll have to sacrifice some frustration and struggle and work through it, after all, that is where the experience comes from. And this is all coming from someone who's a book taught, casual programmer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Also Teaches Concepts Oct. 5 2011
By ppfeifer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The first thing I noticed as I started reading this book is that the authors are a mix of programmers and teachers. I know most authors of programming books could be considered a teacher, but with this book it is different. I've been writing .NET programs many years so my familiarity with C# and the .NET framework is pretty solid.

However, when it comes to game programming, the extent of my knowledge is pretty limited. The last time I wrote a game was over twenty years ago on a Texas Instruments 99 computer using Extended Basic. Sure I know of some of the basic concepts like sprites, and the fact that graphics are somehow rendered by drawing a bunch of triangles, but I have no idea how that's done.

Well, this book not only shows the reader the code that does these things, but more importantly explains to the reader the concepts behind game programming. Not only do they explain some of the concepts that many readers might find difficult, such as vector cross products, but they do it in a way for even the math adverse readers to understand.

Likewise, the authors go to great depths in introducing the reader to 3D graphics with code snippets interspersed with figures to explain the concepts, and they do it quickly to avoid too much detail in order to give the reader the confidence to create their own 3D graphics.

After teaching the reader about 2D and 3D graphics, the authors explain cameras, rendering models, textures and shading. If that's not enough, they continue to explain how to use the content pipeline to provide performance gains and to organize your code. They also devote nearly 50 pages on how to create and animate avatars to easily add characters to your game without requiring any artistic skills.

To complete the skills necessary for the reader to create great games, the authors describe the different types of user inputs to interact with the game, for Xbox 360, Windows phone and the PC. This includes the multi-touch, and other sensors supported by the Windows Phone.

The last area that really is important for a great game is the capability to make the game multi-user across Xbox Live. That too, is explained.

What more is there to say? If you are like me, someone who has spent countless hours writing software for business applications, and would like a break to something more fun, or maybe you have a great idea for the next Angry Birds game, then this book is definitely for you.

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