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[Postponed] XNA Workshop - Introduction

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The proposed XNA Workshop has been postponed. An announcement will be made when a new start date has been chosen and the workshop is to resume.

Welcome to the XNA Workshop Introduction Thread

It's once again time to announce my annual GameDev.net Workshop! Due to public interest and its recent release, this time I will be running the workshop on XNA 3.0! Unlike my previous workshops, this one will require previous C# programming experience. Additionally, a basic understanding of game programming and linear algebra (vectors, matrices, transforms) is highly recommended. XNA Workshop Proposal (Start date: March 30, 2009) Overview: This workshop is designed to aid people in their journey to learn XNA. This workshop is targeted at highly motivated individuals who are interested in learning XNA or who have attempted to learn XNA in the past, but found that without sufficient support and mentoring they were unable to connect all the pieces of this highly complex but powerful Framework. This is a guided workshop. Each student is responsible for taking the time to read the material and learn the information. The community and tutors that arise out of this workshop are here for making the learning process run more smoothly. Because everyone will be working from the same source materials, students may find it easier to get answers to the specific questions they might have. There is no minimum age requirement, however all participants should have at least mastered Algebra, Geometry, and some Matrix/Vector mathematics. Additionally, this workshop does not attempt to defend XNA as a Framework, nor does it attempt to demonstrate that XNA is either more or less useful than other API's for any particular purpose. People who intend to start a discussion about the differences between XNA and ANY other API (except as are relevant to a particular topic), are encouraged to do so elsewhere. This workshop is for educational, not philosophical discussions. "XNA Workshop" Summary:
  1. Anyone interested in participating will be asked to Sign Up so I can keep track of who's following along; details of this will be provided in the coming weeks.
  2. Anyone interested in participating will purchase a copy of The Complete XNA.
  3. Anyone interested in participating will download and install XNA Game Studio 3.0 and Visual C# 2008 Express Edition. (Or another edition)
  4. Each week participants are responsible for reading the designated chapters of the assigned text material.
  5. As people have questions on a chapter they may post them in our weekly chapter forums, located in the XNA Workshop Forum, to be answered by myself and other members of the GDNet and XNA community.
  6. More advanced XNA programmers may post additional questions or exercises to help test the other students' understanding of the material.
  7. Each week students should submit their answers to the quiz questions located at the end of the chapters by using our new Workshop Quiz System. Quizzes will be graded, so that I can determine how effectively the information is being conveyed.
  8. Every four weeks there will be a programming project due (see below) - designed to test a student's understanding of the previous 4 weeks. Students should complete these projects and upload the source code to our project database for peer review and feedback.
C# Workshop Text: The Complete XNA 3.0: An Exploration into the XNA Framework Library After the previous two workshops and our difficulty in finding an ideally suited textbook, I took the community's advice and wrote one of my own. The book will be available early next year and aims to be a comprehensive study of XNA, including what you can and cannot do with it, and the most efficient way to accomplish your goals. As a result, all material for the workshop will be pulled directly from the book, including chapter review questions provided at the end of each chapter. The book is not free, however it can be obtained at a reasonable price from Amazon.com. I am also discussing the possibility of providing it to XNA Workshop participants at a discounted price here on GameDev.Net. Chapter Threads: As with the C# workshop, an XNA Workshop Forum will be created and each week a sub-forum will be added that can be used to post your questions and answers for the current week's reading assignment. People who come late to the workshop can catch up by reading over the previous threads and continuing to post their new questions. The weekly chapter forums will have an introduction thread which will be mirrored (and stickied) in "DirectX and XNA." The first post of each weekly thread will be structured with a brief introduction to the workshop, and provide links back to the XNA Workshop Forum so that people can easily navigate to us from 'DirectX and XNA', and follow the conversation of the current week. Project Threads: Forums will be created for each of the Monthly Projects where the first post outlines the details and requirements of the project. People can then use those forums to discuss the project, get design ideas, and ask questions. While the full details of how this will be accomplished are not yet hammered out, participants will be able to upload their projects for analysis and peer review. Projects will not be graded, however promising projects will receive some kind of notoriety. Timeline: The workshop will begin March 30th, and is estimated to run for 16 weeks (ending July 31st) allowing 2 weeks leeway for any setbacks due to my own schedule, or delays due to people needing more time to complete projects, etc... During the 16 Week workshop we will adhere as closely as possible to the following schedule:
Week 1:  Hello, XNA
         The XNA Application Model
Week 2:  2D Rendering Techniques
Week 3:  Basic 3D Rendering Techniques
Week 4:  User Input
         Scene Management & Collision Detection
Project 1 Due

