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IceHeat

XNA: Good place to start?

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Hi, I have about a year of programming experience. Mainly in C# (ASP.NET). So last year I have been doing windows/database applications and websites of all sorts. I can do whatever people want me to do. However, I do not consider myself a good programmer. For instance, the ease of building a windows application with C#.NET, sometimes makes me feel like I am "cheating" and like I am not a "real" programmer. (However, I am eating takeout pizza now, isn't that what real programmers do? ;) ) Therefore, I have started on a C++ book called C++ Primer 4th edition. Just to get more intimate with lower-level programming. Well, much of the same story goes for Game programming now, I have been wanting to do this for a while, and did some C#/DirectX tutorials on MSDN. Did get the stuff to work, but the amount of work that goes into it, is mind-boggling sometimes. That was all 3D stuff, and I wanted to start simple with 2D. I have been reading alot of stuff here, and my goal became clear: To make simple games with 2D graphics. So one of the first things I want to do is make Tetris with sprites (Probably pong first) . So the last days I have been struggling to get some good info on how to get simple BMP's on my screen and move them. A daunting task, or so it seems, my explorations brought me to the recently released XNA Game Studio. I downloaded the stuff, and in no time I had these sprites on my screen. But, there it was again: The feeling of not being a real programmer. I knew I had just bypassed all the complicated DirectX initializations and stuff with a shiny new Framework from Microsoft. But for my goal, it seems perfect. To make simple 2D games. On the other hand, shouldn't I keep up the C++ until I can make Windows Applications? And then maybe try a little bit of DirectX *scary* ?? I wonder what you guys think, is XNA a good start for someone with a bit of programming experience? Should I play around with XNA and do C++ on the sideline to? Right now, XNA seems like a dream come true. That might all change ofcourse when I actually start making a game...

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Trust me, the not having to deal with all the initial setup crap with DirectX doesnt make you a cheater... it makes you lucky. Come DirectX 10, alot of C++ programmers are going to be doing less initialization/setup work, and trust me... they dont feel like its cheating! ;)

IMHO, Xna is an excellent way to learn programming, although again, I'm biased ;) The biggest downside is that it is in Beta so there is limited documentation and a few bugs here and there.

Plus, XNA is close enough to Managed Direct X, which is close enough to normal Direct X, that almost all the skills you pick up using XNA will be applicable to those other SDKS.

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