Posts tagged with xna

Adding depth to my programming ability

Elite on the BBC MicroI remember gazing at the screen of Acornsoft’s Elite in my childhood wondering what the code behind those 3D images looked like.

How did they rotate like that? How did it know which lines to hide? And more importantly where I can get a good price for this cargo hold of radio-actives and platinum?

Scouring through magazines, books and the library revealed nothing. Where on Lave was this elusive magic formula?

My attempts at reverse engineering Vu-3D shed no light and the web was still being conceived in Mr Berners-Lee’s brain so Google wouldn’t be able to exist for some time yet.

My programming continued on a more serious tract writing first silly hacks and demo’s, then utilities and into business software as an actual paid job. In my spare time I knocked out some other developer tools, utilities, drivers and even a Flash game of pool for a National Lottery.

3D remained the elusive beast long after the information became available to me. Matrices were not something my mind wanted to grasp a second time.

Then along came OGRE, written by a long-time friend of mine – Steve Streeting.

We’d actually hoped to write a game a long time ago when we were younger and less informed about how much work that would involve. The only thing that survived was the company name I still use for my consulting work – Envy Technologies.

Ogre looked promising. Object-oriented design meant it could hide most of the complexity and let me get on with high-level concepts and setting properties.

If only my degree wasn’t in the way!

Still I had a play and then the lure of Microsoft’s XNA came along.

Based on .NET Framework 2 and C# – the very two technologies I use day-in day-out to write those aforementioned serious apps. Write a game once and deploy it to the PC and Xbox 360 and from C# – a more enjoyable experience than the last C++ stuff I did (under DOS!)

XNA has been interesting to mess with at least on the 3D front. I’ve managed with not too much effort to plot a pyramid on the screen using co-ordinates I figured out, get it bobbing about a bit and changing the color via vertex and pixel shaders respectively and even get it and the viewpoint spinning round from the 360 controller.

Whoa.

From there on you find yourself soon needing features that aren’t there and you have to build yourself or acquire an engine to do it. The managed nature of XNA means that any engine you want to use will have to be specifically written for XNA itself – I guess Garage Games is hoping to cash in once XNA 1.0 gets out with their XNA engine Torque X.

Steve popped round this weekend for a chat about the usual geek topics we discuss I was very grateful that he lent me one of his complementary copies of Pro Ogre 3D Programming (he was technical reviewer and wrote the foreword).

I’m only at the end of Chapter 3 so far and with the exception of wondering what Scene Graphs were I’m still following everything.

Maybe I’ll be able to escape my 2D prison soon.

[)amien

XNA Game Studio Beta 2 has Xbox 360 support

Screenshot of the XNA Game Studio 360 registration windowYesterday I predicted the ability to run XNA code on our Xbox 360’s today.

We’re not quite there yet but we are a lot closer than most people believed this time yesterday.

Contrary to preliminary info on beta 2 of XNA Game Studio before it release it DOES in fact contains the necessary pieces for 360 development.

Specifically the registration window inside XNA Game Studio, shown here, the XnaTrans.exe tool for transferring builds over to the 360 and a surprise XNA Remote Performance Monitor for Xbox 360 tool.

I believe we have all the software we need right now. All we need Microsoft to do is to enable the Xbox 360 side – most likely a menu option alongside the Connect to media PC that’ll throw the connection key up on the screen that the PC side needs.

If anyone from the XNA team wants to turn mine on for testing my gamertag is DamienG ;-)

Update

It would seem the XNA team are prohibited from allowing beta code to run on retail Xbox 360’s :( Let’s hope they get to a 1.0 release sooner rather than later. A comprehensive look at the other beta 2 changes can be found at the XNA Team Blog.

[)amien

Compile XNA for your Xbox 360 tomorrow?

There’s a possibility that tomorrow will see the announcement of XNA Game Studio Beta 2 with support for compiling and running applications on your Xbox 360.

Originally this was scheduled for the final 1.0 release and would involve a $99 annual fee for the privilege but what better way to get hype and excitement than to offer it free for a month or two while it’s being polished and tested during the beta phase?

Before you think I’m dreaming consider that Microsoft released the Xbox 360 Halloween firmware update this morning complete with XNA support, admittedly overshadowed by the announcement of 1080p support – another thorn in Sony’s leaky side.

The official release notes made it clear that the XNA support was tied into future availability and subject to subscriptions. The page on Xbox.com just comes out and plain says “now”.

Dave over at LetsKillDave says they’ll be an announcement about XNA Game Studio Beta 2 in the next 24 hours although he has previously stated that the demonstrated technique for deploying games to the 360 won’t be available until 1.0.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

[)amien

XNA Game Studio Express out today

Beta 1 of Microsoft’s free XNA Game Studio Express product should be available for download later today.

If you haven’t already got started you’ll need to download the following bits first:

Then sign up for the beta and come hang out in the IRC channel #xna on irc.quakenet.org.

Update

XNA Game Studio Express is now available for download!

[)amien