Older Updates

Recent Updates

1 October 2013

I just saw that we now have over 2500 votes for XNA 5, on Microsoft's User Voice page! The only item there that is outpacing XNA 5 is the suggestion for allowing .NET games on the Xbox One, which is… well… almost the same request. (But not quite.)

Please keep the votes coming. You don't need to create an account, and you can give three votes on all of the computers and devices you own. In fact, tell all of your friends about it too. There is a noticeable uptick in the total vote count whenever the little "Facebook likes" count moves up.

(Please read some of my earlier posts below for why I'm supporting this proposal if you're not quite convinced.)

30 September 2013

Sorry guys. I've been sick the last few days. I know I owe a number of people some emails, and I know I need to check back in on the Breakout clone community project that's going on. Give me a few days to get back on top of things…

4 September 2013

I've finally got my monogame-getting-started-tutorials Getting Started with MonoGame tutorials all converted to Visual Studio! That's great news for a lot of people who have been asking for it, in some cases for months. MonoGame 3.0.1 made the process significantly simpler (thank goodness) but it is still far more complex than XNA ever was.

I'm just kind of spewing out my thoughts right now, but doing this has reminded me (for the hundredth time) how much better XNA is than MonoGame. I'm a big fan of all of the platforms you can target with MonoGame, but that's about where it ends. I really wish Microsoft would just figure it out and put out XNA 5. I just… unfortunately… don't trust MonoGame to carry the torch. (They're not "using statements", people! They're "using directives". "Using statements" are a different thing entirely!) But I guess on the other hand, I'd rather have them carry the torch than nobody, so…

Anyway.

The XNA 5 suggestion on Microsoft's User Voice page is doing pretty well. I've been satisfied with the momentum it has been seeing. It's approaching 1000 votes, which is a significant mark to me. Out of the hundreds of ideas that Microsoft ultimately rejected, only seven of them had over 1000 votes. If Microsoft is going to retire XNA, I want to make a statement in the process. (Perhaps with them getting a new CEO, all options are back on the table.)

If you haven't already done so, please show your support for XNA by voting on the XNA 5 suggestion over there. You can add three votes, so if you don't have anything else to spend your votes on, use them up there. And also keep in mind that as long as you don't sign in, every device you own (laptop, tablet, phone, desktop, sister's laptop, etc.) gets its own set of votes too. Like I said in my previous update, it's quite possible it will get rejected, but I want them to have to do so in spite of the community support for it.

24 August 2013

I know at this point you might be getting tired of hearing me talk about User Voice. So I'll keep things short.

1. It's been a ton of fun to see you guys come over to my User Voice page and vote on ideas. It's really interesting to see what you guys think I should work on next! Keep the suggestions coming in!

2. The .NET Framework on the Xbox One proposal on Microsoft's User Voice page is now the #1 idea they have (that hasn't been implemented or rejected already)! That's awesome news! But don't stop voting for it, just because it's #1. Keep the votes coming in to show them how important it is to us!

3. You should also go vote for this proposal: http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/3725445-xna-5. Microsoft has promised good tools for indie game developers, which probably includes you if you're here. But they've said in the past that that's probably not going to come in the form of XNA. There's a bit of a push for people to do more with C++ and DirectX, but nobody is happy about that. Fortunately, we have things like MonoGame and SharpDX, plus some fairly well put together game engines like Unity. However, from all of the discussions and interactions that I've ever seen, nothing is quite like XNA. I've actually seen Microsoft shut down some XNA related proposals in the past, but I am still throwing my support behind this one. I'm asking you to vote for this feature as well. Regardless of what happens, putting your support behind this idea will show Microsoft that it needs to pay careful attention to us as indie, hobbyist, and student game developers.

21 August 2013

I often get suggestions for ways to improve this website. This is often in the form of suggestions for new tutorials, but there are a lot of other great ideas that I get as well. I've always taken careful care to write these down and remember them, but I knew I always wanted something better than just that. I always envisioned a system where people could add their own suggestions directly to the list, and everyone could vote on ideas that they like. I always thought I'd have to build that system myself, until I ran into User Voice. Once I fully grasped what User Voice could do for me, I immediately signed up and created an account.

Today, I'm announcing the arrival of a new feedback system for this website through User Voice! If you have suggestions for me and this site, come on over and check it out! You can vote on ideas that you like, add ideas and suggestions, and leave comments on any of the ideas. And all without needing to create an account. It's insanely simple and easy to use. (If you create an account, then you'll get emails as I respond to the different ideas, which is a nice bonus.)

As always, if you have suggestions that you don't think will be a good fit for my new User Voice site, or if you have other questions or anything else like that, please don't hesitate to send me an email, or send me a message on Twitter.

I'm excited to hear your ideas!

15 August 2013

Well then. That's a relief. I just got a side-project wrapped up. (It was reviewing a MonoGame book, but don't get excited because it had a lot of issues, and probably won't get published in the end.) My mind is a bit more free again, and I can concentrate on the other 87 ideas that I have!

More news and updates soon.

29 July 2013

Just another quick update on the .NET Framework Games on the Xbox One thing. It's been increasing slowly over the last few days, slowly getting enough votes to reach page 1. For some reason, today it has suddenly taken off. (Perhaps because it got to the first page.) It's now sitting at #15, with over 1400 votes. If you haven't already voted for this feature, you really should. (http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/4233646-allow-net-games-on-xbox-one).

I seriously think they were already planning on this, but the facts are, they have not actually said that they were going to. So I think it is worth making sure they know we expect it.

Having the .NET Framework on the Xbox One means people like you and me (indie developers, hobbyist developers, and students) can actually make games for it. If we've got it, there will be lots of options for making awesome games on that platform, which is something that I think we'd all really like to see!

26 July 2013

I know I haven't posted updates here for a little while (more on that soon).

