XNA Game Studio Express (available for download)

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Dan MacDonald, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    This appears to be the first public (beta) release. XP is the only supported plaform so they havn't released the Xbox 360 component of it yet.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/

    From the XNA site...

     
  2. PoV

    PoV
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    Requires C# express download too.
     
  3. Dan MacDonald

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    Ya.. all the dependancies and setup steps are in the readme if you are looking to try it out.
     
  4. Pyabo

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    What's the low end on the DX9 Shader 2.0 video cards? I've been out of the loop for a while... still using a Fx5700 here.
     
  5. PoV

    PoV
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    Well, it was kind of neat to see it actually working, given my previous problems with XNA Build back GDC time. Now if I only knew C#, I'd have a customary hello world going before I forget about it in all its sharpy existence.

    'cmon Hiro, start that LOL port. :D
     
  6. PoV

    PoV
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  7. wazoo

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    Thanks @Dan checking it out now.

    Though if I've got VS2005 Professional, I don't understand the logic behind also having to install the Visual C# 2005 Express Edition...:confused:

    Ahh well. Finally a chance to get a first hand look at what-the-hell XNA actually *is*. :)
     
  8. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    The lameo installer checks for express.. so you have to download and install it. But you can uninstall it and reference the .dll's and templates from pro easily once it installs.
     
  9. wazoo

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    Thanks for the suggestion.

    *shrug* Not a big deal. They can work side-by-side, so I'm not that bothered by it.

    I just tried to play the spacewar demo with it, but it seems to want an XBox controller? I'll start digging through code to see if I can find a way to use the keyboard as an input device instead. ;)
     
  10. Atomic Paul

    Atomic Paul New Member

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    Waz0o, I got it working with keys lastnight. Just go to "gamepadhelper.cs" file and uncomment the top

    Code:
    //#define USE_KEYBOARD. 
    It will then let you use some ass-backwards keymapping to "play" said "game".

    Obviously i've only had a quick look at XNA last night, I too was "upset" that I had to d/l c#express when I have VStudio2005.

    In my case I also had errors trying to run the demo game but added:

    Code:
    this.graphics.AllowMultiSampling = false;
    before the two graphics calls which were flagged as errors. Dunno why they were but it didn't seem to be able to detect the level of multisampling properly for my card so I just stuck that in to work around it. May be useful for anyone else with the problem.

    I also changed the resolution to something that wasn't 1280x720 so it would fit on my monitor, albeit loosing some of the fixed res art/layouts - quick hack only!. this is in "spacewargame.cs"

    Code:
                //Set Screen to 720p mode (yeah maybe when it's on an actual xbox360 thanks MS)
                graphics.BackBufferFormat = SurfaceFormat.Color;
                graphics.BackBufferHeight = 768;
                graphics.BackBufferWidth = 1024;
                graphics.IsFullScreen = false;
    
    As for C#, i've never touched it before (being a C++ person mainly) but I have to say, the amount of hand holding was a bit off putting. Obviously if I had time right now to learn C# (the basics of which wouldn't take too long) I'm not sure I'd enjoy coding with it. Besides i'm too busy with C++ on the main (PC) projects.

    It's nice to have a mess around with, keep your hand in but it's just a curiosity to me at the moment (the same as "homebrew" DS/GBA development).
     
    #10 Atomic Paul, Aug 31, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2006
  11. wazoo

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    Thanks @Atomic!

    Heh. Yeah I'll still be on C++ for quite some time yet, but I figure it's worth it from time to time to stick my head up from the cubbyhole once in a while. :D
     
  12. filharvey

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    I was also able to have a play with things. It is actually quite nice. Seems easy to get things done.

    Actually as a having worked on the 360, programming for the 360 is simple anyway. Hardest thing, for most people to get their heads around, is the multi-core programming.

    But for the indies who want to get into 360, this certainly looks like the way to go. I'm interested in how the final (or next beta) works, with the link upto the 360.

    Anyway, I think I may covert all my libraries and code over to C#, just as an experiment.

    Phil
     
  13. PaulModz

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    Torque X?!?

    Awesome. I've already bought into .Net and C# in a big way. This beta of XNA Express shows that M$ is putting its weight behind .Net as the primary development environment for 2 of the 4 major gaming platforms.

    I was hoping to see some commercial game engines written in .Net soon, but I just found a link to GarageGames' new product, Torque X. I've posted on their site for more details, but it looks like the number of commercially-viable, officially supported game engines written in .Net has increased infinitely from zero to one.

    As for requiring C# Express, it's just a function of the Express beta of XNA, which has the latest XNA bits. You can still get an older version that works with 2005 in the latest Managed DirectX release, I think. M$ will eventually sync up all the builds (I must have gone through this 4 or 5 times while mixing and matching betas of .NET 2.0, VS2005 and SQL2005).

    Finally, I say this all the time, but all you C++ guys should spend a few man days in the next month or so playing with C#. I was a serious, dyed-in-the-wool C++ geek for over 10 years, and dropped it like a bad habit after using C# for a few days.
     
  14. Atomic Paul

    Atomic Paul New Member

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    And how does that go down with non MS specific development on say DS or MAC? I will never get into proprietary languages exclusively, the whole reason I went to C++ in the first place (keep my options open and be able to "talk" to 99% of libraries and code out there)

    Oh, not to mention for current *PC* work, c# (.net and most certainly XNA) is completely non-viable for the target markets that most indie devs aim for. .Net and DX9 being two more hurdles your potential user may have to jump through hoops for.
     
    #14 Atomic Paul, Aug 31, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2006
  15. Atomic Paul

    Atomic Paul New Member

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    This is not really for "indies" but for the hobbiest who want to make freeware and pay for the privilege. Look, i'm not against the XNA deal, I was excited to download it and I will be learning more about it in time but its "too high requirements" for PC indie games and it's "freeware hobbiest" usage on Xbox360 put it in a no-mans-land as far as independent software sales goes (which is what most of us mean by "indie" when we use the term around here).

