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Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0 Unleashed 1st Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0672330223
ISBN-10: 0672330229
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Using XNA Game Studio 3.0, any programmer can master the art of game development and begin selling games to millions of Xbox 360 users worldwide. Now, there's a practical, comprehensive guide to game development with Microsoft's powerful new XNA Game Studio 3.0 and the entire XNA Framework. In "Microsoft(R) XNA(R) Game Studio 3.0 Unleashed," XNA expert Chad Carter covers the entire XNA platform, presents extensive sample code, and explains that code line by line. Carter walks you through the entire process of game development, including installing XNA, creating objects, handling input, managing and extending the content pipeline, optimizing game performance, and creating both 3D and 2D games. Carter presents sophisticated coverage of using XNA's high level shader language; creating physical effects; and endowing characters with realistic artificial intelligence. A case study section walks through the entire process of planning and coding a game, improving it, and putting on the finishing touches that make it marketable. This edition contains nine new chapters, including all-new sections on creating networked games, programming games for the Zune handheld, and preparing and submitting games to Xbox LIVE, where accepted titles will reach gamers worldwide.
  • Plan your games to deliver solid performance on the platforms you've targeted
  • Understand essential XNA Framework concepts, including object creation, cameras, input handling, libraries, game services, and managing and extending the content pipeline
  • Create a 2D game that will run across 3 platforms (Windows, Xbox 360, and Zune) with a single code base
  • Create a Visualizer media player for the Microsoft Zune
  • Use the High Level Shader Language (HLSL) to communicate directly with graphics hardware
  • Bring realistic physics to your game action and realistic artificial intelligence to your characters
  • Create sophisticated 3D effects that use advanced texturing and a particle system
  • Build networked games, including multiplayer demos, turn-based games, and real-time network games
  • Create 4 full games-2D parallax side scroller, 3D shooter, multiplayer turn-based 2D card game, and a multiplayer real-time 3D game
  • Discover best practices for creating Xbox LIVE Community Games
  • Sell your finished game on Xbox LIVE Marketplace
CD-ROM includes: All C# examples and source code presented in this book.

About the Author

Chad Carter, Chief Technology Officer at Robertson Marketing Group, authored the previous edition of this book, Microsoft® XNA™ Unleashed: Graphics and Game Programming for Xbox 360 and Windows. Chad has been writing games and graphics software for more than 15 years.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 792 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (March 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672330229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672330223
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,490,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have the author's first book that covered XNA Game Studio 1.0 Refresh. This book was not a simple name change - it has actual coverage of the new 3.0 topics as well as great coverage of the 2.0 topics that other books just gloss over.

There are a total of 9 new chapters in this book. These 9 chapters are worth the price of the book in and of themselves. There seems to be some changes to the original content, but just in order to make it work effectively with the latest version of the framework.

Out of the 9 new chapters, 2 are on Zune development. Once done with those chapters I had my own visualizer and ported over the 2D game I created. I tend to stick with 3D, but having a neat handheld device to create games on is pretty cool so I will probably create another game - especially if Microsoft opens up the Zune Marketplace for us to sell games on like that did on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. In fact, 2 of the 9 new chapters discuss best practices for developing games for the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and discusses what is needed to actually submit XNA Community games.

The other 5 chapters are all about networking. It amazes me how much detail the author put into these chapters. If you are even thinking about creating a multiplayer game for Windows or the Xbox 360 or the Zune then you have to get this book just for those chapters. The first chapter is excellent information to help with understanding networks and the physical speed limitations of sending data across the internet. The next chapter moves past the theory and shows how to create a bare-bones, "just the facts", multiplayer demos for Windows, the Xbox 360 and the Zune.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a lot of information in it, but very poor organization. The way topics are explained is also very inconsistent. The things that actually *need* explaining will leave you wondering what just happened, and the parts that are obvious get paragraphs (or even pages) devoted to them. On the bright side, it does assume you are a competent programmer (well, more than some other books anyway) and does not waste any time trying to teach you C# or fundamental programming concepts, and that the tone of the book at least tries to be direct and to the point, and not trying to be funny all the time, which almost always ruins a book for me.

When I read a programming book with a code sample, I like the author to just say "here's the code sample", then present it, then go through it line by line. Instead the author builds up the code samples by presenting a few lines at a time, with the code interspersed with comments like: "To do this we'll have to add a private member variable of type Matrix to the class. We'll call this member 'projection'. A few paragraphs later a code fragment is presented that relies on all of this stuff. This is of course a simple example that would be not be too hard to deal with, but when you start having inheritance hierarchies and non-trivial relationships between classes it becomes an issue.

I admit it *seems* like a natural way to present and discuss code, but it doesn't work. You can never just look at a piece of code in the book and figure out what it's doing. There's too many dependencies on paragraphs from 10 pages ago, or a previous chapter, or even worse, code that hasn't even been presented yet!
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Format: Paperback
The book is labeled Intermediate to Advanced for a reason.

If you look at the different reviews on the site, you can pretty easily tell which people decided - hey I want to program games even though I have very little experience in programming and those that understand topics such as polymorphism, inheritence and design patterns.

The other item I see in these reviews is complaining about the order of items. The author very plainly states why he chose to order it the way he did. Personally, this helped me a lot. I am making a 3D game currently and hope to have it up on Xbox LIVE in the Indies channel before too long.

An excerpt from "How This Book Is Organized" section of the Introduction (Good thing Amazon has a preview option available for this book):
... With a book that is designed to be read from front to back, the main drawback is a larger time commitment. However, there is usually deeper understanding by the time the task is complete versus the same amount of time spent looking at particular topics on the subject from online tutorials and blog posts. Both are very important, ...
... I do believe this book's order is important, and I did not change it from the first edition. ... The next chapter jumps right into talking about the Xbox 360. Even though there are people who do not have anXbox 360, it is important to put this chapter up front so you can be aware of certain things when creating games using XNA. It is always important to know what you are up against before you start. It is for this same reason that the very next chapter is on performance. ...
... The first real game code that is present in the book is written for 3D. Many people are shocked that 2D is not discussed until Chapter 9, "2D Basics.
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