A new year, a new fire under the kettle. I haven’t really been working on XNA since I posted my submission to DreamBuildPlay of ’08. I took a nice vacation to Japan for 2.5 weeks, and caught up on some gaming that has been stacking up on me. Since the turn of this new year, I have been getting the itch back into XNA, and have been working on my 2d game engine.
I have refactored my tile engine a bit, and converted everything over to XNA 3.0. Also, I have been working on some 2d animation classes that would resemble in a skeletal system, and use key frames. Right now it is in a very basic form, and is based on what James Silva used for Dishwasher. Along with the character animation classes, I have worked on a mapping system for a platformer that doesn’t use tiles. This will allow me to use this engine for both top down and side scrollers, with basic tile engine, and a more complex "platformer" engine. I don’t have any screens for this yet, but I will post some updates as I progress.
Blade3d has finally reached Beta 2! This new build includes over 15 major new features and more than 50 improvements and bug fixes. This utility for XNA seems pretty promising and I am excited to see it hit Beta 2. To learn more about Blade3d, head on over to Blade3d.com.
Up on the XNA Team blog, there was an announcement today saying that the XNA Game Studio 2.0 beta will soon be available. This is some great news, but would have been even better to just drop the beta on us while we weren’t looking. Anyways, here is what they had to say:
It’s been a while since we posted on the upcoming XNA Game Studio 2.0 release. The good news is that there will be a XNA Game Studio 2.0 beta available for you to download very soon!
This beta is considered "feature complete." This means that while we still have some issues to address, all of the features that will be in the release are included as part of the beta. However like all our previous betas, the beta is for the Windows-based computer functionality only and you will not be able to deploy games to the Xbox 360 system.
Unfortunately, there were a few things that didn’t make it into this release. The most prominent being that you cannot host XNA applications in Windows Forms. All the other major features that we talked about earlier this year will be available!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be blogging about some of the new features in XNA Game Studio 2.0 and what’s been changed. This should give you a good idea of what to expect in the release.
Keep an eye on our blog or add us to your RSS reader of choice as we’ll post as soon as the beta is released!
Program Manager – XNA Community Game Platform
You can read the whole thing over at the XNA Team’s Blog.
Late last night or early this morning, XNA Game Studio 2.0 was released. You can go to the XNA Creators Club site to get all the necessary files to get going. This new release includes XBox Live support, and much more. Here is a snippet from Microsoft’s Download page.
This release of the much anticipated 2.0 version contains improved performance along with new features such as expanded support for Visual Studio 2005 products, networking and multiplayer support, the XNA Game Studio Device Center, easier Xbox 360 connectivity, improved content pipeline experience, and much more.
Over at XNA’s Creators Club site, they have released the September content update for our brains to gobble up and have fun with. In this update, there was 4 new samples, 3 new utilities, and 1 article about the ship game. (from creators.xna.com) Samples Collision Series 4: Collision with a Heightmap – This sample demonstrates how to move objects along a heightmap, useful when creating a game that requires interaction between moving objects and terrain. Custom Model Class – This sample shows how to go beyond the limits of the Model class that comes built in to the XNA Framework, loading geometry data into an entirely custom class that can be extended more easily to cope with specialized requirements. Mesh Instancing – This sample shows how to efficiently render many copies of the same model, using GPU instancing techniques to reduce the cost of repeated draw calls. Shatter – This sample shows how you can apply an effect on any model in your game to shatter it apart. Utilities Curve Editor – This utility provides an easy-to-use visual editor for creating curves for use with the XNA Framework Curve class. The curve control used to display and edit curves inside the editor can also be imported into your own applications. Input Reporter – This utility displays input data for all controllers connected to the system. The utility supports multiple controller types, including flight sticks, dance pads, and guitars. Xbox 360 Controller Button Glyphs – This utility is a set of images that represent the buttons, thumbsticks, and triggers on the Xbox 360 Controller. Other Ship Game Article – 3D Collision using the BoxCollider library – This supplemental article introduces the BoxCollider library provided in Ship Game. BoxCollider is a collision detection and response library that features an octree implementation, collision response with friction effects, and prebuilt collision-aware camera classes.
Reading thru the abstracts from the XNA GameFest 2007 conference (Seatle, August 13-14 2007), I’ve come across something that looks like pure joy for us XNA devs. If you look thru the XNA Game Studio abstracts, you will see one about XNA Game Studio 2.0. But that is not even the kicker. The abstract right after the one about 2.0 version of XNA Game Studio, talks about networking with XNA. I can’t wait to hear what the XNA GameFest 2007 unveils to us XNA developers.
Man, yesterday was a rush with the XNA Gamefest announcements, along with the winners of the DreamBuildPlay competition (congrats to all the winners). Along with the XNA Gamefest, some new content was released to the XNA community through Creators.XNA.com. (from creators.xna.com) Starter Kit Ship Game (Creators Club Premium Content) – Ship Game is a 3D spaceship combat game set inside a complex tunnel system. Ship Game features advanced lighting and textures, a full GPU particle system, and advanced physics. Explore the tunnels on your own, or take on a friend head-to-head using split-screen mode. Samples Distortion – This sample demonstrates how to implement a variety of screen-space distortion effects with a general post-processing technique. Shader Series 4: Materials and Multiple Light Sources – This sample shows how to combine the techniques shown in the previous Shader Series samples into a system that can utilize multiple light sources and multiple meshes with materials data. Tutorials Optimization: Particles and High-Frequency Code – This tutorial teaches you how to find and correct performance problems in your game, and highlights solutions to common performance problems on Xbox 360, using a particle system as an example.
WooHoo! During the XNA Gamefest 2007, Microsoft announced there will be a version 2 of the XNA GameStudio. There is some really nifty features that I have been looking forward to. Here is a small list that I have been waiting for, you can read the rest on the XNA Team Blog.
- XNA Game Studio 2.0 works in all versions of Visual Studio 2005. This includes Standard and Professional, as well as many other specific editions.
- Create rich multiplayer games over Xbox LIVE using the new networking APIs.
- Host XNA Framework games easily inside a Windows Form.
I have been working on this tilemap engine for a bit off and on, and recently started to implement it with a 2d camera. I had it all working from some examples I dissected, regurgitated, and mixed in with some cyber wizardry. There was only 1 slight issue. When I went to rotate the map, or zoom in or out, I got some funky artifacts. This happens when using tiles. I was content with what I had, but I wanted it to be the best darn tilemap engine in the world! (ok, that is kinda pushing it, but you get the drift.) I started to look on how I could implement what I had, but not get the artifacts. I found out that XNA has a nifty little class called, RenderTarget2D. It took some tinkering and mostly me trying to remember my math from college… Which by the way, it seems if you don’t use it, you lose it. Curse my memory! Tonight though, I finally finished it, but it is not polished yet. There is still some stuff left I want to tweak and make it better. I am posting some screen shots so you can see what I’m talking about. After I polish this off, I am going to clean up my code and create a nice little tutorial of sorts, cause you know, this thing bug’d me for a while…
Games for Change and Microsoft announced a new XNA contest at the fourth annual Games for Change Festival at Parsons The New School for Design. The contest is set to launch sometime this summer. Read more here.