I’ve known Kurt for some time now since XNA got off the ground so many years ago, Kurt run the site XNAResources.com which has been a great inspiration to all of us who have been blogging and educating in this area. His Tile Engine tutorial has already spurned several engines to be developed based on his series.
The Tile Engine series has even gotten a revamp in recent months so it is well worth a look as well as his other excellent tutorials on Sprite Map generation and use plus offscreen colour-keyed maps (if you don’t know what that is then you had better start reading!)
You can find the book listed here on Pakt Publishing with further links to Amazon and other stores
But this post is a review of Kurt’s book so on with the show
What it’s about
Well of course it’s about XNA but one of the darker and less practiced implementations which eventually got added later in XNA’s lifecycle, Visual Basic.
Now I'm not against Visual Basic but it’s just not how I was brought up (Ok, yes I did do Basic programming, VBA and some VB 6 but it’s not something I easily admit to a crowd of C'# developers ), but I took on the review of this book to widen my horizon to gauge how things have changed.
One of my first impressions of the book is that it is a great template for Agile Design, each section is broken up in to small tasteful chunks which make picking up and running with each of the exercises very easy and comfortable to work with (given i had to translate the VB in my head).
This really fascinated me because as game developers we really need to learn and use Agile Methods (Scrum) to design and build our games to avoid developer burnout when you cannot se the end in sight, so the fact that this book actively promotes it is excellent, for anyone reading the book now appreciate what this is teaching you and adopt the books practice in to your own development cycle.
What’s In it
The book it’s self is broken up in to 4 projects, some with basic and advanced sections to ease you on your path, here’s a short summary of each.
There is a preface section for those completely new to XNA just so you can understand XNA’s approach to game design and the innards of the Game loop. (Update/Draw)
There were a few things I felt the book didn’t cover, such as creating projects for XBOX and Windows phone or building a more reusable player interface architecture but given this book is aimed at the beginner maybe these were left for a more advanced read later.
All in all I really enjoyed reading through Kurt’s book (except for the VB of course ) and is definitely one for the reference shelf for those starting out in game development from a VB background (as stated earlier you can get the same bang for your book with the C# version if that’s how you fly).
I’d give it a buy if you are in the market for a really good VB introduction to XNA.