Last night, I bumped into a request on User Voice to Microsoft to include the .NET Framework on the upcoming Xbox One. I presume that they already were planning on this, though I don't see any immediate evidence supporting or rejecting this idea.

So to be safe, please go and add your votes to the request here: http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/4233646-allow-net-games-on-xbox-one. It will be tough for us indie/hobbyist/student game developers to get games on the Xbox One without it, and with it, we'll open up lots of interesting possibilities.

(You don't need an account to add your votes, and you can put three votes on each item, and repeat the process if you have multiple machines.)

It's currently #41 out of all Visual Studio items, but let's see if we can get it onto the first page!

UPDATE: It now has 1000 votes, and is #26. It's also now the "hottest" item on their list, which I suppose is a function of votes weighted by how recent they are. This is great progress! (Another 172 votes to make it to the first page!)

It's good to see so much developer support for this request, but I should say that if Microsoft responds with anything short of, "Yeah, that was the plan all along," then I'm going to be pretty disappointed in them.

9 May 2013

I checked my stats for my book sales for April. There was a significantly higher total for the month than any other month (and a gradual upward trend overall). Thank you to everyone who purchased my book!

I looks like as of yesterday, Amazon was actually giving a 10% discount on the book, out of their share. (Which is good, because their share is bigger than my share.) I haven't checked today, but if you're thinking about buying my book any time soon, it might be worth checking it out. Maybe you can save yourself a few bucks.

15 April 2013

Lest you start thinking this site is dead, I wanted to write a quick update here. This site is far from dead. I'm still actively working on it, and plan to do a whole lot more tutorials, especially in regards to getting the rest of the MonoGame tutorials up and running.

If you're having problems, and you ask questions in the forum or on the various troubleshooting pages, I've still been doing my best to answer those.

In the mean time, what's been filling up most of my spare time is the game that I'm making (and writing about the experience of making a game).

21 February 2013

It is time for you to go read this: The Future. A lot of good and a lot of bad wrapped up there. It's long. Do me a favor and take the time to read it all, when you get the chance. Then let me know what you think. Then keep calm and carry on.

19 February 2013

I've converted many more tutorials to MonoGame over the last few weeks. It should be enough to get you going, considering that the biggest two differences between them is the installation process and the content pipeline (or lack thereof), both of which are covered in the tutorials that have already been converted.

Additionally, you should check out the new navigation in the C# Crash Course! I'd like to get people's feedback on what works and what doesn't work about it, but this feature is something that I'll be rolling out to all of the tutorials eventually.

3 February 2013

I have begun the process of porting my tutorials over to MonoGame. MonoGame is an open source implementation of XNA. (More on the motivation for this later. Please check back soon.) Much of the stuff is the same, but not all of it. So while it will take quite a while to port them all over, for the tutorials that haven't been ported, you'll always have the option of jumping back to the XNA tutorials and seeing how it's done there.

At some point, I also will want to outline the key differences that I find between the two, because while they're supposed to be clones, there's definitely some differences.

30 January 2013

I don't know how many of you are interested in 3D modeling, and I don't how many of you are active users of Stack Overflow or other Stack Exchange sites. But if you're interested in both, then you should take a look at this proposal for 3D Graphics:

CG Artists

I think it would be a great place for rookie/hobbyist 3D modelers like me (and maybe you) to ask questions to experts (also maybe you) an improve our knowledge and skills.

The problem is, the proposal has come along only very slowly. At the rate that it's going, it will take forever to get out of the Proposal stage, and even less likely to survive the public beta.

Go check it out, and if it's something you're interested in, be sure to follow the proposal.

11 January 2013

I just wanted to put out a quick update today, before the weekend got busy. I've received quite a few emails over the holidays, and I'm way behind on answering them all. I'm hoping to get some time to do so, but forgive me if it's a little delayed. I promise I'm still planning on getting to them.

In the mean time, you should all go play Pandemic and Eminent Domain (both board/card games). That's what I spent my holiday doing. It was totally worth it!

13 December 2012

I just got done tying up a bunch of loose ends with my C# book. This time, for real, if you helped me with my C# book and you didn't get the reward you were promised, please let me know so that I can get it straightened out.

Also, in response to a question somebody posted here, I created another new tutorial about how to extract pixel color data from a Texture2D: Extracting Color Data. It's in the advanced tutorials for the time being.

27 October 2012

No, I didn't disappear. I'm still here! Things have been kind of odd the last little while though, making it hard to get stuff done on this site. It's a long story, I'll spare you the details. It's not all that interesting anyway.

I've made a number of small changes, thanks to people sending me emails with questions, or reporting problems, so thanks guys for doing that. Your feedback always helps me make this site better.

In the mean time, what I've been working on is trying to get an eBook version of my book, in some form or another, available to all of the people who are asking about it. I had planned on the eBook being a piece of cake to do, but it turned out to be tough on a number of levels, and Amazon totally tricked me. :) Those are details I'm actually really interested in sharing with you, but not until I'm done with the eBook version, which should be fairly soon at this point. (I hope, I hope, I hope.)

22 September 2012

My C# book is finally available! This book will help you learn C# from the ground up. It doesn't assume you know anything about programming, but it will still be a good choice if you're a skilled programmer who is moving into C#. Note that this book is not about XNA specifically, just C#. You can consider it an evolution to my C# Crash Course. It contains much, much more than the tutorials do, and is better organized and cleaner. (Though I do plan to go back and clean up some things in the C# Crash Course to match.)

Note that I currently am offering a 20% discount if you order through CreateSpace, which is the printer for the book. The code to get this discount is K438N97R.

As always, if you notice any problems with anything (the purchasing process, the content of the book, etc.) please let me know about them so I can get them fixed for you.

If you helped in reviewing/editing the book, remember I promised you some rewards, and they're coming. If you don't get an email from me within the next 24 hours (let's say by the beginning of the 24th of September, regardless of what time zone you're in) please, please email me and let me know. It's possible I may have forgotten about you, or your name didn't get on the list.

