New Blog Site -

Given the retirement of XNA, I have spun up a new blog site where I plan to publish additional game tutorials (among many other topics). Come visit me at the TwentySidedBlog where I will be talking about games, coding, scripting, movies, RPGs, and lots of other geek-interest topics.

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Building your First Mobile Game using XNA 4.0

A few months back, I had the opportunity to contribute as a reviewer for a new book from Packt Publishing titled "Building your First Mobile Game using XNA 4.0", written by Brecht Kets and Thomas Goussaert. The book is a fast-paced rundown of XNA game development, iterating over a code base that eventually leads to constructing a side-scrolling run-and-jump style game in XNA 4.0.

Both 2D and 3D are covered, along with sound, input, and constructing a scene graph framework for building your games. For 3D, the book uses the Skinned Model sample from the XNA Dev Center.

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Microsoft Surface... and XNA?

I got my Microsoft Surface tablet today, and must say I really like the device. It is solidly built, and while it does not run x86 applications, it is very much Windows under the hood. Microsoft has not come forward with a release of XNA that works with Surface devices, however.

There is an open source project that aims to fill that gap. The MonoGame project is a rewrite of the XNA Framework libraries, using no Microsoft code, that can be used to compile XNA games for iOS, Android, Mac OSX, Linux, and Windows 8. I gave it a shot last week and was able to convert the Star Defense game project in just a few minutes to run as a Windows 8 App. The current pre-built binary for MonoGame (3.0 beta as of this writing) contains an older version of SharpDX, so it can't handle sound effects right now, but a fixed version is in the works.

I'm planning on converting a larger game project (The enhanced version of the Flood Control game I released on the Windows Phone store) using MonoGame and documenting the process. I will post about what interesting things I encounter during the process here over the next week or so.

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XNA 4 3D Game Development by Example - Beginners Guide

My newest book, XNA 4 3D Game Development by Example : Beginners Guide is now available from Packt Publishing or on Amazon.

This book follows the same style as my previous books on 2D game development with XNA, bringing three different 3D games to life. I cover items such as:

- The basic concepts behind 3D graphics and game design
- Generating geometry with triangles
- Converting height map images into terrain
- An introduction to HLSL, including writing shaders that handle lighting and multi-texturing
- Building a 2D button-based interface to overlay on your 3D action
- Implementing skyboxes for full 3D backgrounds

And many, many more topics.


Reactive Programming

Gary Dahl over at has an article up about using the Microsoft Rx library with XNA. He discusses using reactive programming to respond to changing conditions within games instead of standard per-update state checking. Pretty interesting stuff!

You can read the full article at

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XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example - Visual Basic Edition

My newest book, XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example : Beginners Guide - Visual Basic Edition is now available from Packt Publishing or on Amazon.

The latest refresh of XNA 4.0 now supports Visual Basic as a development language for XNA, and this updated version of my original C# book includes tips on interpreting C# web examples for Visual Basic developers and all of the games covered in the C# version of the book:

- Flood Control - Pipe-based puzzle game
- Asteroid Belt Assault - Overhead space shooter
- Robot Rampage - Multi-axis tank shooter with A* pathfinding
- Gemstone Hunter - Side Scrolling platform game

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Minor Forum Rollback

Due to a change in web servers, it looks like the forum database was rolled back by about a week. There may be a handful of missing posts.

On another note, I'm wrapping up my current XNA-based project, and have been brainstorming plans for a new tutorial series, so I should have more to post "soon" :)

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Tile Engine Tutorial Series : Character on Iso Map - Part 2

Part 9 of the Tile Engine Tutorial Series is now available.

This installment finishes up adding a player-controlled character to the Isometric engine, accounting for slopes associated with map tiles and for setting which tiles on the map the character can walk on.

We finish up this installment by sorting out the draw depth for our character so he appears appropriately within the world. The installment can be found on the Tutorials Page or via Direct Link.


Tile Engine Tutorial Series : Character on Iso Map - Part 1

I have just uploaded Part 8 of the Tile Engine Tutorial Series to the site.

In this installment, we add a player-controlled character to our Isometric map, allowing the character to explore the map, scrolling the screen around as the edges are reached. Finally, we take the elevation of the terrain tiles into account and offset the character's draw location based on what he is walking on.

As normal, this tutorial can be found on the Tutorials Page or via Direct Link. In the upcoming Part 9, we will look at restricting where on the map the character can walk, and smoothly transitioning the character between elevations on the map.

NOTE: The Isometric Picking tutorial was updated to include some extensive modifications to the Camera class that are utilized by this tutorial. If you followed Part 7 prior to 6/7/2011, please go back and take a look at it again, as those updates will be needed for this installment.

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Isometric Picking Tutorial Updated

As reader AlexPGilbert pointed out in the comments for the Isometric Picking Tutorial, the tutorial code contains a bug that shows up when the camera is offset vertically by an odd amount. I have updated the tutorial with extensive changes to the Camera class (That I had planned to include in Part 8 but actually fix the problem with the misplaced hilight). The download Zip file has also been updated.

There may still be one issue with the code, but I'm working that out as I finish up on Part 8. :)It is fixed in the version that is online now.

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