The purpose of the XDSK2 (XNA Developer’s Survival Kit) is to provide XNA Xbox indie game developers a list of resources for XNA 4.0 to assist them with creating better games, custom engines and most of all to help them raise the bar for titles existing in the XBLIG Library. This list is aimed at developers who are already familiar with Object Oriented programming and game development. It is not a list for beginners, but it may help them get started if they have a little programming experience. This list will be updated regularly.
All of the resources listed below were discovered while developing the Nelxon XNA Game Engine which is built on top of a stack of modified open-source libraries and designed for rapid game development. The XDSK2 will provide you XNA 4.0 libraries, engines, techniques, articles and more. However if you want to use the resources from the old XDSK there is a section listed for Converting XNA 3.1 to XNA 4.0 near the bottom of this page.
* Please Note: Some of libraries on the CodePlex website only have the updated XNA 4.0 versions available in the source code section. Make sure you download the latest source.
Last Update: November 12, 2011
Rendering, Graphics and Game Engines
- Synapse Gaming SunBurn Engine 2.0 – Nice Game Engine loaded with features and the Best Support & Community Ever
- Digital Rune Engine – Great Game Engine (physics, animation, math, multi-threading and more)
- Xen Graphics API for XNA – rendering tools and much more
- Ploobs Engine – loaded with shader effects , deferred rendering, lighting, soft shadows, the works.
- XNA Final Engine – rendering, post screen effects, and more
- Engine Nine – includes, animation, post fx, AI, custom materials, scene management, deferred lighting and more
- Hilva XNA Graphics Engine – Rendering Engine, Animation, and more
- Indiefreaks Game Framework - Incredible Addition for SunBurn Engine Users
- Jemgine - An extendable 2d Game Engine with an level editor
- Deferred Rendering – Roy Triesscheijn updated Catalin Zima’s Tutorial to XNA 4.0
- Jcoluna XNA Samples – If you’re trying to make your own engine, start here. (Shadows, SSAO, Lights, culling…)
- Tomato Renderer – Open Source Engine with light pre-pass, ssao, depth of field and more (includes user interface)
- Digital Rune Animation – Support 2D and 3D animation, Incredible skinned animation pipeline (RECOMMENDED)
- SGMotion Animation Library – XNAnimation Library integrated with SunBurn
- Communist Games Animation Library – Animation blending, shared skeletons, and more
- XNAnimation Library – Too many features to list.
- XNA Animation Component Library – one of the first animation engines, still awesome
- Skinned Model with Extensions – learn something from this tutorial
- Engine Nine – has an easy to use animation system, for skinned and non skinned models.
- Merge FBX Animation Files – hate XNA FBX only uses 1 Take? here’s the solution
- DigitalRune Physics – A module from DigitalRune Engine - Physics with lots of features, (fast & Xbox, $300)
- Bepu Physics – Nice Physics engine with many features, (fast, FREE)
- Jitter Physics – Physics Engine by the author of JigLibX (fast, FREE)
- Matali Physics -fast with lots of potential (fast on PC, average on Xbox 360, $130 – $260)
- Henge 3D Physics – Lot of Features and multi-threaded (okay on PC, slow on Xbox 360, FREE)
- JigLibX – old physics enigine (not multi-threaded) (slow, FREE – use Jitter instead… )
- Farseer Physics Engine – a 2D Physics Engine
- Box2D.XNA – C#/XNA port of Box2D
- EasyXnaAudio – easy interface to load, play, and manage songs and sounds
- XNA Final Engine – Audio engine included in framework
- Creators Club Audio Examples - this is all you need for audio in XNA
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Engine Nine – has a Path Finding and steering behaviors included
- SharpSteer – I found a million and 1 uses for this…
- State machine-based behavior models - Good Article, sample old..
- Steering Behaviors, Obstacle Avoidance – good Example (in spanish)
- DPSF (Dynamic Particle System Framework) - tested and approved
- Mercury Particle Engine – great engine, has lots of potential
- Nuclex Framework- multi-threaded particle system
- XML Particle Sample for XNA Creator Club – still one of my favorites
- DigitalRune Particles – Very Nice.…
Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) / Level Editor Tools
- DigitalRune Game UI – Basically Neoforce Controls on steroids, part of the Digital Rune Engine
- Neoforce Controls - my Second Favorite tool for Interfaces (now open source)
- Nuclex Framework- skinnable interface included
- 3D XNA Gizmo- you may need this for level editing…
- XNA and Windows Forms – this article explains the best
- Xna Screen Manager – clean, simple and easy to use
- Nuclex Framework – game manager included (nicely done)
- GameStateManager from Creator’s Club – great starter to build your own
- ParallelTasks Threading Library- makes it easy to multi-thread your game
- Multi-threading your XNA Game – great article and example
- Designing the Framework of a Parallel Game Engine – just read it
- DigitalRune Engine – Threading Library Included in Engine (RECOMMENDED)
Useful Extras and Services
- DigitalRune Math and Geometry Libraries- This comes with the DigitalRune Engine (RECOMMENDED)
- XBuilder 2.0 – This lets you preview your content assets right in Visual Studio
- NShader 1.1 – Syntax Highlighting for your HLSL files
- StitchUp – Generate Shaders from HLSL Shader Fragments
- Mixamo – need Animation for your Characters?
