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XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming:
Developing for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360
Author(s):  Tom Miller, Dean Johnson
Published: 2010, Copyright: 2011, ISBN 978-0-672-33345-3, 528 pages
Publisher (more . . .):  Addison Wesley Professional, Informit
 
   
 
 Review
 

 

 Five out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: September, 2011
  Reviewer: Pat Pfeifer
 
       The first thing I noticed as I started reading this book is that the authors are a mix of programmers and teachers. I know most authors of programming books could be considered a teacher, but with this book it is different. I've been writing .NET programs many years so my familiarity with C# and the .NET framework is pretty solid.

     However, when it comes to game programming, the extent of my knowledge is pretty limited. The last time I wrote a game was over twenty years ago on a Texas Instruments 99 computer using Extended Basic. Sure I know of some of the basic concepts like sprites, and the fact that graphics are somehow rendered by drawing a bunch of triangles, but I have no idea how that's done.

     Well, this book not only shows the reader the code that does these things, but more importantly explains to the reader the concepts behind game programming. Not only do they explain some of the concepts that many readers might find difficult, such as vector cross products, but they do it in a way for even the math adverse readers to understand.

     Likewise, the authors go to great depths in introducing the reader to 3D graphics with code snippets interspersed with figures to explain the concepts, and they do it quickly to avoid too much detail in order to give the reader the confidence to create their own 3D graphics.

     After teaching the reader about 2D and 3D graphics, the authors explain cameras, rendering models, textures and shading. If that's not enough, they continue to explain how to use the content pipeline to provide performance gains and to organize your code. They also devote nearly 50 pages on how to create and animate avatars to easily add characters to your game without requiring any artistic skills.

     To complete the skills necessary for the reader to create great games, the authors describe the different types of user inputs to interact with the game, for Xbox 360, Windows phone and the PC. This includes the multi-touch, and other sensors supported by the Windows Phone.

     The last area that really is important for a great game is the capability to make the game multi-user across Xbox Live. That too, is explained.

     What more is there to say? If you are like me, someone who has spent countless hours writing software for business applications, and would like a break to something more fun, or maybe you have a great idea for the next Angry Birds game, then this book is definitely for you.
   
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