17 September 2012

It's here! Three new tutorials, to wrap up the discussion of the game loop and timing in an XNA game! These tutorials cover the GameTime class in depth, how to configure your game to use fixed or variable time steps, and how to deal with a tricky bug in GameTime (that happens to actually not be a bug). All of these tutorials are currently listed under the advanced XNA tutorials, but I think eventually I'm going to pull them out into a new Game Architecture category.

10 September 2012

What I had originally intended to be a set of 2, maybe 3, tutorials on timing in games has expanded to 4! As you saw yesterday, I wrote #1 already. And now, I'm done with the next! But… I wrote #3 first, not #2. So I'm going to wait before posting it. When #2 gets finished, you'll get #3 for free with it. I don't know exactly when that will be, but probably sometime over the next couple of days.

9 September 2012

I just finished up a tutorial about the game loop, which is a design pattern used by nearly every video game to drive the game forward. XNA provides an implementation of the game loop, so you don't need to make it yourself. This tutorial will help you understand why and how the game loop helps organize and structure your game.

This is really only the beginning of a much larger push…. As most of you are probably aware, I'm in the beginning stages of making a set of tutorials that build a game from scratch. Start to finish. Along with that, though, there are a handful of tutorials that I'll need to write to lay the groundwork for that tutorial set. This is the first of those, and part of a set of three tutorials about fine tuning your game loop's waiting stage. So expect a couple of other tutorials very soon (as in over the next day or two) as follow ups to this one.

Lastly, as many of you are aware of, I was just about done with my book a month ago. I went out of town for a week with the intention of launching my book the day I got home. But the day before I got home, Visual Studio 2012, C# 5.0, and .NET 4.5 were all released, making my book obsolete before I could even get it out there. Fortunately, these new things only added/changed a handful of things, and I was able to update my book to include these changes. I suppose on the bright side, that means the market is now a bit thinner, since everyone else is needing to do the same things as me.

Anyway, once again, I'm just about there.

8 August 2012

I've got the final version of my C# book sitting here in my hands, and it's just about ready to go. I just need to do a little more work on the website, and get final approval from the printer, and the book will be available!

Once that's off my plate (I seriously wouldn't have even started on it had I known how big of a project it was going to end up being) I'm going to dive into the tutorial set on making a complete game from scratch. So that's literally just a few days away now!

9 July 2012

In preparation for the game-from-scratch tutorial set, I'd love to have your feedback and know what kind of game you guys think would be a good choice for basing the tutorial set on. If you have ideas, email me or post something in the forum.

8 July 2012

I got a lot done on my C# book today, and wrapped up looking at the edits that some of you suggested. I still need to make a few more passes myself, until I'm satisfied with it, but it's getting close.

7 July 2012

Sorry for the delay to anyone who has sent me emails over the last couple of weeks. It's been a very odd last little while. I came down with a nasty cold or flu that put me out of commission for a little while, and then my wife has been running into some strange medical problems as well. Fortunately, everything is getting better, and I'm getting back on track now, so I should get to your emails soon. I missed some work that I'm catching up for this weekend, so it may still be a few days.

I'm surprised how many emails I'm still getting about my book, so let me address that. I'm basically done with the reviewing part. I'm really just trying to finish up a few loose ends. I don't really need any more readers at this point, but if you really really really want to, I can probably get you a few sections to take a look at. This is especially the case if you're willing to read some of the later chapters that didn't get looked at as much.

I'm really almost done with the book, and in fact, I would be, had I not had so many problems the last couple of weeks.

19 June 2012

The book's coming along still… slowly but steadily.

In completely unrelated news, I just posted some directions for how to send me (or anyone else) your game, if you want me/them to take a look at it.

6 April 2012

Sorry about the long delay, guys. Work has been very busy. And then I got stuck playing Mass Effect 3. I absolutely loved the game! Best series I've ever played, right up until the end. What a terrible way to ruin the whole series! For all you future/current game developers out there, learn as many lessons as you can from all of this about how not to end your game, and how not to respond to your loyal fans. Oh well.

In other news, I wrote up a tutorial detailing all of the inner workings of generating random numbers. It's a good read, even if you're already a game dev master! As always, I appreciate suggestions for improving it and other tutorials, as well as any other suggestions you might have for future tutorials.

Also, I want to give you guys who responded to my announcement about my C# book (see the last update): I'm still working on it. I thought I would have had it done a very long time ago… but then scope creep set in, and I'm still not done. Rest assured, it's coming soon!

28 January 2012

I don't know how many people actually read this recent updates page, so I'm planning on posting this elsewhere on the site as well.

One of the big things that I've been working on over the last several weeks is taking my C# Crash Course and turning it into book form. It includes everything the tutorials have and quite a few other tutorials as well, and on top of that, the formatting is much better than I could ever get with Wikidot (an issue I'm intending to address as time goes on). I think it is actually turning out to be a very nice book. Plus on top of that, I've added more to each of the tutorials, including little problems/challenges to do to help you ensure that you really understand the information.

I really think the book will be great, and well worth buying, even though I'll still have everything on the website still. (And the new content will eventually end up on the site as well.) Buying the book goes a long way to support this site and allow me to keep pushing forward with it.

As I'm finishing up the process, I would love it if some of you took some time and reviewed a chapter or two of my book, looking for (1) spelling/grammar issues, (2) verifying correctness, (3) finding technical issues with sample code, etc., and (4) letting me know how easy it is to understand/learn from. If you think you might be interested in helping out in that way, I'll send you a chapter or two to look over. In exchange for your help, I'd be willing to give you a free PDF copy of the book, or a print version of the book for only the cost of printing and shipping, depending on what you want most. Of course, to get the deal, you have to provide feedback of some sort.

I honestly can't imagine that there will be tons of takers on this offer, but in the event that there's tons of people asking to help/get a free copy, I'd have to choose based on a first come first serve basis.

