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Xna 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner's Guide [Paperback]

Kurt Jaegers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 50.59 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 25 2010

Create your own exciting games with Microsoft XNA 4.0

  • Dive headfirst into game creation with XNA
  • Four different styles of games comprising a puzzler, a space shooter, a multi-axis shoot 'em up, and a jump-and-run platformer
  • Games that gradually increase in complexity to cover a wide variety of game development techniques
  • Focuses entirely on developing games with the free version of XNA
  • Packed with many suggestions for expanding your finished game that will make you think critically, technically, and creatively
  • Fresh writing filled with many fun examples that introduce you to game programming concepts and implementation with XNA 4.0
  • A practical beginner's guide with a fast-paced but friendly and engaging approach towards game development

In Detail

XNA Game Studio enables hobbyists and independent game developers to easily create video games. It gives you the power to bring your creations to life on Windows, the Xbox 360, the Zune, and the Windows Phone platforms. But before you give life to your creativity with XNA, you need to gain a solid understanding of some game development concepts.

This book covers both the concepts and the implementations necessary to get you started on bringing your own creations to life with XNA. It details the creation of four games, all in different styles, from start to finish using the Microsoft XNA Framework, including a puzzler, space shooter, multi-axis shoot-'em-up, and a jump-and-run platform game. Each game introduces new concepts and techniques to build a solid foundation for your own ideas and creativity.

Beginning with the basics of drawing images to the screen, the book then incrementally introduces sprite animation, particles, sound effects, tile-based maps, and path finding. It then explores combining XNA with Windows Forms to build an interactive map editor, and builds a platform-style game using the editor-generated maps. Finally, the book covers the considerations necessary for deploying your games to the Xbox 360 platform.

By the end of the book, you will have a solid foundation of game development concepts and techniques as well as working sample games to extend and innovate upon. You will have the knowledge necessary to create games that you can complete without an army of fellow game developers at your back.

A step-by-step tutorial to using Microsoft XNA by creating four different styles of video games.

What you will learn from this book

  • Install the Microsoft XNA Framework and its required tools
  • Build XNA Game projects and associated XNA Content projects
  • Create a puzzle-style game exploring the concepts of game states, recursion, and 2D animation
  • Add sound effects to your game with a "fire-and-forget" sound effects manager
  • Create a particle system to generate random explosions
  • Implement sound effects, collisions, and particle-based explosions by building a space shooter inside a chaotic asteroid field.
  • Implement the A* path-finding algorithm to allow enemies to track down the player
  • Generate tile-based maps and path-finding enemy tanks amidst a storm of bullets in a multi-axis shooter
  • Combine XNA and Windows Forms to create a map editor for a multi-layered tile map engine
  • Run, jump, and squash enemies in a side-scrolling platform using the maps from your editor
  • Modify your creations for the Xbox 360 platform and deploy your games to the console


This book is a step-by-step tutorial that includes complete source code for all of the games covered. It adopts an engaging style to teach all the game development concepts. Each block of code is explained, and game development concepts are diagrammed and covered in detail. Each game begins with a concept description and concludes with suggestions for expanding on the finished game.

Who this book is written for

If you are an aspiring game developer who wants to take a shot at creating games for the Microsoft Windows platform with the XNA Framework, then this book is for you. Using this book, you can get started with creating games without any game development experience. A basic knowledge of C# would be helpful to kick-start your game development, but it's not essential.

Frequently Bought Together

Xna 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner's Guide + Learning XNA 4.0: Game Development for the PC, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone 7
Price For Both: CDN$ 76.89

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars unveils easy simulations using maths and physics Feb. 20 2012
Jaegers describes the expansion of ability of Microsoft's XNA from being restricted to coding in C# to now letting Visual Basic programs access its libraries. XNA is roughly a wrapper around essential but low end functionality for controlling graphics and sound. The appeal of this book is that you can now leverage your VB expertise into games that can run under the Xbox, Microsoft Windows and cellphones running Phone 7.

All the essentials of game programming are treated. Like using a game loop in some games, where the program waits for user input. A different style from more traditional linear start to end approaches. The book also demonstrates the ease of use of Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010 version. This SDK comes across as well polished and robust. A solid background against which to code.

The text demonstrates different types of games. None are too intricate. A beginner's guide, after all. Common techniques like defining tiles for the screen are gone into. A key idea is the Draw() routine, which updates the screen graphics. Object oriented code is possible, though the text does not seem to explicitly use this term.

