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Rubicks

XNA or build my own engine?

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Hey guys and gals,

I'm a 4th year CSE student who has decided to make the plunge into basic game development. Throughout school I have learned the basics of C++, as well as diving heavily into java (last big class was creating simulator/assembler/linker for an assembly language using java). I know a lot of the technical ideas when dealing with data structures and algorithms, but I have no clue on where to start programming a game and have a couple questions.

1)I've had some people tell me I should start at the very beginning, writing my own engine, while others say XNA is the only way to go. I'm curious about what you guys think, being a large forum of game developers and not some college students who have made a few flash games.

2) As far as programming language, obviously I would use c# if I used XNA. Since I know java, I was thinking starting with C# would be a great idea for a programming language as well, since it is used pretty heavily (as far as I can tell).

3) Any good tutorials that don't start with hello world? I don't have a specific game in mind yet, I kind of just want to know the basics, like collision detection, creating 'characters' that can move around the screen, as well as general GUI/input issues that aren't commonly dealt with in 'regular' programming.

Thanks a lot for any advice!

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XNA is a framework, not an full game engine. It makes many game related tasks easier, providing a basic structure and some helpful classes, and handles some messy directx details for you. I'd suggest using XNA simply because it will make your development faster; it will let you start experimenting with game design sooner as opposed to spending your first efforts learning to deal with lower level graphics programming.

Yes, C# is used more in game programming than java; although, there have been some interesting java games recently (minecraft comes to mind). C++ is still the most common language for game programming, but using it adds unnecessary complexity if your game doesn't have heavy performance demands.

For beginning XNA tutorials, I would suggest this and this.
If you choose to not use XNA, you will want to start with either DirectX tutorials or OpenGl tutorials

Good Luck

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Thanks for the quick response. As my needs right now are more about learning, and less about creating a fully functional, intensive 3D game, I think I'll start with XNA and c#. Hopefully I can get a hang of it and maybe someday switch over to c++ if I need it. Thanks for the links, I'll take a look at them!

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if your game doesn't have heavy performance demands.


Sorry but ya hit a pet peeve of mine. XNA will handle heavy performance just fine. People have this mistaken idea that managed code is somehow slower then unmanaged code. It is really just not true, or the performance difference are not that significant.

So what program has the best performance? The one that is completed. That is where C# and XNA shine, you can do the same app in a fraction of the time.

theTroll

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Yeah I've already noticed how easy to use C# with XNA is, using a few tutorials I can already see progress while if I was using my rusty C++ skills, I probably would not be so far. Thanks for the responses!

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1)I've had some people tell me I should start at the very beginning, writing my own engine, while others say XNA is the only way to go. I'm curious about what you guys think, being a large forum of game developers and not some college students who have made a few flash games.

Do you want to learn how to write your own engine from scratch, or do you want to create a game?

If you want to create a game you should absolutely take advantage of existing technology that can save you time and effort; in your case, use XNA.
If you want to learn how to write your own engine from scratch, then Write Games, Not Engines -- that is to say, start out developing some simple games of whatever type interests you, and extract (and potentially generalise and/or refactor) common code as you go until you have an engine.


Hope that helps! smile.png

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That was an awesome article to read! Thanks for pushing it my way. I'll definitely start messing around with XNA for awhile to see what I can come up and maybe someday I can take parts of the code I write through my adventures (refactored of course). Thanks for all the help everyone, you've motivated me to do something I find enjoyable moreso than algorithm analysis classwork :D.

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