I'd love to have people from all sorts of backgrounds. I'd love to have people who are just learning how to program and get feedback about if it is easy to understand or what particular topics are still confusing. I'd love to have people who are jumping from another programming language over to C#, because one of my big goals was to make it easy for people who know Java or C++ to jump in. And I'd love to have people with a lot of experience with C# look over it and make sure I didn't say anything incorrect, or give too much or too little emphasis on particular topics, or if they think I'm missing an important topic or anything like that. So it doesn't matter what you background is. If you're interested, I want your help.

If you'd be interested in being involved in this, please contact me and let me know, and I'll get you started!

5 January 2012

I've now also made a pass through the Getting Started and 2D Tutorials to clean up spelling and grammar issues. Once again, if you don't see me post any progress with this little project within a couple of weeks, send me an email to remind me. I've found, in the past, that that's the best way to keep me moving forward. If I know you're going to bug me about it, I get it taken care of!

30 December 2011

To answer the #1 question I keep getting, yes, I'm still updating this site!

I've been working on a couple of other things, related to this site, that you probably are blissfully unaware of, as of right now, but be assured, I haven't deserted this site.

When I can finally clear off some of the things I've been working on, I'm planning on returning to this site and adding in a whole set of tutorials on making a complete game from scratch. Right now I'm leaning towards a Galaga/Galaxian clone, though I'm open to suggestions.

Also, after some prodding from the nicest Grammar Nazi I've ever met, I took some time today to go through the C# tutorials and correct a bunch of grammar and spelling mistakes. Considering everything, I think they were already pretty good in that aspect, but now they're even better. I have not yet had the time to do so for any of the XNA tutorials, and I'd appreciate some additional prodding from any other Grammar Nazis out there if you haven't seen an update on my progress on that within a few weeks.

31 October 2011

I've been out of town for a while (doing this), and work has been busy, so my updates have been a bit rarer. Having said that, though, things are still coming along nicely, behind the scenes.

I just published my newest software, still in beta form, called Realm Factory. It is a simple level editor that works for a wide variety of 2D grid-based games (that is a surprisingly high number of games, by the way). Of course, there are plans to develop it further, beyond just basic bug fixes, but a part of that depends on how many people are actually using it.

While I ultimately intend on selling the program (for relatively cheap), anyone who downloads and participates in the Beta will get a free copy of version 1.0. And anyone who has a copy of the 1.0 version will probably be given free upgrades to the 1.2 and 1.4 versions that are planned.

At any rate, go over to my other site, starboundsoftware.com to get your free copy of the beta!

12 October 2011

I'm in the beginning stages of putting a form of breadcrumb navigation into these tutorials to prevent people from getting lost. The beginning of the C# tutorials has this now, and if you've got a sec, I wouldn't mind it if you'd jump over there and take a look (it's at the top—the Roadmap, Previous, and Next) and then give me your honest opinion about what you think about it.

Also, I can't believe I forgot about it before, but I've added in a tutorial on switch statements to the C# tutorials.

3 October 2011

I've made several small changes to many of the tutorials, especially the C# tutorials. Thanks to everyone who has given me feedback to make these tutorials better!

23 September 2011

OK, it took a few days longer than I had wanted, but I've got lots of updates today. The entire C# Crash Course is complete! Well… sort of. It's all there, but I'd imagine that there could be problems with it, like broken links, or parts that are just plain confusing. Not to mention that there may have been important stuff that I skipped. If you see any problems with it, please let me know so I can get it fixed.

This, by the way, is a huge step! I've been working on this set of tutorials since the summer of 2010, and thinking about it for about two years before that. (Though, admittedly, I didn't have much of it there until the last month or two.)

Now I've got more time to work on some other things, including a reboot of the Evolution project that I put on this site forever ago, but has been broken since about day 20. (I honestly don't know what went wrong with it--it just doesn't work for anyone, including me. I suppose it was some sort of problem with Windows Vista and Windows 7 being different from XP?) Anyways, that program wasn't very well designed (it had been a very long time since I had done anything with WinForms, and I just did whatever it took to make things work, which resulted in a terrible UI) but the program did fill a gap that was missing--animation of 3D models. I know a lot of people have asked about it, so one of the things I'm going to do is… uh… take it in a little bit of a different direction, and get something going for your guys.

I also intend on adding in more tutorials in the near future. In particular, I've gotten a lot of requests for a set of tutorials that make a "complete" game, and I think that is a great idea.

I'll see what I can do….

20 September 2011

Well today is update day! But unfortunately, there's no updates today. I've got about six new tutorials in the C# crash course almost done, but I think I'm going to have to rewrite the tutorial on generics, and split it in half. It's huge. I've also added in a few more tutorials to my plans. Basically, I've got pieces everywhere, and I need to finish things up, but I'm almost there. I think by the end of the day tomorrow, I'll have all of the C# crash course complete, but until I put everything together, I can't be sure.

So expect a significant update tomorrow evening some time.

11 September 2011

Well, I've added nine new tutorials to the C# Crash Course. I knew I'd get one done, and I predicted I'd get more done, but even I am surprised by how much I completed. I think I'm looking at only five more tutorials before that set is complete, which would give me time to go back to some of the other things that I've been working on behind the scenes.

I know I keep alluding to the fact that there's a lot going on that isn't visible, and I promise you you'll be able to see some of the results of all of that soon.

In the mean time, there's enough of the C# Crash Course in place that I'd love to hear what people think from everyone—people who are brand new to programming, people who have done programming before, but not C#, people who have done C#, but it's been a while, and also people who are very familiar with C#, and can perhaps provide some technical feedback on what the tutorials contain, or suggestions for what you think isn't actually needed, or things I've skipped that ought to be included. Don't hesitate to let me know!

