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Beginning XNA 2.0 Game Programming: From Novice to Professional (The Expert's Voice in Game Programming) Paperback – 29 Apr 2008

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1st ed. edition (29 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590599241
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590599242
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,549,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Alexandre Lobão is a passionate man. His first passion was reading, starting with large books Mark Twain, Érico Veríssimo, Jules Verne, Monteiro Lobato, Alexandre Dumas, and others when he was 7. At age 12, he discovered his next two passions: playing and creating games (by that time on his first Apple computer), and writing. Many years later he's about forty now these passions still flourish. Now he's a teacher of academic game development courses, has written four books on the topic, and has participated in Brazilian gamse development contests, both as a contestant and as a judge. He has also written short story books, children's books, and young adult books, and in 2008 he released his first romance, The Name of the Eagle, currently available only in Portuguese. And, of course, he still loves to read, some favorite authors being Ken Follett and Paulo Coelho. His ultimate passions starting in 1995 and still burning are his wife, Waléria, and his kids, Natália and Rafael. Alexandre believes that lives needs passion to be lived entirely, and hopes that this book helps light this passion in readers' hearts. You can find his work at AlexandreLobao.com.

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book does teach you the basics of XNA programming... however not before spending 1 hour per sub chapter to get it to compile. The author shows you the code and where to put it and then says it compiles and all is fine and dandy. You end up spending most of your time moving code about, and fiddling with the solution/contents of your game just to get it to compile. To top it off some of the code just doesn't work, mainly because it's in the wrong place. One part when creating the 2D game in the book, tells you to place code for audio in the initialisation method. what he doesnt tell you is that the code cannot just be dumped into the method, and must be seperated with the base.Initialize(); statement. It's definately not for novices and I wont recommend this book to anyone due to the frustration I had with it.
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Format: Paperback
I have to agree with the previous reviewer's comments about the early programs needing a fair bit of investigation to get them to work (you can download the source code for the book and see the changes (and they are often quite large)), but if you've followed along with many other programming books you'll probably be aware this is often the case.

It is a good book, well written and informative. All the programs are effective choices and teach the language and the tools well. It also builds up to a nice and complex game prototype which gives you a lot of info and experience in XNA. ...But it isn't for complete programming novices (despite the book's title), simply because of the frustration and extra work getting some of the code to work. Oh, and the chapter on shaders is badly lacking in information on how you work with shaders in a seperate shader-authoring application (the book doesn't even list the shader code - you have to get that from the source code download).

It's like the code was still being converted from XNA 1.0 to 2.0 while the book was going out, or something, and as such some bits of code got left out. Other than that, it would be a superb book. I've given it the benefit of the doubt and gone with a 4, but recommend maybe quickly checking out a library copy first - especially as a programming novice would struggle and for them 2 is more fitting. A "second edition" that fixes the problems would likely get a 5.
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Format: Paperback
As this was my first glimpse of the world of programming other than HTML I began reading enthusastically hoping that what I would find is the ultimate bible in making my very own video games. Dont get me wrong I didnt think it would be an easy task to undertake without any prior knowledge of the .NET Framework or XNA.

This was made even clearer to me as I read through the first chapters of the book. When it came down to it the theory was all there as for the practical side of things the code you were shown in the book was nothing like what they supplied in the source code files. It seems they wrote the book using the XNA 1.0 Framework and left it at that but supplied the 2.0 source code online. After overlooking this I found yet more mistakes with the text, it was missing sections of code and contained numerous spelling mistakes.

I would not recommned this book to anyone intending to begin using the XNA Framework rather try one of Microsofts own books on the subject.
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Format: Paperback
...but this is beyond acceptable. A cursory check through the book to ensure the code is even remotely compilable would have highlighted glaring errors, but it seems the author did not put in the effort to do this. I am about halfway through the book, and I don't think I've come across an example that works yet. Fortunately I have the knowledge to correct the mistakes - don't even think about buying this book if you don't, you won't get far.

Aside from the errors, the code at times demonstrates inefficient or plain bad design. As you can probably gather, I am not impressed with this book at all. The only reason it gets 2 stars is that it will eventually teach you about XNA if you can fix all the mistakes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great learning value! 3 July 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
You should understand C# code before diving into this book. I tried online tutorials and nothing comes close to just reading and using this book! Although there were a few places where I had to use an online resource to figure out exactly what the author was talking about, it still supasses any other online XNA intro.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best XNA book, code examples contain errors, where is the Quality Control? 7 Sept. 2008
By Milford Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this book on the web and still decided to buy it. The book is the easiest time I think I have ever had learning XNA, however, like all programming books it seems that only experienced coders who correct errors as they read are the ones in charge of editing and quality control.

For example, on page 46 it tells you to include a line of code that doesn't seem to make sense (private SpriteBatch spriteBatch = null;) in the Game1 code. This of course is redundant and cause the game not to compile. And.... naturally, the downloaded source code runs fine. Why? Because this line of code is not in the project. I imagine the XNA guru they had reviewing this book (how come they don't hand the book to a total newbie and say 'here, follow this book exactly and tell us when the code examples dont work') fixed the errors he seen on the fly without thinking ..oh, a total newbie won't know this is an obvious mistake..

But I can honestly say I have NEVER read a 'teach yourself' programming book with flawless code examples. And of course the downloaded source always works and you just have to compare your file with thier file and see what is different. The only positive note I can say about the poor state of quality control with newbie programming books in general is that in a way it teaches you to troubleshoot code. But, for someone who is completely new and doesn't pick up on these things it is very frustrating. I'm lucky now in that I have learned enough that I can fix these errors, but a few years ago I would have just tossed this book out of frustration when I do exactly as instructed and it still doesnt work.

To the people who write these books I have a suggestion....

If the person in charge of quality control has ever written a single line of code they are not qualified to review a book targeting newbies. Give the book to your spouse, neighbor, 12 year old, etc. who will quickly hand it back to you 5 times every chapter and say 'hey, I did what it said and got a bunch of errors', or 'hey, it assumes here on page whatever I know where to type this'.

Now, all that being said, this is a darn good book. The authors make XNA and XBOX programming about as simple as possible... the examples are explained very well and easy to follow. If you have gone through another C# teach yourself newbie book you should minimal trouble getting a game up and running in just an hour or so!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best XNA book on the market 10 July 2008
By MD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book to help you get started with XNA. I like the fact that it's straight and to the point with no fluff. Covers 2D and 3D game programming including skeletal animation. All sample code compiles and runs as advertised and is explained in detail. I had a bad experience with another XNA book so I'm glad I found this one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good tutorial - short on explanation 13 Oct. 2008
By B. Owczarzak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A fair addition to anyone's XNA library, but far from complete. The first half of the book is a good tutorial on building a 2D game from scratch. The second half makes an attempt to cover 3D programming. Given the steep learning curve behind 3D development (linear algebra, lighting and rendering, the programmable pipeline, etc.) where the subject matter could easily fill more than one book, the authors simply present the source code for each chapter with little explanation over what the average developer could grasp by simply looking at the code. Worse, certain subjects such as HLSL are discussed with such little depth that they should have been left out entirely. Combined with a decent game math book, a book on HLSL and the XNA documentation, this book will at least get you started with XNA development.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book 27 May 2008
By Apolo Osornio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I recently picked up this book and it's great !!...it's clear, and it's perfect for those people who want to understand the XNA bases, but at the same time, start to create by themselfs.
Even if you aren't a programmer, this book will guide you step by step trough all the process, from a basic game to a complex character animation.
In short, this book is an excellent starting point for people who want to learn XNA and get involved in the videogames world.
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