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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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DvDmanDT

Any way to save and restore the Z-buffer?

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Hi, I was wondering if there's a way to save and restore the Z-buffer. What I want to do is pretty much to create a G-buffer, save the Z-buffer, do stuff, including creating shadow maps etc. Then restore the Z-buffer before rendering the forward pass with particles and other translucent surfaces. Is there any sane way to do this?

 

I'm using XNA with the intention of moving on to MonoGame in the near-ish future.

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I'm not an XNA user, but the D3D9 api surely allows creating multiple z buffers, so that you can "save" one for later usage while using another for write access; and it is normal to the rendering process (SetDepthStencilSurface)

 

I don't know if XNA allows access to it though.

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You might try RenderTargetUsage.PreserveContents, although that means you'll be using the same render target - so it's not an option if you'll be sampling from the same one you used when creating Z-buffer. I'm also not sure if that's supported in MonoGame. 

 

The depth buffer is tightly-coupled with the render target in XNA.

 

Another option (this is what I do), is to render depth values to a render target during your G-buffer pass, and then use that render target to render to the z-buffer during your forward pass (by outputting DEPTH from your pixel shader, and using a BlendState that disables color writes).

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