6 September 2011

It's my normal update day, but in case you didn't see all of the other posts over the last week, all of the tutorials have been converted to XNA 4.0! That's a really big accomplishment, because as far as I know, there's nothing else like it anywhere on the Internet. There's no set of XNA 4.0 tutorials this big out there—anywhere.

Also new this week, three new additions to the C# Crash Course. One was added last Thursday or something, the other two are brand new today.

I'm still committed to at least one new tutorial in that series per week, on Tuesdays. So the 13th one will be there by next Tuesday for sure. But I've been on a roll lately, and I'll honestly be surprised if I don't have about five more by then. I expect there to be about 25 tutorials in that set total. Then I'll be ready to move on to the next big thing….

5 September 2011

After a late night, and a busy day working on these tutorials, they're all converted to XNA 4.0!

It's been a long time coming, but it's finally done. Now I can concentrate on the C# Crash Course, completely. But of course, I'm already looking ahead at what's next.

One of the big things that I've gotten a lot of requests for is a tutorial set that goes through the process of making a game from scratch, rather than just the pieces.

I also want to revamp the content pipeline tutorials (which now has a couple of other options that may make making a content pipeline extension easier) as well as the 3D tutorials, which now have many more options with the BasicEffect class and other (new) related classes.

Another thing that I'd love to do is to fill in the physics and math tutorials better.

All of this aside, there's a lot more in the works for this site, besides just the tutorials. Now's not the time to bring up everything else (I don't know what parts are going to be completed, and what parts aren't) but I'll let you know when some of those things get closer.

Of course, if you've got opinions about what you'd like me to work on next (after the C# Crash Course) I'd love to hear about it!

4 September 2011

I've spent much of the weekend updating tutorials to XNA 4.0. As of right now, all HLSL tutorials, all 3D tutorials, and all Utility tutorials are now compatible with XNA 4.0!

This has been a TON of work. There are so many changes with XNA 4.0. But I think it is important to do. There doesn't appear to be a whole lot else out there on the Internet that is up-to-date with XNA 4.0, and it needs to be there.

I think my next two priorities are Input tutorials (some of which are already done, and the rest of which probably have only a few changes needed) and the Audio tutorials.

1 September 2011 (Update #2)

Well, the HLSL tutorials have so far required very few changes. I've converted the first four tutorials to XNA 4.0, getting me 1/3 of the way done with that set. Also, just looking ahead, I think most of them are going to be fairly easy to convert, which is a huge sigh of relief for me. This is a set I've been worried about updating, because I thought it would take a lot of time to update them.

While I'm not going to set any official goals, it isn't unrealistic to think that the entire set might be updated by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Oh, and I also was able to update the Game Math tutorials (all two of them!) to be compatible with XNA 4.0. I don't think they were out of date, but apparently, Wikidot made some changes to the way math formulas were displayed without telling me (another one of those reasons why I get a little tired of Wikidot, not that they should have personally called me to tell me they broke my site—I realize they're just doing their jobs) and my equations on that page looked horrible. I don't know how long it's been that way for, but it looked ugly! It's much better now.

So, lots and lots of progress today!

1 September 2011

A lot has changed in such a short period of time. I'm on a roll! We'll see how long that lasts for. All of the primitives-tutorials are now working for XNA 4.0, and I just put out yet another installment of the C# Crash Course on loops.

I've met my goals that I wanted to finish by next Tuesday way early. I guess I'll just keep pushing ahead with both the tutorial conversion to XNA 4.0, and the C# Crash Course. Those are my two priorities at the moment.

31 August 2011

It was a very productive evening! I got tutorial #9 of the C# Crash Course about if/else/and if-else statements finished and put up on the site, as well as converting the first of the primitives tutorials converted to XNA 4.0.

So much has changed for that tutorial! Essentially NONE of the code was the same.

So now that tutorial set is sort of in a state of limbo, where one tutorial has been converted, and the others have not. But then I suppose that the entire tutorial set was already in a state of limbo, where no one could actually use it, because it was for XNA 3.0 anyway, so it's an improvement.

My plans are to get the next C# Crash Course tutorial finished, as well as the second Primitives tutorial updated by next Tuesday, on September 6th.

Tuesday has unofficially become my update day. (Though it is worth mentioning that I'm doing work on this site on other days of the week, not just Tuesday. A new tutorial usually takes about four hours of my time, while updating a tutorial can take anywhere from ten minutes to four hours, depending on if I'm just verifying that it all works, or if it is a complete rewrite.) We'll see how long the Tuesday pattern lasts for.

30 August 2011

I spent another 10 minutes today cleaning up more spam. As soon as I say anything about it, I get more of it….

Anyway, I promised another C# Crash Course tutorial today, and it is almost finished, but it will have to wait until tomorrow to be completed. I also hope to finish converting one of the Primitives tutorials updated to XNA 4.0 by the end of the day tomorrow as well.

29 August 2011

Well, I just spent about 20 minutes deleting a bunch of spam comments from the forum and the comments pages throughout the site. It really bugs me that people (or more likely, robots) are getting on the site and posting comments filled with ads or worse—links to… er… questionable sites.

Here's the dilemma. I want to make it easy for people to make comments and contribute to the site, and a part of that means not needing to create an account and log in (though you can do that if you want) in order to say stuff on the site. But it is getting abused by people who are here (and lots of other places on the Internet) for their own gain.

My one option is to prevent "guests" from being able to post by requiring people to create an account in order to comment. With that, there won't be any more spam, but there will probably be lots fewer comments as well. Not to mention that by "creating an account" I mean creating an account with Wikidot. And I don't intend on staying with Wikidot forever, so getting people to create a Wikidot account seems like the wrong move.

If only I could just use a captcha….

I guess for now, my plan is to leave things the way they are. My grand plan for this whole site is ultimately, likely, going to make this problem a non-issue some time over the next few months, so perhaps it's not worth worrying about…

Any thoughts? Has anyone else noticed the spam? (By the way, I see every comment and forum post immediately after it is posted, so I can go clean it up as soon as I see it in my email.) Is it worth the extra burden of needing to log in to post to be able to have a clean forum?

