Tuesday, January 16, 2007

xna programming: pre-requisites

A few moons ago (WOW, it has been a while) I promised I would write a small game and post all my experiences and source code here, we did the game design, set the goals and started writing the game, then after getting sick, the holidays, updates to the XNA framework, etc, kinda stopped working on the game. anyway, I decided to pick it up and started studying xna tutorials again to see what kind of things I had done wrong due to my lack of knowledge, it seems I wasn't doing so bad so I can actually update the tools (since there is an official xna release now), modify a couple things on my code and I'm good to go

however there are a couple (big) things you need to download and install before we can continue
- Visual C# 2005 Express, you might want to NOT download the MSDN help for it though, that's an extra 2GB or so, VC#2005 Express can be downloaded here, and if you have any firewall issues you could download an offline installation (CD) here
- DirectX Software Development Kit, which includes XACT, a tool that will help you create and work with sounds
- XNA GSE (Game Studio Express), this is the thing that will allow you to create a xna project and conect all the dots so you can easily write xna apps, however beaware of the following:
  • Only supported on Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2 (all editions) at this time. Windows Vista will be available only in a future beta release of XNA Game Studio Express.
  • Hardware requirements are identical to those for Visual Studio 2005 plus a graphics card that supports DirectX 9.0c and Shader Model 1.1 (Shader Model 2.0 support recommended).
  • This release requires Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition to be installed before proceeding. You can install Visual C# Express from the Visual C# Express Download Page. However, other members of the Visual Studio 2005 line of products, for example Visual Studio 2005 Professional, can co-exist with XNA Game Studio Express on the same computer.
  • Installation of the XNA framework is not necessary on systems with XNA GSE installed
once you get all that working, take a look at the basic tutorials out there, get familiar with the API, play with it, my code won't be about teaching you C# like some of the tutorials on the provided links, I will assume you are already familiar with the language, although you might learn a technique or two but I won't be explaining C# coding, just the use of the XNA API and the overall design of the game

'til next time

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