- CMU Mocap Database - need the largest collection of free Mocap available?
- HyperDuck Music Studios – need custom music for your game?
- Font Squirrel – need Free Commercial-Use Fonts for your game?
Articles, Blogs and Tutorials
- Game Developedia – Nice Beginner XNA 4.0 Tutorials
- Tutorials by Robot Foot Games – nice 2D sprite Tutorials
- XNA 4.0 Class Diagrams – extremely useful for programmers
- RoastedAmoeba Projects – Awesome XNA 4.0 Projects
- TileMap and Camera System Tutorial - good article
- XNA Content Pipeline Debugging – helps you figure old those pipeline problems
- Dot Net Perls – Best resource for looking for c# snippets and samples
- Eliminate Garbage with CLR Profiler – optimize you game…
- Gimbal lock free Arcball camera – nice camera tutorial
- How to use Farseer in platform game – Platform Physics Tutorial
- Parallax Starfield – great example of parallax scrolling
- MVC in Games – Model View Controller advantages
- XNA Questions – You may find your answer here
- Sgt. Conker – Lots of News and Resources for XNA
- Communist Games Blogs – Lots XNA 4.0 Code Snippets and practices
- Shawn Hargreaves Blog- He Knows XNA 4.0 PersonallyNot XNA Exclusive Articles, but Handy
- General Game Networking – learn more building online multiplayer games
- Game User Interfaces – What players wants
- Nucleus High Level Engine Design – Great Design notes
XNA 4.0 Books
- XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner’s Guide
- 3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0
- XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming: Developing for Windows Phone and Xbox Live
- Learning XNA 4.0
- The Complete XNA Game Studio 4.0: An Exploration into the XNA Framework Library
Are you trying to convert XNA 3.1 projects to XNA 4.0?
- XNA 3.1 to XNA 4.0 Cheat Sheet – Loaded with example of how to convert projects
- Breaking changes in XNA Game Studio 4.0 – things you should know before converting
- 3D XNA 3.1 game to XNA 4.0 – an example -pixel shaders ,xap files, DepthStencilBuffer (fixes)
- XNA 3.1 to XNA 4.0 – RenderTarget2D, renderstate, effectpass, vertexdeclaration (fixes)
- Coverting Between Texture2D and Image – Texture2D FromFile (fix)
- SpriteBatch and custom renderstates – SpriteBatch, SpriteBlendMode, SaveStateMode (fixes)
- Rendertarget changes – RenderTarget2D, GraphicsDevice.SetRenderTarget (fixes)
- SpriteBatch and custom shaders – SpriteBatch Improvement (update details)
- ResolveBackBuffer and ResolveTexture2D - Where are they?
- Effect API Changes - effect.Begin(), passes.Begin() (fixes)
- Effect Interfaces – BasicEffect updates, Built in Types (fixes)
- SpriteBatch and renderStates – fix 3D graphics drawn incorrectly when 2D objects on Screen
- Vertex Data – VertexDeclaration, VertexElements, SizeInBytes, VertexBuffer (fixes)
- Point Sprites – Where are they?
- State Objects – SaveStateMode, SaveStateBlock, RenderState, BlendFunction, (fixes)
- ElapsedRealTime and TotalRealTime – understanding the time changes (update details)
- DrawIntancedPrimitives – mesh instancing, state batching, shader instancing (update details)
- Rendertarget formats – details on backbuffer formats and rendertarget formats
- Reach vs HiDef – things you should know
- New Effects built-in Content Pipeline – BasicEffect, SkinnedEffect, EnvironMapEffect and more
- Viewport Tweaks – Updates to Viewport Objects and properties
- Color constructors – updates to Color
*Most of the articles above are from Shawn Hargreaves Blog, posted here to make them easier to find.
Sites that promote and review Xbox Indie Games
- Indie Gamer Chick – If she likes your game obviously you did something right. Brutally Honest Indie Game Reviews.
- Kobun’s Xbox Indies Page – Xbox Indie Games Recommendations and Reviews
- Armless Octopus – Xbox Indie Game Reviews
- Indie Nerds – Games worth playing
- GameMarx – A site dedicated to Xbox Indie Games (news, reviews, podcasts and more)
- XboxHornet – Loaded with Reviews and Xbox Indie Game Related Articles
- Writings of Mass Deduction – Everyday A New Game Review (seeking the best games)
- 8 Bit Horse - Where 2D Lives
- Indie Game Uprising – Look for High Quality Xbox Indie Games released every season
- Kotaku XboxIndies – Lots of review and Indie game trailers
- GameTrailers Xbox Indie Games – Lots of Xbox Indie Game Trailers
- SFX-360 – Some Xbox Indie Games reviews (not many)
*These sites may help increase your games sales, so submit or promote your game there.
Okay that’s it for now. Good luck with your games!