Archive for July, 2010

Info – My YouTube Channel

My YouTube channel can be found here. At the moment this only includes videos of Manic Mummies, my 1st game i did under the 8WeekGame competition. I hope to add more videos of upcoming games and video Tutorials for XNA, so please subscribe for future content.
I will post on here also to let people know when new content is up though, and hope to tie in Tutorials from here to a Video tutorial on YouTube.

Info – How The XNA Framework Operates – Beginners

Unlike Windows programs (which are event driven), XNA programs runs in a continuous loop until the game exits. While the game is running, the Garbage Collector releases/reclaims managed referenced memory which isnt used. On a normal Windows PC, there are 3 Generations of memory, but because the Xbox 360 uses the .NET Compact Framework assembilies, there is only 1 Generation. This can cause Latency within your programs if you are not careful with memory and the GC needs to run often.

As i said previously, the main application calls your game (inherited by Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Game). The Game class contains various methods which are called during runtime in the following order:

  1. Main games Initialize method.
  2. Each game component Initialize methods (if you have any)
  3. If your game has any Drawable game components, then their LoadContent methods are called.
  4. Main games LoadContent methods are called.
  5. Main games Update methods are called.
  6. Each game components Update Methods.
  7. Main games Draw methods are called.
  8. Each game drawable components Draw methods are called.
  9. The game then loops around 5-8 (ie Update then Draw methods for the main game and components)
  10. If you reset the device, then UnloadContent is called.

This is a basic illustration of what goes on within the nuts and bolts of the loop. The XNA Framework handles the Game Loop within the Framework, either by a fixed or variable step timing. The default is fixed step and it targets 60 FPS (1/60th second).
What this means is that Update method is only called when the Game member TargetElapsedTime elapsed. If it is not time to call Update again, the Draw is called. Microsoft have also built an IsRunningSlowly, which means the game is running under 60 FPS, so XNA tries to compensate and calls Update extra time until caught up (without calling Draw in between).

For more information on the Application Model Overview – See here.

Tutorial – How To Start a New XNA Project

Again, this is aimed at beginners who have just started using Visual Studio 2008. To start a new project:

XP Users:

  1. Use the mouse and hit Start icon in the left hand side.
  2. Navigate through All Programs->Microsoft Games Studio <Version number>Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
  3. This will start Visual Studio IDE. Now to start a new Project navigate either:i) If VS2008 takes you to the Start Page tab (With the MSDN RSS Feeds etc), on thre top left hand  square  will will a square with clickable links:

ii) Or you can navigate by using File->New-Project and selecting one of the required XNA templates (Which should be under C#)

Tutorial – Installing XNA Games Studio

This ia quite an easy one really. You will need the following to begin coding XNA games:

  1. A PC (!)
  2. Visual Studio Express/Professional/Team Edition. If you want to code for Windows 7 Modile, you will need the 2010 edition.
  3. XNA Games Studio 3.1 or 4.0 (Only beta version is available at time of writing) for Windows 7 Mobile.
  4. You can sign up for the Creators Club website for free. If you want to install games on your Xbox you will need to pay a 4monthly fee of £39.99 or £60.00 for annual.

Then all installed and ready to go. There are requirements for Graphics Cards and shader models, but all modern cards should be ok for your needs.

The hardware requirements are though from Microsofts website:

“Hardware requirements are identical to those for Visual Studio 2008, plus a graphics card that supports DirectX 9.0c and Shader Model 1.1 (Shader Model 2.0 is recommended and required for some Starter Kits). Zune development requires the Zune 3.0 firmware.

8WeekGame – Results

The results are in for the 1st winner of 8WeekGame – see here.
A new competition will begin on the 04/10/10 for me, Shaw and the Badger. The 3rd competition we will be running in 2011, will hopefully be open to the general public also, which will be good!

Hello world!

Welcome! My first post of many hopefully to document/rant about my journey learning XNA! The book im reading at the moment is XNA Game Studio 3.0  Unleashed (Chad Carter). I have just started this, but just flicking through it , there is alot! I hope to garner enough skills and knowledge to truely be a force to reckon with once our 2nd 8weekgame competition kicks off again in October.

More to come when i know it!