Microsoft XNA Unleashed

Author: Chad Carter
Pages: 524
ISBN: 978-0672329647
Aimed at: Games developers
Rating: 4
Pros: Well-paced guidance with complete games projects
Cons: Not for complete beginner
Reviewed by: Mike James

If you’ve not come across XNA before the subtitle of this book explains its scope as Graphics and Game Programming for the Xbox 360 console and for Windows and the first chapter provides an introduction. Chad Carter traces its origins through DirectX, but emphasises that XNA was built from the ground up and not on top of Managed DirectX p although it utilizes DirectX 9 in the background. As for what XNA means he refers to the FAQ to tell us “XNA’s Not Acronymed”. The software covered by this book is all free – Visual C# Express, the DirectX 9 runtime and XNA Game Studio Express and the book provides advice on installing all of them. The next chapter explains that you don’t need to have an Xbox 360 console to program in XNA – you can write solely for a Windows PC and the author proceeds to explain how to develop games on the dual platform, sharing as much of the code as possible. This is a highly practical book and goes through its topics in a logical order, covering XNA basics for creating 3D objects and then input devices and camera before moving on to the Content Pipeline and sounds and music. It show to create, compile, debug and deploy games in both 2D and 3D and covers topics such as Physics, Artificial Intelligence and Special Effects. By the time you complete the book you’ll will be familiar with High Level Shader Language techniques and have given attention to the finishing touches that distinguish between work in progress and a playable 3D game. All the C# examples and source code are included on a CD-ROM which also provides an Explosion Generator tool.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 January 2009 )