Another game example is Asteriods. A venerable lineage that goes back to the early 80s at least. One take home idea is that you get to model the collision between two asteriods. This only hints at what is really an arbitrarily deep means of simulating real or artificial worlds. Where you model actual or imaginary physics at the lowest level, and use this to drive many interactions. Readers with a background in undergraduate physics can appreciate the vistas that this section of the book offers.

Yet another chapter delves into path finding algorithms.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best XNA book out there Jan. 5 2011
By Nicholas DiMucci - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've pretty much read most of the XNA books available. A lot of them will explain how XNA works, but fail to take the reader through the completion of a significant game. I feel that hand holding a person through the creation of complete, sufficient, healthy games is more important in the long run than explaining exactly what each overloaded SpriteBatch.Draw() method does (that's what MSDN is for). Sure, you need to explain to the reader how sprites are drawn to the screen, but you don't need to go crazy with the specifics. This book explains enough to the reader so they have a understanding of what's going on, without bogging them down with too much information.

XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example wastes no time in diving into code, creating what is exceedingly a simple game, but builds a strong foundation for the other games which will be built. The reader will learn by doing, progressively increasing their knowledge of XNA and learning how to develop a game. There are times when the author will gloss over specific details, details that I feel should have been explained a bit more, but any successful programmer will investigate topics of interest on their own anyways.

The book doesn't assume any previous C# knowledge, or programming knowledge if I'm not mistaken. I'm going to raise a huge flag and say you should be a competent programmer before diving into this book. Don't get this book if you've never written any type of program on your own, and I'm not talking about just a "Hello World" program either. I promise that you really won't understand what's going on and once you leave sample land, you'll be completely lost. Understand that game programming is an extremely elitest form of software development, even with XNA. So with that said, this book is aimed at complete beginners to XNA and game programming, but not programming in general. You may do alright if you don't know C# yet, but do know Java (preferably) or even C++.

Also note, this book doesn't explain anything specific to Windows Phone 7 game programming. If Windows Phone 7 game programming is your ultimate goal, you can still use this book to learn XNA, and then move onto the many tutorials and guides available on the new App Hub website.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars XNA By Example Nov. 28 2010
By Joseph Miller - Published on Amazon.com
When I started this book, I had some experience with game programming from a python class and making a game in HTML5 and JavaScript. However, I had always been interested the XNA framework and this book is a great introduction to said framework. While most programming books teach you a lot of theory and try to explain in words what is happening in a certain loop or piece of code, this book however has you type out the code itself. I feel that programming is a skill that requires you to actually implement the idea in order to understand it, so this book takes a good approach at teaching in such a way. This book does lots of things right. The pace that the book takes is exceptional. It starts you off with simple things like how to move and different properties of the draw method and ends with a project that combines all the ideas that you learned throughout the book and how to effectively manage all the resources. It also provides you with some good tools that you can use in any game project such as a tile creator and helpful ways to set-up constructor classes. The code that is in the book is easily modifiable and made in such ways the code is reusable. I don't have too many complaints about this book. The only problem I had with the book is that it could have taught more. Although this is a beginner's guide, I felt at times they were only a step away from teaching you something that could have been VERY useful, but didn't for the sake of simplicity. Overall, I enjoyed this book and felt the book had a very nice flow. While not much XNA 4.0 literature is out right now, this book is great start and is sure to inspire many great games, possibly one of my own!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Aug. 10 2011
By Retired Gamer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have purchased over a dozen books on C# and XNA Game Studio. This is the best one yet.

It is very good because:

The author explains the concept, shows you the code, and explains what is happening in the code
(enough detail but not too much detail)

The sample games present some very helpful concepts. I would say that it goes beyond
a beginner course.

For example, the 'Robot Rampage' game clarified the following:
enemy AI to pursue the player; bypassing obstacles on the play field
using a play area larger then the screen; by using a camera class
creating a random play environment for each new game
creating explosions of different sizes
utilizing 'Manager' classes to control the objects

In summary, this book was very helpful.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive! March 8 2012
By Alex T - Published on Amazon.com
In one word: "great!"
In two words: "just great!"
No, seriously. I was very impressed by how the author leads the reader the all the stages of creating XNA games - starting with the absolute basics, not taking any previous knowledge for granted... And down to the more complex concepts - all hands on, with the omnipresent "What just happened" summaries.
Highly recommended!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High speed book! March 9 2013
By Matthew - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The pace of this book is incredible. Step 1, build a game to click on a randomly teleporting box. Step 2, build a puzzle game with rotating blocks, sprite fonts and animations. The pace is similar to someone showing you a picture of a missile, and then the next step is showing you how to program the guidance systems to target anything the color red. Very well laid out, very fast paced, very goal oriented. You learn a lot in a very short amount of time.
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