I have had the pleasure of reviewing a new book called 3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0 by Sean James. This book looks very promising so far and I’ll continue to report what I learn about it.

Since many of the folks I work with at Microsoft are in the academic faculty world, I feel like this book might really appeal to them as well as intermediate game developers. Many people I talk to also mention that they feel XNA is a bit lightweight when compared to DirectX and/or OpenGL. This is not entirely true, although since XNA is managed code, you need to have a deep understanding of how it works to reap the maximum benefits graphically.

This book is aimed at people wanting to get professional quality graphics out of XNA, and this is a hole that needs to be filled in many aspects of learning whether at the individual level or the academic level.

Here is some more about the book from the web site:

Overview:

  • Improve the appearance of your games by implementing the same techniques used by professionals in the game industry
  • Learn the fundamentals of 3D graphics, including common 3D math and the graphics pipeline
  • Create an extensible system to draw 3D models and other effects, and learn the skills to create your own effects and animate them

XNA is a very powerful API using which it's easy to make great games, especially when you have dazzling 3D effects. This book will put you on course to implement the same 3D graphics used in professional games to make your games shine, and get those gamers addicted! If you think 3D graphics is something that limits your games, then this book is for you.

3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0 is a step by step companion to implement the effects used in professional 3D games in your XNA games. By the time you're done with this book your games would have eye-catching visuals and 3D effects.

The one thing that can make or break a game is its appearance; players will mostly be attracted to a game if it looks good. With this book you will create your 3D objects and models and make them look more interesting by using shadowing and lighting techniques, and make them move in nasty ways using animation. Want to create realistic terrians for your games? Need some place for your 3D models to engage in battle? This book will enable you to do all that and more, by walking you through the implementation of numerous effects and graphics techniques used in professional games so that you can make them look great.

What you will learn from this book :

  • Understand the fundamentals of 3D graphics and math.
  • Create a flexible framework for building games
  • Learn how to implement some of the most common and uncommon graphics techniques such as lighting and animation, using the XNA Framework.
  • Work with HLSL and shaders.
  • Create an architecture rendering and creating special effects.
  • Improve your games with optimization techniques.

Approach

This book is designed as a step-by-step tutorial that can be read through from beginning to end, with each chapter building on the last. Each section, however, can also be used as a reference for implementing various camera models, special effects, etc. The chapters are filled with illustrations, screenshots, and example code, and each chapter is based around the creation of one or more example projects. By the end of the first chapter you will have created the framework that is used and improved upon for the rest of the book, and by the end of the book you will have implemented dozens of special effects, camera types, lighting models and more using that framework.

Who this book is written for

This book is mainly written for those who are familiar with object oriented programming and C# and who are interested in taking 3D graphics of their XNA games to the next level. This book will be useful as learning material for those who are new to graphics and for those who are looking to expand their toolset. Also, it can be used by game developers looking for an implementation guide or reference for effects or techniques they are already familiar with.

Feel free to leave some comments if you’ve already checked out this book. I’ll be reading it a bit and posting whatever new cool things I learn to share with you all!