XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming: Developing for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 Paperback – Dec 12 2010
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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)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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