Monday, December 20, 2010

Book 1, Finally Done

It took a lot of stopping and starting, but my first book of tutorials, Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0: Learn Programming Now!, is finally finished! I looked back and saw that it took me 6 months to complete, which is pretty gross. The last six months have been pretty strenuous so I'm not beating myself up too much about it, but I'm definitely farther behind than I thought I'd be. It was definitely a long ride with this book. There were times that keeping all of the lessons on objects, methods, classes, structures, variables, etc seemed impossible. Hell, I'd be a liar if I said that I had completely understood all of it, but I think I learned a lot.

Sadly, I still don't feel like I have enough knowledge of XNA to create the game I want to make, but I'm pressing on. While the book was a wonderful teaching tool, it didn't teach me anything about animated sprites or creating a "platformer", which are 2 things that will be vital to my game.

From this point I'm going to move forward with Learning XNA 3.0 by Aaron Reed. While the previous book focused a lot on C#, which I definitely needed, it really only showed how to apply C# to some very simple functions. I'm hoping Aaron Reed's book will help me apply that knowledge to game creation in XNA. While part of the book is dedicated to 3D games (which I will not be using), the first 160 pages are dedicated to 2D topics such as sprite animation and artificial intelligence.

Also, a while back I picked up James Silva and John Sedlak's book "Building XNA 2.0 Games". While a good portion of it is used to explain how to make your own level editor and skeletal animation system, the book supposedly shows the process in creating The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. I'm hoping this will fill in some of the holes in what I've learned.

All in all, I'm hoping that 2011 is a big year for my game. If I have one New Years resolution, it will be to better manage my time so that I can work on my different projects and not let so much fall between the cracks. Hope to update again soon.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quick Update

First off, every once in a while I will see something so brilliant, that I am consumed with jealousy for hours. This set of re-envisioned Star Wars posters by Olly Moss is a prime example of that. Simply amazing.

In other news, I'm ready to start programming again, but my graphics card's fan is buzzing like crazy. Seeing as there are no compatible fans online, I am sort of at a loss as to what I should do. Would hate to spend the money and take it in, but that might have to happen. A real bummer.

Either way, I'm going to try and take a few hours in the morning and not out the last couple of chapters in my first XNA book so I can move onto the one I just got in the mail.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quick Picture

Going to an art function on Tuesday night and wanted to practice drawing with my Faber-Castell pen. Decided to practice drawing the player's character and, of course, converted it into a sprite. Really feel like his design is starting to click with me.

Oops. Video Repost

Just realized that I had my privacy setting on for the video that I posted a few days ago. I suck.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Further Education

So I got blind sided by some insane computer problem that doesn't let my computer receive the internet through my router. Pretty frustrating but I'm hoping to have it fixed soon.

In other news, I've decided that I'm going to power to the end of my current book and start on the next one. My book of choice is: Learning XNA 3.0: XNA 3.0 Game Development for the PC, Xbox 360, and Zune . I read up on a lot of the books through Amazon, and thought this one might be the best at helping me apply the C# stuff I learned in my current book. Keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out...and that I can get this damn computer fixed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hand Drawn Animation

I recently came across a beautiful short film by Ryan Woodward. The website for the film has a short "Making Of" documentary that shows his collaboration with a dance choreographer for its creation. It really is a stunning piece of work and makes me excited to animate something that has a little more change in speed and easing in it, rather than the cycle I've done so far.

Thought of You from Ryan Woodward on Vimeo.


I was really struggling to remember some of the things I'd learned in my XNA book so I decided to sit down and refresh myself. Reading through the chapters really jogged my memory and I feel confident that I can get back into programming in the next few days. I looked and I'm actually only one and a half chapters from finishing. Looking at the book as a whole, I realized that it is really geared towards helping you with learning C#. Seeing how I had no prior knowledge of C#, this has helped tremendously.

At this point, my game making experience has been limited to "Break Out" clones offered by the book. So I've decided that I will go through the creator's club's video tutorials or perhaps pick up another book aimed specifically at the XNA framework to better prepare me. Right now I'm leaning towards Learning XNA 3.0: XNA 3.0 Game Development for the PC, Xbox 360, and Zune.

I also tinkered with Torque X and was running into a multitude of problems. I'm probably going to have to run through that book again too, because the problems I was having were just bizarre to have not been my fault. I also don't remember if I had any problems like that when I was running through that book the first time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Player Run Cycle - Finished

I seemed to have messed up my foot (hope its not broken) and all of this time sitting has inspired me to finish the run cycle. Right now I'm trying to get Torque to work so I can see him running across a stage. I've attached my sprite progression.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Player Run Cycle

So I was working on a job and had to wait for a video to render...for 19 hours. So I decided to stop putting off some art for the game and worked on this. Its just a first pass, but its also the first run cycle I've ever done. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. I need to fix quite a few things, but I'm sure most of that will come through in the clean up stage.

On the XNA front, I'm starting to get a little anxious to start working on the game. The frustration in not having all the coding answers is starting to get to me. I'm at the point where I want to see my character run across the screen. I'm not exactly discouraged, but I need a little pick me up to keep going. I think I'm just having a hard time finding the answers I want.

At this point, I'd just like to have some video tutorials or something so I can see these things working. Plus, Torque X is not as intuitive as I'd like, but I may have jumped in too quickly on it. I'll go back and go through the tutorials and hopefully that will help with some of the problems I'm having.

Hoping to have some results soon, but will probably have to continue learning the frame work before I can get any where.