24 August 2011

I just added a new tutorial in the C# Crash Course series about more advanced topics in math. It is a day late from my promise, but it is there now. It was kind of a long tutorial. Next up: decision making, due by next Tuesday.

Also, I got a request to update (I think) the primitives tutorials, since a lot changed there. Since it is the only request I've gotten for updating anything, I think I'll focus on it. Working on the C# Crash Course is my first priority, but I'll make my second priority be updating those primitives tutorials. I'll work on them simultaneously, so you should expect to see some updates to those primitives tutorials soon. I'll tentatively commit to getting one of those updated per week, also on Tuesday. We'll see how that goes.

3 August 2011

True to my promise, I'm still working on getting all of the tutorials updated to XNA 4.0. I just updated the keyboard input and the mouse input tutorials to work with XNA 4.0.

Slow but steady progress….

2 August 2011

There's now a grand total of 7 tutorials in the C# Crash Course! There's a lot more to do there, but it is coming along. I also am still planning (and making slow progress) on converting all of the tutorials to XNA 4.0.

These two pieces, though, are really just the tip of the iceberg, and there's a lot more going on below the surface that will change the future of this site. I'll let you know as things progress. As the weeks move along, there will soon be more features on this site for you to enjoy!

5 July 2011

I've completed the second installment of the C# Crash Course! For many of you returning visitors, you are probably well beyond the point of needing this, but I have a lot of new people coming to the site and asking about it. I intended to get done with it forever ago, but I'm hoping that the trend will change, and I'll be able to get that set of tutorials up and running.

9 January 2011

While I haven't made a whole lot of updates here, I have still been making changes behind the scenes without telling you. Sorry. At the moment, my biggest project has been updating all of the tutorials to XNA 4.0, which is no small task.

Also, as I have mentioned before, I'm in the process of making my own games and other software to help game makers, and I'm eventually moving all of these tutorials over to another site, off of Wikidot. That hasn't happened yet, and it will likely be a few months, but I'll let you know when it happens.

In the mean time, thank you all for your support over the years, and your patience as I update the tutorials to the newer version.

22 June 2010

I've begun work on the C# Crash Course tutorial set, which will give people new to programming a brief introduction to programming in C#. I intend on having quite a few tutorials in the set by the time it is done.

Also, for those of you who may be having problems with the bump map shader, I have uploaded a complete working sample for the tutorial, which can be found on that page.

12 June 2010

Well, my masters thesis is finally done. It is a huge relief. I suppose I should be honest, though. My thesis was completed a month and a half ago. For the last little while, I've gotten hooked on watching Lost and playing Mass Effect 1 and 2. I'm a sucker for a good storyline. That has taken up all of my free time, and so I haven't been able to really get back to this web site. But now I'm back (at least until Mass Effect 3 comes out) and I'm hoping to be able to put a lot more time into this site.

For the moment, my plan is to spend enough time here that I can add one more tutorial a week. I've gotten a lot of good suggestions for what to add, and I'm taking them into consideration.

Secondly, I want to go back through all of the existing tutorials and make sure they work for both the Xbox 360 and the PC in XNA 3.1. I've been told a number of places where things aren't working quite like they should, and I need to get them fixed.

Lastly, in the big scheme of things, I'm very tired of Wikidot. They have added in a large number of restrictions, while providing me with few additional benefits. While it is fine for the moment, my ultimate goal is to move everything off of this site to my own platform altogether. It will probably be a while before that happens, but consider this fair warning.

Thank you all for sticking with me through this. It's good to be back!

2 April 2010

Sorry that it has been so long since I have been able to update this site. I have been working diligently on completing my Master's degree in Computer Science. The good news is that I'm almost done! The bad news is, I still have about two or three more weeks. My defense is two weeks from today, then after the defense, there will be some additional small things that I need to do to finish it up and get it done and out of the way. Let me tell you, it will be a huge relief to be done with it.

I feel really bad for neglecting this site during the last several months. I know it has been four or five months since any real updating has happened. Thanks for sticking with me! The reality is that at the end of last year, I said to myself, if I'm going to finish this thesis this semester, I need to drop all side projects and just focus on it. Even though I've missed working on this site, and making my own games, it was definitely the right move. As you can see now, if I had been distracted, even just enough to delay me two more weeks, I would have gone past the end of this semester as well. And without going into any details, elapsing past the end of this semester would have caused HUGE problems for me.

I promise, though, that as soon as I'm finished with my thesis, that you'll see lots of improvements and additional tutorials!

15 December 2009

I apologize for being away from this site for so long. It has been nearly six months since it really got updated. I have to apologize even more because I have a project that I need to finish up that is going to be taking all of my time from now until the beginning of March, so there will be very few updates for a bit longer. After that, I should be freed up.

I added in a single new math tutorial, introducing the kinds of math that might be useful in a game, and I'm planning on some serious expansion of the game math tutorials. I'm also hoping to add in a set of tutorials on C#, and on using Visual Studio. The other thing that I'm planning on adding is a couple of sets of tutorials for making a complete game, both as an alternate to the other tutorials, and also just for an example of putting together a complete game. I've had a number of people ask about these things, though it probably won't be until the beginning of next year.

On top of that, I've gotten increasingly tired of Wikidot. For years I've been recommending it to people, but I would no longer do that. In fact, when I get the time and money for it, I think I'm going to be moving off of Wikidot, probably to my own platform, giving me the flexibility that I've been needing, without the hassle that Wikidot is giving me.

So there are some big things coming along, but they're on hold for the most part, until March 2010.

30 June 2009

Things have been quite busy for me lately with starting a new job, finishing up my thesis, and some family medical problems that have been going on lately. This morning, though, I decided to go to work a little late, and write a tutorial instead! I've just created the Video Playback tutorial for XNA 3.1 users!

