Stroke-based text rendering in XNA

Mike over at Manders vs. Machine also has a cool new stroke-based text rendering solution over at his blog... this solution differs from the other text rendering solutions out there because it is resolution independent and shader based.  The basic idea is to draw the font's glyphs with a series of strokes of a virtual pen... Mike outlines some of the pros and cons of using this type of solution:
Good things:
  • Nice and scalable!
  • Flexible: I can do my usual mischief with vertex shaders and pixel shaders to make text look interesting and "game-like."
  • Tight: You can probably tell by now that I like small programs that do a lot, so a complete font solution in 500 lines (and no external resources needed) makes me happy.
  • You can change the font boldness to whatever you like by changing the line thickness.
  • With a script font, it would be possible to draw text slowly and incrementally (as if by an invisible pen) for dramatic effect.
Bad things:
  • Drawing curvy glyphs with straight lines is pretty inefficient, especially with my rounded caps at both ends of every segment. I'm sure my code is much slower than just splatting down a textured quad per character, but for the kind of programs I'm doing, Windows and the Xbox 360 have so much graphics horsepower to spare that I'm not concerned about it, especially for the small amount of text I'll be drawing (e.g., "Game Over" or "Score: 56,000"). The demo app draws a lot of text, so it's a bit clunky.
  • If you zoom enough, the tessellation of curved characters is visible.
  • Most of my line effects look bad on the stroke text, due to the overlap between line segments. I'm planning to write some different pixel shaders that do effects based on the transformed position, rather than on each line's rho/theta -- that should avoid those issues.

take a look...


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Microbe Patrol 1.0

Mike over at Manders vs. Machine has just released version 1.0 of his Microbe Patrol XNA game!  The basic concept of the game is to create trails from one point on the arena's perimeter to another, without touching any microbes... the longer your trail is, the more points you earn.... Take a look!

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Thanks to Mateusz Kierepka for the link to Visual3D.NET...  Visual3D.NET is a shader-based 3D engine and rapid production toolset for visually authoring interactive virtual worlds using C# and VB with Microsoft .NET, XNA Framework, and Visual Studio.

Looks like it offer alot of the same functionality of XNAMagic... it is great to see these kinds of tools poping up for XNA!  Take a look!

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XNAMagic! 3D Game Development System for XNA!

OK!  If you haven't seen it yet you HAVE to jump over to and checkout the Media Gallery!  XNAMagic is "The first true 3D game development system designed exclusively for the XNA Framework"! 
XNAMagic should hit BETA one in Feburary and they are taking signups right now at their site!  The core engine is designed to work on both Windows and the 360 and features a fully dynamic design time environment that allows you to see changes to all your game components, shaders, and assets in real time!
THIS LOOKS VERY COOL! I spent almost an hour at the site looking at the various demos they have up!  Take a look!

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XNA 360 Boat Racing Game

In a thread on the Microsoft XNA forum, waheyluggage has posted about a game he has put together for the XBox 360 similar to the old "Super Sprint" racing games, with a twist.  In his game, instead of cars on a track you are racing boats on a water course.  Check out the full post, which includes a link to the PC binary and a link to the source for deployment to the 360.

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Riemers 3D Tutorials - Part 3

Riemers has released his third set of 3D tutorials for XNA.  This time, he covers things like shadows and HLSL (High Level Shader Language).  Definately worth checking out!

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XNA 1946 Clone

On a thread over on the Microsoft XNA forums, Gendai has posted about a 1946 clone he is working on.  There is a working download of the game as well.  The game uses the mouse to move the user's plane around, with the mouse button to fire.

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XNA FPS Shooter Engine... Chaos!

OasisGames is working on a FPS shooter engine for XNA called Chaos!  He has some pretty impressive footage at You Tube of the engine in progress right now... He is using models from Halo to create a Banshee flying around a level in a FPS environment and has it even bouncing off the surface just as it does in the Halo game!  It is pretty encouraging that things like this are starting to pop up when XNA hasn't even been a finished product for an entire month yet! Make sure you check out his site for more details and links to other videos!

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XNA Quake!

PerPixel posted a thread over at the MSDN forums about his latest project yesterday... XNA Quake!  He has made some pretty impressive progress in porting the classic game we all love over to the XNA framework!  Checkout his post here to get some more details about what he has working so far and what he still needs to wrap up.  Take a look at his XNA Quake site for more details some screenshots of his progress!

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XNA-Lisp Interpreter Library

Jon Watte has released an XNA compatable Lisp interpreter library to allow for run-time scripting in XNA games.  From the description:
 It is a small Lisp interpreter intended for use for high- level functions in games written in Microsoft XNA, or other C#-dependent platforms. To use it simply build this file as an assembly named LispLib, and add it to your project. You can then execute text Lisp code through the Interpreter.Eval function.

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