Tile Engine Tutorial Series : Isometric Picking

I've been wrapped up in some Windows Phone 7 development for a while now (and really still am) but I wanted to go ahead and post the next installment of the Tile Engine Tutorial series as it has been mostly finished for a while.

This time around, we look at converting an X/Y coordinate (in screen terms) into a tile coordinate on the map. This tutorial looks at using the mouse to select tiles on an isometric map. The same technique applies to hexagonal maps as well.

The next installment will look at putting an animated character on the map, and relies on the code developed here to properly position the image as the character moves around the map. That installment should be arriving in the near future, but no absolute promises! :)

Check out the tutorial on the Tutorials Page or via the direct link.


3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0

As I indicated a few weeks ago, I recently received a copy of 3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0 by Sean James of Innovative Games. I've now had the opportunity to read through the book and try out the code samples.

The book begins, as you might expect, with a brief discussion of the XNA system, and introduces the implementation specifics of things like coordinate systems, projections, and transforms. By the end of the first chapter, Sean has laid out the fundamentals of loading models and setting up different types of 3D cameras. Next, Sean turns to a discussion of HLSL (High Level Shader Language), a topic which will, in one form or another, touch almost everything else that the book covers.

The remainder of the book is a rapid-fire implementation of a variety of different 3D effects, covering lighting, shadows, billboarding, environmental effects, model animations, and more. Sean hits the highlights in the explanatory text for each of the techniques introduced, though 3D beginners may feel a bit overwhelmed at first. The book is aimed at an intermediate level, and familiarity with C# and some aspects of XNA will be definate pluses.

The sheer volume of interesting techniques presented is excellent, and will be particularly useful if you have a grasp of 3D concepts from working in other languages/frameworks and want to move those skills to XNA. Current XNA developers looking to make the jump to 3D will find a wealth of HLSL and XNA code here to be exploited in their own games and engines.


Tile Engine Tutorial Series : Side Topic : Automatic Transitions

A few weeks ago, reader Alexander Weiß sent me an implementation of the Automatic Transition technique that was mentioned in Part 2 of the Tile Engine series. With his permission, I typed up information he sent me, and am posting it as the second "Side Topic" in the Tile Engine series.

With very little code, this implementation automatically generates transition tiles between terrain types when the map is defined, so you don't need to hand place transitions between different regions on the map.

Check out the tutorial on the Tutorials Page or via the direct link.

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Tile Engine Tutorial Series : Side Topic : Fog of War and Light Auras

In response to a forum post by Sando asking about create a "Fog of War" effect with the tile engine, I've posted a quick "Side Topic" tutorial on creating a basic fog of war, and then adapting the code to create an aura of visible area around the player.

As normal, you can find the tutorial listed on the Tutorials Page or via direct link.


Tile Engine Tutorial Series : Isometric Maps

It is finally here! I know some folks have been waiting quite a while for this installment of the Tile Engine Tutorial Series, and it is now up and available.

In part 4, we cover Isometric tile maps, with a great tileset from OpenGameArt.org. We will look at basic terrain tiles and the move on to "3D-ish" stacking tiles.

Check out the new installment on the Tutorials, or jump right to Part 4.


Upcoming Review : 3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0

I have a copy of the soon-to-be released book by Sean James entitled 3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0 on the way, and when it arrives I'll be reading through and reviewing it. This is the second XNA book released by Packt Publishing, the company that published my own XNA book last year.

There is a sample chapter from the book available here, which covers things like building 3D terrain from a heightmap, applying multi-texturing to the terrain, and adding billboarded objects. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book, so look for the full review in a few weeks.

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Flood Control for Windows Phone 7

Jason and I have put together our first game for the Windows Phone 7 marketplace: an enhanced version of Flood Control from XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner's Guide.

Besides being adapted for the Phone platform, Flood Control for WP7 includes new types of playing pieces, and is built using components like the sound and particle systems from later chapters in the book.

You can find the game on the WP7 Marketplace at this link.

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New Tile Engine Tutorial Series - Parts 2 and 3

Note: I've updated Part 3 because I realized I forgot to include the image and explanation for how we arrive at the offset values and spacing for the hexagonal tiles. That information is now integrated into the tutorial.

I've just posted the second and third installments of the new Tile Engine Tutorial Series.

In Part 2, we cover using larger tile sets, and creating layered effects by building stacks of tiles on an individual map square.

In Part 3, we look at our first alternate-shaped map tile, the Hexagon.

The series will continue in Part 4, where we will adapt our engine to support Isometric tiles.


Tile Engine Tutorial Series Returns

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I've uploaded the first installment of the new Tile Engine Tutorial Series. In this first installment, we cover the basics of putting together a tile map, separating our code into logical classes. We define tiles, create a map, display it on the screen and implement camera-based smooth scrolling.

Future installments of the Tile Engine series are underway, and will cover iso/hex maps, multiple tile layers, and other goodies. You can find the tutorial on the Tutorials page.

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Color Key Map Tutorial Updated and Re-posted

I have completed the update/reposting of the Color Key Map tutorial. I had forgotten just how long ago that was written... It was back when LoadContent was called LoadGraphicsContent, and the default SpriteBatch wasn't created as part of the skeleton XNA project.

The revised tutorial is listed on the Tutorials page, and can be found directly here.

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