3 June 2009

It's been a couple of months since I updated this site! We had a "family emergency" that lasted for quite some time, and so I haven't been very worried about this site for a while. Also, now I've started my new job, which I'm really enjoying. In addition, I still have my thesis to finish up, so I've been quite busy. Soon enough, though, I'll be done with my thesis, and that will give me a lot more time to work on this site. Today I took a break from the usual stuff, and decided to start working on a 3D modeler. This is fairly similar to my normal editor that I was working on a year ago, though the goal of this is to be a full fledged editor. I have already implemented the winged edge data structure, and things are moving along. You can take a look at it on the Modeler page.

Hopefully, I'll have time to work on this website a bit more over the next little while!

26 March 2009

I've got a lot more stuff that I'm planning on doing with this website over the next little while. But for now, progress will probably be kind of slow. I'm finishing up my Master's thesis, and that is going to be taking up quite a bit of time over the next month, so don't expect any radical changes over that time. I'll most likely have enough time to answer questions in the forum or on individual tutorials though. And hopefully, also to make a few small changes here and there. Just expect progress to be slow. Also, XNA 3.1 has been unofficially announced!

25 March 2009

Well I haven't been updating this recent updates page, but slowly over the last month, I've been adding a troubleshooting page for each tutorial. I'm now done, and all of the tutorials have troubleshooting pages! Hopefully this will help me better understand where people are having problems with these tutorials, and improve them.

5 March 2009

I've been adding the troubleshooting stuff to more tutorials today. They're now in the Getting Started tutorials, as well as the 2D, 3D, and input tutorial sets. It will probably still take some time to get them in all of the tutorials, but I think it will really help people give and get quick and easy feedback, and I'll be able to improve these tutorials a lot for you guys.

25 February 2009

I've been doing a little here and there on this site, but I've been extremely busy lately, and haven't had too much time. Today, though, I got started on adding troubleshooting pages for each of the tutorials. This should give people instant feedback on problems that they might be having with the tutorials. So far, I've only added it for the Getting Started tutorials, but now that I've got the important stuff in place, it is only taking me about one minute to add the stuff to each of the other pages, so the rest should happen pretty quickly. I really hope that this will help me quickly fix problems or address concerns with these tutorials that you guys might be having.

6 February 2009

I've added a tutorial for reflection using environment mapping. Also, you may have noticed my little icons on the HLSL tutorials page, which I've begun adding to make it easier for people to see what the tutorial is about. Hopefully it is helpful!

5 February 2009

I've added a tutorial on making a skybox shader and added little screenshot icons to many of the tutorials on the HLSL tutorials page. I also uploaded a bunch of skyboxes for people to use. That leaves us with 65 XNA tutorials!

4 February 2009

I've done a few random things here and there, like I'm sure you've noticed some of the social network icons on the left panel. Also, I've fixed a few audio tutorials that were out of date, and added a new one about playing sound effects in a simple method using XNA 3.0.

25 January 2009

I've added a few more HLSL tutorials as well as redone the primitives tutorials now. This means that I've updated ALL of the tutorials! Today is a great day! At last count, I have 60 tutorials here, which is pretty good, I'd say. Maybe now I can slow down a little bit with these tutorials, though I'm still planning on adding more tutorials here.

22 January 2009

Well, now I've completed a couple more advanced shaders for the HLSL tutorials. I've got the bump mapping tutorial and the toon shader tutorial going. Both of these do things that BasicEffect can't do. I'm hoping to put a couple more HLSL tutorials online, but I think that for now, I'm planning on going over to the primitives tutorials, which still need some work.

21 January 2009

Over the last few days, I've been hard at work on the HLSL tutorials, and I've gotten quite a few up. This should satisfy the needs of many of you who want to learn more about HLSL and shaders, and more is still coming. I have tutorials that take you through the basics of shaders, HLSL, and effect files, as well as how to use shaders in XNA, ambient, diffuse, and specular lighting, and texturing.

18 January 2009

I've been working on the new tutorials for quite a while now. I finally got around to converting the tutorials over to the new organization that I've been talking about for months. The xna-tutorials page should look pretty different now. I hope no one got messed up in the process. The old tutorial organization is still around, though, and can be found on the old XNA tutorials page. Wow, this was a lot of work!

17 January 2009

I've completed the first three tutorials on HLSL and shaders in XNA. These tutorials cover the basic concepts of the programmable graphics pipeline, writing a simple ambient light shader, and using a shader in XNA. I'm going to be continuing on with this set of tutorials, but probably at a slower pace after this. I've got about five other tutorials in that set that I would like to do. Additionally, I'm thinking that this semester, it might be pretty easy to update the primitives tutorials as well. I also still need to update the ordering of the tutorials to make it more simple to get started.

14 January 2009

This semester will probably be a little lighter than last. So hopefully I'll have time to keep updating this site during the semester. Additionally, I am taking an advanced graphics class, which may make it easier to work on a lot of these tutorials, since some of the work I do for the tutorials can also count as class work. I am now complete with the basics in this plan. I just started developing my plan for .FX files and HLSL shaders. It will be a while before that really gets up and going, though. But I know people have been asking for it. Additionally, I might go back and rework the Primitives tutorials along with an advanced graphics class that I'm currently taking. Nothing has been decided for sure about the Guitar Input tutorial or the Bone Animation tutorial for now.

5 January 2009

Well, I've completed all of the necessary tutorials now, I think. I just got done with the custom content pipeline extension tutorial and it was a monster. I split it up into smaller parts, but there are eight parts! I think the previous high was three or four parts. So it was big. There are, in reality, ten more tutorials that I listed in the Battle Plan, but I might skip them for the moment. Two of them are going to be difficult until I get the resources I need (a guitar for the guitar input one, and a model with bones for the bone animation tutorial). Four are about shaders/effects which I will be adding more on soon, but there has never really been any tutorials here about shaders, so I don't feel too bad if I skip over them for now. The last four are about working with primitives, but I can't imagine that these would really be part of a decent introduction to XNA. Once again, I don't feel too bad about leaving them out for now. But I've already done the work for most of those in the past, when it was XNA 1.0, so I'm planning on updating them still. But I feel like the tutorials here are relatively complete at this point, and I might just go ahead and reformat the tutorials now….

