Microsoft XNA is a set of tools with a managed runtime environment provided by Microsoft that facilitates video game development and management. XNA attempts to free game developers from writing "repetitive boilerplate code" and to bring different aspects of game production into a single system.

The XNA toolset was announced March 24, 2004, at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California. A first Community Technology Preview of XNA Build was released on March 14, 2006. XNA Game Studio 2.0 was released in December 2007, followed by XNA Game Studio 3.0 on October 30, 2008. XNA Game Studio 4.0 was released on September 16, 2010 along with the Windows Phone 7 Development Tools.

XNA currently encompasses Microsoft's entire Game Development Sections, including the standard Xbox Development Kit and XNA Game Studio.

The name "XNA" originated out of the project's development name, Xbox New Architecture. Instead of being released under the Xbox name, the Xbox 360 was released (2005), and XNA came to stand for "XNA's Not Acronymed".

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Hello everyone!

New I Am Overburdened update, new entry ;)
This time instead of launching new content or features I'm upgrading the graphics of the game a little.

Graphical facelift

As I hinted before on social media I've been working on multiple graphics related changes. This is the first update for I Am Overburdened focusing only on the visual aspect. If the response is good I may create another similar one :)
Let me know what you think!

Auto-Tiling

The biggest graphical improvement is the auto-tiling feature of the dungeon levels. In short, it is a technique to (dynamically) change tiles based on their neighbors to achieve a much less "blocky" look and to add depth to the scenes.


To me, the difference is night and day. It does make the grid structure of the levels less readable (functionally may be a bit of a downgrade), but it makes the dungeons feel much more claustrophobic so all in all, I feel like it is a big win :)

Some technical details:


The most flexible and well-established method is the "blob" or 8-way auto-tiling where you create special tile graphics with the required corners for all the relevant neighbor combinations (47 exist, the first part of the image). Each neighbor is represented by a bit (power of 2 value, the second part of the image) and by combining the flags of the ~important matching neighbors you get a unique value identifying the required tile.

Even though I coded a system like this long ago I decided to go with a different technique because of the amount of graphical work required...


So I switched to the "sub-tile" approach. It is super simple to implement and requires much less sprite work while still achieving a similar result. The idea here is to split tiles which require special corner graphics and check the relevant neighbors for each corner. To cover each situation 4 variants are required so 16 sub-tiles. Based on the horizontal, vertical and diagonal neighbors of a given corner the appropriate sub-tile graphic can be selected and voila. Auto-tiling.

Crystal clear

The looks of the last episode in the game received some valid criticism. My original goal was to make the "Crystalline Cavern" a bit confusing. Almost like a place full of mirrors. I think I went a little overboard and visual clarity suffered a lot.


I've redrawn parts of the tile-set, recolored the rest and a new walking effect was introduced to preserve the reflecting and mirror-like feeling.

Rain

The ambient sounds in the inn just weren't doing it justice. I added some splash effects outside of the building to set a more convincing mood.


Bugs & Performance

The fixes and optimizations are graphics related too. The biggest enhancement is the introduction of multiple (rendering) layers within the effect system and overall improved effect handling performance.

Effect layers

This problem probably did not bother many players, but some environment effects looked funny before the introduction of multi-layer spell effects.
Fixed!


Mouse control sprites

There was a tiny sprite state related bug which could only occur when controlling the game with the mouse. Not anymore.


Spell performance

Although the game could always run on a "toaster" hitches and frame-spikes during spell heavy moments weren't uncommon. This is now a thing of the past.


Next stop?

Work continues on I Am Overburdened. The planned content expansion pack is shaping up nicely. So far, I deliberately kept concrete info about it to the minimum since I'm still really bad at estimating the work left and I would like it to be a surprising and bigger release. This means the upcoming few updates will be similar to this and the last one (just a bunch of tiny changes), but I'm going to start teasing the new features in the following weeks ;)

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
Take care!

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Comments  (0 - 10 of 33)
Jdawgg25
Jdawgg25

I have uploaded some open-source XNA 4.0 projects on my downloads page here: Indiedb.com

I will be uploading more projects there later over time. Happy Coding :-D

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Jdawgg25
Jdawgg25

Finally! MonoGame is coming to Xbox One. MonoGame implements XNA 4.0 and allows developers to port their games to other platforms besides the default platforms supported already by the XNA 4.0 Framework. Link: Twitter.com

Also, I need to correct myself on an older post. Unity has Mono built into it, not MonoGame. So if you are eager to finish your XNA game, with some work, it is possible to import your XNA or MonoGame project into Unity. Mono is a cross-platform open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET Framework. It is based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime.

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Jdawgg25
Jdawgg25

With MonoGame 3.4 (which is the continuation of XNA 4.0) for Visual Studio 2015, it is now possible to create a game for Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This also makes it possible to get your XNA project to run on Windows 10 with UWP. Since the Xbox One dev kit supports UWP, it might also be possible to get a MonoGame project running on it.

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CakeKing64
CakeKing64

Awesome :P

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Jdawgg25
Jdawgg25

If anyone is curious, it is possible to integrate your XNA Game Project into Unity, but it might take a little extra work. This is a proof of concept showing the Platformer XNA starter kit running inside Unity3D. Zero code changes have been made to the original game code. Using a mixture of new code and some code from MonoGame, the author has implemented XNA emulation. They did so by having a game object with a script attached run an XNA game performing updates and drawing.

Check out this link below for the source code:
Github.com

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Arethrid
Arethrid

Interesting but what about the performance? I persume it would drop radically under such conditions.

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Jdawgg25
Jdawgg25

My apologies for replying back so late. Under such conditions, it is possible for the frame-rate to drop. By performance, are you referring to graphics specifically? I sometimes rarely hear people speak of physics performance or audio performance. Honestly it depends how the XNA game was coded prior to being imported into Unity. It would be best to fix garbage collection issues in your XNA game project before importing it into Unity. There are many ways to help increase performance in your XNA project prior to importing it into Unity. Its a question of whether or not you are CPU or GPU bound. Using the CLR Profiler can help you find out. Things like changing foreach loops to for, multi-threading, using StringBuilder instead of String, and using DrawUserPrimitives are just some ways to help the frame-rate. In my game constructor, I set the following to false: IsFixedTimeStep = false; and graphics.Synchr

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Arethrid
Arethrid

(Sorry for the double post. I didn't realize that I was logged out)

No problem. Yes, I was referring to the graphics performance.
You mentioned DrawUserPrimitives(). So far I have only used it in 3D with Vector3. Do you use DrawUserPrimitives in 2D as well? If so are you still using a Vector3 and just projecting 3D data on an orthographic view? Do you know if vector2 can be used with vertecies and triangles?
Thanks.

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Jdawgg25
Jdawgg25

For drawing primitives in 2D, you really just need to know what to tell the system to make it work. Check out this great tutorial for more information. I hope it will further answer your questions as it has helped me.

Bit-101.com

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Arethrid
Arethrid

I checked the link you posted, after seeing it I remembered that I checked the same blog long ago (might be a couple of years ago). Turns out the author is talking about what I was refering in my comment. Projecting Vector3 vertecies on an orthographic view. It was good to read it again. Thanks a lot for the reply and the link.
Cheers!

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DonBre
DonBre

nice! :D

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It's not an engine, its a framework basically a template to directX. I really like it because it allows you to develop for 3 Microsoft platforms and can port them easily.

Jul 14 2012 by atsebak

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