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I'm a .net consultant (mainly c#) for my job, but for a while now, I've been interested in making a game in XNA (as a hobby project).

I've had a "beginner" course in XNA when I was still a student, but I've lost most of the information (plus, it was VERY beginner, not enough to get you really started).

So my question, which resources would be useful for me to learn XNA (books, blogs, websites, tutorials, resource websites - like textures, audio files, etc..)?

I know this is a very open question, but I'm thankful for any information.

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"How do I get started?" questions are not good questions to ask here as defined in the FAQ. You could try asking chat or – doppelgreener Jul 1 '12 at 21:46
Shameless self-promotion ;) – Andrew Russell Jul 2 '12 at 3:10
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I was in the same situation as you in the sense that I was already very familiar with C# and .NET and just wanted to learn the XNA API as quickly as possible. I'll just describe the resources I've used in the beginning.

In that situation (and although it's a bit outdated now because the API changed a bit in version 4.0) I found Riemers (check his website too) book "XNA 3.0 Game Programming Recipes A Problem-Solution Approach" to be really useful:

enter image description here

The reason for that is that the book is divided into small sections, or recipes, about 3 or 4 pages each, and each recipe is focused on a different problem, a different portion of the API. At the start of the book he also recommends many different orders to read the book depending on your goals.

So I read through the recommended recipes to get up to speed with 2D and 3D rendering, content loading and input handling, which took less than a day, and afterwards, any time I picked the book I would just look at the table of contents, pick a recipe that interested me at random and read it.

But what I was particularly surprised with was the breadth of topics covered, because after all of the basic beginner recipes, there are also a lot of recipes on advanced topics that I really didn't expect to see in the same book, such as:

  • vertex and pixel shaders
  • ocean shader (complete with waves, refraction, reflection, and fresnel term)
  • particle system
  • bloom post processing
  • shadow mapping
  • bump mapping
  • a procedural race track with catmull-rom
  • height-map terrain
  • octree
  • deferred shading
  • picking

Besides reading this book, I also complemented my learning with articles from the official App Hub Education Catalog which you can find here:

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Woaw, this book seems great for me! Thanks for the advice – Team-JoKi Jul 1 '12 at 17:34
@Team-JoKi The only problem is that version 4.0 of XNA was released since then and there were a few breaking changes in the API. But it should be simple enough to work with it, and when something does not work, check this list to see if there was any change. – David Gouveia Jul 1 '12 at 18:29
I would not recommend that book. The 4.0 API made quite a few breaking changes (for the better) especially shader related things . There are plenty XNA4 books out there… one of them is bound to be good :). Edit: sounded a bit harsh, I would totally recommend it if you were going to use XNA3 :) – Roy T. Jul 1 '12 at 20:08
While I do own this book, I wouldn't recommend it. It's out-dated, and even then I didn't find it very useful to a complete XNA beginner. – Cypher Jul 1 '12 at 20:16
@RoyT. I've read a few other of those books, and although it varies from book to book, my experience with most of them is that they spend the entire book teaching only the basics at an excruciatingly slow pace for someone with programming experience, and end before getting to the interesting parts. It is for the pace and scope of the book that I recommended it, benefits which for me were more relevant than making the changes to XNA 4.0. – David Gouveia Jul 1 '12 at 20:20

Internet Search

Searching the Internet with strings such as "xna game development tutorial" will land quite a large number of walk-throughs and examples.

Microsoft App Hub

The App Hub has some great examples of games that you can sift though to understand various techniques. They even have some have decent tutorials that can help get you started. This tutorial in particular, may be a good place to get you going.

Getting Started with XNA Game Studio Development

I found this MSDN article useful in getting started with XNA a few years ago. Looks like they have complete documents for the various versions as well.

You may also want to bookmark and as further reading and additional resources as you progress with your hobby.

share|improve this answer
Well, the problem with google-ing random tutorials well can you trust 'em? Since my knowledge of XNA is very small at the moment, a tutorial could be teaching me a "bad practice" - something that works fine in a demo, but it would drag down performance in a real game. Anyways, thanks for the links, I bookmarked them, I'll check 'em out for sure ^^ – Team-JoKi Jul 1 '12 at 17:30
a tutorial could be teaching me a "bad practice". You can't learn without making mistakes, so that's really irrelevant. Best way to learn is to write code, and not copy and paste what someone else already wrote. :) Eventually you will learn what to do and what to avoid (which is all subjective anyway). – Cypher Jul 1 '12 at 20:09

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