Game Creation with XNA/Basics/Introduction

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Introduction[edit]

Game development is neither easy nor cheap, instead it is a multi-billion dollar, fast growing industry. It is challenging in terms of hardware and software, always using cutting edge technology.

The XBox 360 contains gaming hardware which is among the most sophisticated available. It has a PowerPC-based CPU with 3 cores running at 3.2 GHz with 2 threads each. For graphics it uses a custom ATI Graphics (Xenos) card running at 500 MHz with 48-way parallel floating-point shader pipelines.

Hence, in game development we have already made the paradigm shift away from the single-core single-threaded application, because in the XBox we are dealing with 6 threads running in parallel on the CPU, with 48 threads running in parallel on the GPU and with hundreds of GFLOPS computing power. Therefore, game programming is parallel programming!

So how can we learn about game development, how can we get started? Microsoft with the XNA Game Studio and the XNA Framework has made it pretty easy to get started. With openly available components, even a 4th semester student can start writing a 3D race car simulation. A very nice feature of the XNA Game Studio is the fact that you can run the programs not only on the Xbox, but also on the PC, which is very nice for development.

Before we can get started writing code, we need to get our environment set up, install necessary software, including Visual Studio, learn a little about C# and the basics of game programming. Also handling of input devices is covered here.