Wednesday, June 22, 2011

XNA 4 on Visual Basic - Time to fill the void?

Drifting about the game development community, I've discovered that XNA seems to be the "cat's meow", of late.

For some time now, I've been learning how to employ Microsoft's horribly inefficient GDI+ to draw my graphics to the screen. I've gone back and forth with other coders who have constantly insisted that I need to put that old dog down - GDI+, that is - and move up to XNA.

After dedicating so many years to learning what I have, the idea of starting all over really kinda freaks me out. Leave Visual Basic for C#? Learn XNA?! Not so fast-... Before I panic, I hit up Google for advice. "Can I use XNA with VB??" The answer - "Heck yeah, you can, but we don't have any support docs for it, so you're on your own... You're probably an idiot for even entertaining the notion."

Further digging reveals that there are very few pioneers on this front! I found one very well constructed tutorial on the subject - but halfway through the first segment, I found that it was for XNA 3 and nothing worked, as there had been many changes to the framework! GRRRrr!

I got as far as tapping into my graphics device and making a window that closely resembled a "Blue Screen of Death". It wasn't though. It was my very own creation. Of course, then I wanted to add a 2D Texture next, but my new world came crashing down around me. I found myself neck deep in unfamiliar code and the tutorial was of no help. "Content pipeline?? What the heck is it, and how the heck do I use it?! Why can't I draw stuff to this sexy blue window I made?!?!?! WHY?!!?!?" After my break down, I continued to Google to no avail.

That brings me to my point... There is a serious need out there for VB over XNA 4 tutorials. If I dedicate enough energy to this, perhaps I can figure it out enough to produce some useable tutorials for the XNA-starved masses. It'll be the blind leading the blind, but hopefully it would spur some of the big boys to say, "Hey! Your code is CRAP. Try it this way, instead."

Just generating interest and a response might kick-start the fledgling VB/XNA community. Of course, more likely is that I finally gain a novice understanding of XNA 4 and XNA 5 is released, plunging me back into the darkness... Blah. Move or die, right?

Let's do this thing! :-D


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A muddy start... The Very Basics of Visual Basic Game Design (video)

I'm not sure why this is the most popular of my tutorials, but it is. This was my first submission and it's low quality. Even so, it's fairly thorough in getting you started at game development.

This video is a simple guide to using tile sets to draw a tile map, and to move a character around the screen.

Again, sadly, the video quality is not even close to high definition, though I do narrate through each step, so you shouldn't get lost.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Let's keep this simple, for now...

I have this vision of creating a blog that is both entertaining and beneficial to my fellow aspiring coders. Sounds simple enough, right? Well - truth be told, I've tried this before and failed miserably.

Usually, I start out posting with gusto, only to peter out after a short while. So, what makes me think I can do better this time around? Well, to be honest, my confidence has been dramatically improved by the overwhelmingly positive response to my recent game programming tutorials.

They're certainly nothing epic, but the positive feedback and code-hungry viewers have really driven me to continue in my endeavor to teach both myself, and others.

Mainly, I focus upon laying the foundations for game design in the Visual Studio (specifically VB) environment. Visual Basic is not typically pursued as a viable programming language for game production, but I've always maintained that it is highly underrated. In lazy man's terms: It's what I know, so it's what I do. ;-D

I have a deep fondness for the old, retro RPGs. I grew up playing the old Ultima series, as well as those golden classics, such as Dragon Warrior (NES), and Final Fantasy (NES, SNES). With the arrival of superior 3D environments and flashy game play, I feel that games have lost a great deal of the depth of play and richness of dialog that they once possessed. That's not to say that I don't enjoy, immensely, the all out bloodbath of those good ol' FPS games, like Quake and Unreal, or the arse-kickin'ness of games like the Battlefield series.

Still, when I attempt to make my own games, I pretty much always feel inclined to mimic the design of my favorite classic RPGs.

That said, I'm easily distracted... When it comes to programming, I find it difficult to stick with one thing for any extended period of time. that, or I simply learn a new trick or technique that takes me down so many rabbit trails that I forget what my initial intentions were. I also have a terrible tendency to procrastinate. To make things even worse, I have the memory of a goldfish, and I most always fail to take notes. Boy does that get me into trouble... ;-O

So, here we are... Another blog. :-P

If you find the contents helpful, or even fun, PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE leave me a note or something to let me know you were here! It's the feedback that drives me forward and will help to keep this blog from becoming yet another stagnant pond in the backwaters of the internet.