    For true "indie" on the 360 (read Selling games on XBLA) you STILL need to be on the "hard-to-get-onto" certified developers list and you still need a $$$$ devkit from what i've read. If i'm wrong please correct me and I'll start learning C# asap! ;)
     
  16. Uty

    Uty
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    I looked at this stuff last night. I think it's interesting. And best of all, a free tool. It's not limited to 360 development. Would you guys consider using this tool to make and sell a PC game?
     
  17. impossible

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    I put my initial thoughts on the blog. Most of my complaints are things that have come up here. Minor things like no keyboard support without changing code (I missed the define, I'll try it out), having to install Visual C# Express.

    In terms of features it doesn't give you anything that C# and Managed DirectX don't give you besides a prewritten gameloop and a sprite renderer. In terms of features D3DX gives you more to work with. I was really expecting something more like Ogre, not a full 3D game engine but also much more than a low level graphics API. A lot of the complexities of Direct3D are hidden but many things are not. It is in no way a "easy game maker" for the 360, and I'm afraid its been marketed that way to a lot of dissapointed people.

    I don't see any indies using this for Windows games because it doesn't offer you anything that you can't get elsewhere and it has high system requirements (SM 2.0 and .NET framwork 2.0.) In an industry where there are people worried about releasing 3D acceleration only games or dropping Windows 98 support, this isn't an option.

    For those of you saying "I don't have time to learn C#" its not really much of a jump from C++ and even less of different than Java. If you have experience with either of those languages and access to the .NET framework documentation you should be productive in no time.
     
  18. PaulModz

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    Who are you to tell me what "indie" means around here, you're still a Junior Member (until you post again) ;)

    Seriously, I’d say that .Net and DX9 are hurdles for casual games, though not for indie games, which may or may not be casual, follow? There are more casual devs on this forum, but there are enough of us targeting the hard-core side of indie to clear this fact up now and again.

    I've got a bit of a skewed perspective since I've done a lot of non-game dev in the last 5 years. 2 or 3 years ago my co-workers were making these exact same (and equally valid) arguments when I started preaching .Net at them, now they use it 10 hours a day and love it. It's not that they were wrong, they were right; it just took a while for all the benefits to become clear and for the technology to become sufficiently ubiquitous. I would suggest people locked into C++ NOT investigate C#, you may find your inner coder trying to rationalize its use.

    Cross-platform is the big downside to .Net, and the whole thing was so clearly designed to support this beautifully. At least Mono still hasn’t been squashed by lawyers, which means it probably won’t be.

    I agree with your assessment of indie development on the 360 with XNA Express, but the full-blown version of XNA will be a god-send to big developers using the stone-age tools provided by Sony and Nintendo. I don’t care about console development at all, but more game devs using .Net helps the snowball reach critical mass. One caveat, I think M$ would help even the “indiest” of developers get a really hot casual game into XBLA.

    Uty, there is a lot of marketing noise surrounding XNA right now, but it’s really just a build tool that has a lot of content management hooks to make cross-platform support easier (i.e., you can scale and compress the same source image differently for Windows and Xbox during your build process).

    As far as the technology that goes into the code, nothing has really changed, it’s just Managed DirectX 9 and .Net 2.0 combined and re-branded with Xbox 360 support thrown in.

    If you’re planning to make a Windows only product that will ship in the next year, you’d be better off using Visual C# Express and the latest release of the Managed DirectX SDK. You also need to use .Net 1.1, since the beta of Managed DirectX for .Net 2.0 will never be released. The full release of XNA will replace it.
     
    #18 PaulModz, Aug 31, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2006
  19. Atomic Paul

    Atomic Paul New Member

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    I know you are joking (I think anyway) but I've actually been on here for over 2 years and have a post count of over 1000 if that is of any significance to my opinion. (my other logon is Sharpfish which I have changed to this new one for a number of reasons). If I could change my new post count to say 1000+ to be taken more seriously then I would ;)


    No, can you explain it to me really s l o w l y it's far too much info to follow!

    Thanks for the lesson, being someone who is also not soley targeting the casual market I would never have known it exsited until you pointed it out.
    However, if you are sure enough and have done enough research to prove that raising system/hardware requirments is ever a good thing for indie devs then I bow before you without daring to question.


    I don't care about your co-workers. I am talking from the perspective of an indie game developer who wishes his games to be playable by someone with an older system and to not have to download .net framework to make my game run. cheers.

    Hold on, why am I better off requiring my players to have to download .Net and change my entire codebase to C# just so I can say "i'm with the program"? Somewhere you have confused me ( a fixed function pipeline programmer who wishes to keep compat as high as possible) with yourself (someone who wishes to embrace new paradigms and get up to scratch with technology while not particularly aiming at the markets with older hardware or outdated DX installs).

    All of which leads me to believe that what I posted was a valid opinion, more inline with the type of developer who visits these boards, and in general they typically would agree (do a search, if you had been around here the last 2 years you would have seen this issue discussed/resolved numerous times) that even DX9 is a no-no as far as casual and SOME indie games go. As it was a valid opinion there is no need to try and convert me, I'm just fine and productive with C++ and no extra downloads for my target audience. :)

    And before you say "everyone has .net and DX9 installed these days", trust me they most certainly do not.

    I thankyou.
     
  20. Sharpfish

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    There we go is that better? ;)

    I even 'wasted' my 1000th post (which I was reserving for my game announcement) on you, you must be very special!

    I may as well stick with this one now, I hold my hand up to misrepresentation though so no hard feelings. ;)
     

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