Week 5: Music & Sound FX & 
        Accessing Your System's Media
Week 6: The Graphics Subsystem
Week 7: Shaders and Effects
Week 8: Intermediate Rendering Techniques
Project 2 Due

Week 9:  Models, Skinning, & Skeletal Animation
Week 10: File IO & Serialization
Week 11: Advanced Rendering Techniques
Week 12: Particle Systems and Other Effects
Project 3 Due

Week 13: Networked Multiplayer Games & 
         Gamer Services
Week 14: Multi-Threaded Development
Week 15: XNA Within a WinForm
Week 16: Debugging & Profiling your XNA Games
Project 4 Due
As always, feel free to provide feedback about the XNA workshop proposal within this thread. Specifically, I'm interested in hearing what kind of projects you'd like to see, and how eager you are to start. =) [Edited by - JWalsh on February 6, 2009 7:23:22 PM]

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This seems like a promising endeavour. I'm very much interested in participating, though I'd like to know how much time participants are expected to spend on course content. While the workshop seems interesting and educational, I do have a school and work, and I'd like to be able to make a serious attempt at finishing the course without having to neglect those responsibilities.

Great job, in any case. It's obvious you're putting a lot of work behind these workshops, and I think it's a very constructive effort.

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Quote:
Original post by Dementati
This seems like a promising endeavour. I'm very much interested in participating, though I'd like to know how much time participants are expected to spend on course content. While the workshop seems interesting and educational, I do have a school and work, and I'd like to be able to make a serious attempt at finishing the course without having to neglect those responsibilities.

Great job, in any case. It's obvious you're putting a lot of work behind these workshops, and I think it's a very constructive effort.

Dementati, that's a good question. The amount of time you put into it is ultimately up to you. At a minimum I recommend reading the weekly assignment, which will be approximately 30-50 pages, and then answering the quiz questions to make sure you understand the material. The reading assignments shouldn't take more than a couple of hours per week.

Of course I also encourage you to do the monthly projects, each of which can be done is as little time as a few hours to a couple of days, depending upon your level of understanding.

In the end, you'll get out of it what you put in so I encourage you to invest as much time as you can reasonably do so. With that being said, please don't sacrifice your other schoolwork in order to participate. Take your time, learn at your own pace, and know that there's other people struggling with it at the same time as you, and you can always come to the community for help.

Cheers!

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Well, I'm grounded in c++ mainly however I thing I can manage the C#. Is there anything in particular you will use that C# has over c++? I'll definately be taking part in March.

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Well, this is awesome. There are probably many people who will love this workshop. Good job Walsh! I like the idea of the textbook btw. Can't wait for this workshop to start.

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This might be a little too accelerated for me to dedicate time to (and I'm not sure I want to learn the ins and outs of XNA) but I'll at least check back in March. Might 'follow along' more than participate in the workshop.

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One notable omission I see from the workshop timeline is a discussion of the content pipeline. Unless, that is, you planned to file it under Week 10.

I'd like to see the content pipeline in the schedule because handling and processing a variety of content is one of XNA's strong points. Extending the content pipeline gives you an immense amount of freedom to preprocess or otherwise mangle content. That said, I've found it to be one of the trickier aspects to get right. I'm lucky enough to work with XNA professionally and my (admittedly anecdotal) experience has been that understanding the pipeline consumed a lot of my ramp-up time.

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i dont think ill be able to buy the book...im interested in the workshop though...i guess ill just follow along but not register

is there a good alternative to the book used in the workshop so i can start learning XNA asap??? thanks

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I checked the amazon link for the book but it seems that it is unavailable atm,
I did request for them to contact me when it is made available.
Do you have any information for this?

btw, thanks for setting this up I look forward to it.

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