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cmkanimations

XNA, Good?

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Okay, i want to expand my knowledge from Dark Basic to something more... useful and less of a hobby language. I know Dark Basic Pro pretty well i'd have to say. Is XNA a good engine to start with? because i see a lot of good games being made with it and i want to learn something different than a hobby language (i want to pursue game programming as my career). Im 16 years old and i want to know if that XNA is a good engine for me. If i work with a language long enough i get pretty good with it. That goes for Spanish too. :P Is there anything else i need to know about XNA and C#? Thanks for any help :D -CMK-

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First off XNA isn't an engine, there are some open sourced engines based off of XNA, but it's not an engine itself, its simply a framework. I will say for a hobbyist it is a great framework to work from. Also for a learning perspective I think it is beneficial as it introduces you to more of a "real" language than Dark Basic. It's a natural migration into C/C++ which is what most "pro" games are built with.

Also XNA does some of the grunt work for you, and gives you a lot of helper classes builtin. I think you should take the dive, play with it, there is a great community of people to help if you get stuck.

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It is definitely pretty easy to learn. If you plan to make your own games and want to make something more advanced than a tetris clone I would say learn C# + XNA.
You've probably heard a million times that C++ is the language you should learn if you want to get into the game industry. I would reccommend that you learn xna and c#, but in the future I would recommend that you also learn c++, as most major programming jobs in the game industry require it.

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The biggest 'engine' that I know of used with XNA is TorqueX. I'm not sure in what form it is currently found in so you'll have to search around.

Otherwise simply download XNA and look on Creators Club (the main XNA community site) for Starter Kits. Starter Kits are prebuilt introduction 'games' the XNA team builds and releases with XNA. For example, you could start a new Platformer Game and you'd instantly have the ability to build the project and have a working platformer game.

I'd suggest looking at the starter kits before Torque but thats personal preference.

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Just as a side note; at work we have a small team working on a game (and probably a 2nd after that) who are working completely in XNA.

General feedback being that they love it and it's so nice to just 'do things'; stuff is coming together nice and quickly for them.

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I've programmed in numerous languages and tried different straight C++ based graphic engines (Ogre3D, Irrlicht) and the base DirectX and OpenGL and while I understand the useful-ness of them all and sometimes wish I had features of others, I always come back to using XNA. In reality, if you use the base DX or OGL you're pretty much guaranteed to fail unless you've got a large team of very knowledgable people or lots and LOTS of time and patience.

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It's been a while since I last looked into Dark Basic, but from what I remember, XNA should be quite on a compareable level when it comes to graphics/sound and so on as Dark Basics build in function. It's not realy an engine (as Dark Basic isn't, too) but comes with a lot of basic stuff already done for you. Like you can get a rendreing window up and running quite fast, load and draw sprites and models and stuff with only a few lines code ... .

So, coming from Dark Basic you should feel quite at home there once you learnd C# and the basics of OOP.

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I know java pretty thoroughly at the moment and want to start making better quality games (based on the work I'm doing in java) in C#.

I've heard from quite a few sources that C# is better than Java for games and things like that (because it is supposedly faster).

What I was wondering is, what is the learning curve from Java to C#? Also, will I be able to pretty much recreate my old game code in C#?

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The learning curve shouldn't be bad at all. Syntax is pretty similar and the documentation/tutorials are bountiful.

I wouldn't necessarily say that C# is faster than Java (that debate opens a whole can of worms), but it is nice to be able to work with Visual Studio and have access to some pretty powerful stuff with XNA.

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It shouldn't take more than some days or a week to get familiar with C# if you now java.

Concerning speed, Java is actually faster. But it's not a big difference.

Using C# you will get a lot of things for free (XNA ect..) so you can speed up the development which is really nice.

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I've toyed around with XNA a bit, and I generally like it. It's pretty solid, easy to use, et cetera. 360 deployment is a nice plus. I would recommend it.

Quote:

I've heard from quite a few sources that C# is better than Java for games and things like that (because it is supposedly faster).

Languages do not have inherent speed and it is generally meaningless and pointless to talk about language X being "faster than" language Y in the general sense. Specific tasks in specific contexts in specific implementations can be benchmarked, but you must be aware of the dangers of benchmarks.

Quote:

I wouldn't necessarily say that C# is faster than Java (that debate opens a whole can of worms)

Yes, one best kept out of this forum, please.

Quote:

Concerning speed, Java is actually faster. But it's not a big difference.

Please do not make these sort of baseless and unbacked assertions concerning performance in this forum. It is misleading. Benchmarking is a far too subtle art to generalize like this, and exploring the appropriate subtleties and specific instances is not the domain of the FB forum.

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Quote:
Original post by Moe
(that debate opens a whole can of worms)

Yeah, please let's not do that and ruin a perfectly good thread. Edit: too late :/

Not much of a metric, but I like it so much that I bought an XBox just for the XNA development.

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The reason I said that Java was supposedly faster was that I had read a number of resources on the net citing Java's slower and clunkier performance when it came to things like games etc. Apparently java suffers from memory leak problems.(wtf)

Just wanted to clarify that, ok i have nothing more to say about it. :)

So XNA can deploy to X360 eh? Does that mean that you can create games for XBLA and make money from them?

If I were to develop a game using the standard, freely available XNA, would i be allowed to sell it?

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Quote:
Original post by S-Dawg
So XNA can deploy to X360 eh? Does that mean that you can create games for XBLA and make money from them?

If I were to develop a game using the standard, freely available XNA, would i be allowed to sell it?


Yes. There is a system in place where you would submit your game and members of the community would review your game and describe what is in it (gore, language, etc...) and assuming it passes those tests then it goes to the Marketplace. It's definitely not 'Make a game and it's instantly on the Marketplace'.

You also need to have a membership for the premium Creators Club account which, if I remember right, is like $100 a year or a certain amount for 4 months or so. You can find more here and here.

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Quote:
Original post by S-Dawg
So XNA can deploy to X360 eh? Does that mean that you can create games for XBLA and make money from them?
You can make money selling your games on Xbox LIVE Community Games for a small subscription fee. You can make an XNA game work for XBLA, but that requires a contract with Microsoft and some expensive dev/test kits to make happen.

Quote:
If I were to develop a game using the standard, freely available XNA, would i be allowed to sell it?
On Windows, yes. On Xbox 360, you have to subscribe which is $99 for 12 months or $49 for 4 months. Deployment to the Xbox 360 does require this subscription, but given that 90% of the XNA framework runs on both Windows and Xbox 360, you can usually do quite a lot of work in Windows before ever paying to deploy to the Xbox 360.

Alternatively, you can get a trial subscription just by registering for Dream Build Play. It's a 4 month trial account which doesn't allow you to submit your game for sale, but it does let you deploy your game locally to your Xbox for testing.

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Quote:
Original post by programmermattc
That's correct about the MS cut. It's not 'free' to sell your game.


To be specific: Its not free to sell your game on XBLA.

Selling XNA games for Windows is free as long as you handle everything yourself, (If you use things like paypal, steam, or similar they'll take a cut just like Microsoft does for XBLA)

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