23 December 2008

I got two more tutorials updated today, including the tutorial about the content pipeline, and the tutorial about collision detection. That leaves me with 14 more to go. Like I said before, though, eight of those are tutorials that I may not worry about until later. Additionally, there are two more tutorials that I might drop altogether. The guitar input tutorial has never been here, and now I don't have my guitar anymore. Also, the bone animation tutorial might be dropped because I haven't been able to get ahold of any models with bones. So I really only have four more tutorials that are *mandatory* to update: picking, mesh-by-mesh animation, a content pipeline extension, and a tutorial on 3D modeling programs. Don't expect me to update anything tomorrow or the next day, because it will be Christmas, and I will be visiting family. The same thing might be true for the day after that as well….

22 December 2008

I haven't been adding things to this page, even though I have made many updates over the last few days. Once again, you should check out the Battle Plan page to see my progress on updating my XNA tutorials. I now have 44 out of the 60 total tutorials up-to-date. Also, out of the 16 that are left, four are HLSL stuff that has never been on this site yet, really, and four are primitive drawing, which originally was one of the first things that we did, but I'm now going to push way back in the list of tutorials, since most people don't really want to do all of this. I might make the conversion to the new system before completing those tutorials and add them in later, depending on how much time I have over the break. But I still have at least eight more tutorials to go. I have been doing a couple of tutorials a day on average, but now I am getting to some of the harder tutorials, and progress is a little slower.

Once I have these tutorials done, I will be making a significant switch in the way users access these tutorials. YOU'LL HAVE TO PAY FOR IT! Just kidding! I've already decided that I'm not ever going to do that. But I'm going to be reordering just about everything, and categorizing the tutorials, and give users more options about what tutorials to do that better fits their needs, rather than forcing them down a linear path. I'm planning on keeping the old list still functioning for a couple of months for the people who have it built into hyperlinks on other pages and stuff, but eventually the old list will be removed entirely, since it is less effective.

I would also like to eventually add a few tutorials that go through the steps of making an entire (simple) game, to put everything together. I might possibly do a 2D and a 3D game. This is a little while off, since I need to focus on updating the tutorials first, and then I will also need to focus on finishing up my Master's degree.

Thanks to all of you who have made this web site so popular!

18 December 2008

Last night I got some more work done on this site. In particular, I completed a tutorial about managing content in an XNA game, and updated all of the stuff on the Battle Plan page, so that you can see what is left to do. I have about 63 tutorials that I'm getting ready, about half of which have been updated. Once the tutorials are in place, I will modify the main tutorials pages to reflect the changes, but I'll keep the old stuff around for those of you who link to the site, or for the people who have the URL memorized or something. After a few months of that, I'll eventually remove the old stuff, since the new stuff will be a big improvement over it.

17 December 2008

I'm finally done with this crazy semester. We are talking about doing several XNA Special Interest Groups for the ACM Student Chapter, and so I really want to make sure this website is up-to-date before the semester starts, because we could be going through the tutorials again. With the (little bit of) extra time that I have now, I've begun updating the tutorials again. Today I got done updating the Setting Up XNA and Creating an XNA Game from the Template tutorials. Take a look at my Battle Plan to see what I'm planning on doing. Also, let me know if you have suggestions.

19 November 2008

Well, I don't have much time for updating this site still, but things should get better after the semester is over. Today I reworked the CSS in the Forum, so it looks a lot nicer now. It used to have white text on a very light gray background, which was difficult to read. This is kind of a leftover from the orginal CSS, and I haven't gotten around to fixing the forum until now. So now things should be much more readable there. I've also decided to start keeping all of my update logs around, so now at the bottom of this page you can see older updates.

4 November 2008

While doing all of my course work, I've made two other small projects that I've put up here on the web. The first is my test practice program, Quiz Program, and the second is my web search tool, Web Pilot. They are both pretty primitive so far, but I just put up the second version of both of these. You should check them out.

23 October 2008

Finally! Java 6 Update 10 has been released! I've been waiting for this for months. It's about time. Now I can start expecting people to start using it on their systems, and I can use the Nimbus Look and Feel in my programs! This is really good news.

22 October 2008

Well, things remain very busy for me. I still have a pile of school related things that I need to do before I can worry about this website, unfortunately. I just wanted to make a comment that is similar to the one I made on October 8th. The last three days have all had the highest number of unique visitors of all time, each beating the previous day's high. This site continues to grow, and I'm excited about that. I'm really glad this site is helping you guys!

By the way, when I first made this site, I said that I won't ever start charging people for it, or clutter it up with ads. Of course, then, nobody was using the site. Now that it has become more popular, I want you all to know that I'm still going to keep that promise! I made the site for you, not for me! Let me know if there is ever anything that I can do to help you better.

18 October 2008

This semester has gotten extremely busy. It's been a while since I've even been able to think about updating this website, let alone actually doing it. The next couple of weeks are likely to be very busy as well. Perhaps after that I'll have a little break before the final push at the end of the semester…. Then maybe I'll be able to do something. Don't plan on anything new this week though!

8 October 2008

Well I haven't updated anything since the weekend, but I thought I would put a comment up here. Yesterday I had the highest page load activity ever for this site. I'm pretty excited about that! Ever since I moved these tutorials to Wikidot, I've been getting a lot more hits. And ever since I moved here, a Google search for me gets my website. (I don't think Google even crawled my old website.) Anyway, thank you all for making this site so successful, and keep letting me know how I can help you better!