Nerd Herder

Dean Johnson blogs about life on the XNA platform and tools team

Blog - About

About Nerd Herder

This blog is written by Dean Johnson who is a software development engineer at Microsoft.

These postings are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confer no rights. This is a personal blog and the posts here represent the opinion of me and not Microsoft. All rights reserved.

  • Nerd Herder

    Moving to a new blog

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    I recently created a new personal blog. I will no longer be updating this blog. Please come join me over at my new blog at http://www.deadlygenius.com .
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    Calling Guide.IsTrialMode on Windows Phone 7

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    As you may have heard calling Guide.IsTrialMode can take around 60 milliseconds to return and thus should not be called each frame in your game. Unfortunately this performance penalty only occurs when your game is downloaded from the WP7 marketplace and...
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    Simple Sound Effect Cue Class

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    In my last post I talked about varying the sounds played for events in your game. I also said I would write about a simple sound effect cue system that would work on Windows Phone 7 and all of the other platforms XNA Game Studio 4.0 supports. Below is...
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    Sound Cue Variations

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    Last week I was reading my friend Shawn’s blog post “ Random shuffle ” and it reminded me of a system I worked on that controlled the playback of sound effects. When you play sound effects in a game you will often want to have a number...
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    XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming: Developing for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360

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    I have been a avid reader of technical books, mostly around computer programming since I was very young. Growing up I read many more technical books than I ever did fiction novels. It has also been a goal to someday write a technical book of my own. During...
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    Avatar API changes in XNA Game Studio 4.0

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    When we started to build XNA Game Studio 4.0 we made the decision to break the Microsoft.Xna.Framework.dll assembly into multiple assemblies to better support different functionality multiple platforms. Avatar functionality was pulled out into its own...
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    Custom Avatar Animations PLUS 21 New Animations

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    We have just posted three new avatar items to the XNA Creators Club Online site. Custom Avatar Animation Sample This sample shows users how to import and play custom avatar animations though the content pipeline. http://creators.xna.com/en-US/sample/customavataranimation...
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    Simple example on how to load a signed in gamers avatar

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    Now that XNA Game Studio 3.1 has been released I have had time to notice the types of questions people are asking on the forums about avatars. One question that has come up a few times is how to load a signed in gamers avatar. There are a couple of pitfalls...
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    AvatarDescription.Description

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    In a couple of previous posts here and here I talked about the AvatarDescription.Description property that returns a byte[]. The AvatarDescription.Description property is provided to allow developers to recreate a previously created AvatarDescription...
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    AvatarDescription.IsValid… When & Why the description returned is invalid?

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    In previous posts I talked about how the AvatarDescription contains data to define what an avatar should look like so that the AvatarRenderer knows what assets to load in order to render the avatar. The AvatarDescription type contains a property called...
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    Lights, Camera… Avatar!

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    Sometimes you may not want your avatar flawlessly lit from above. What if your game takes place at night? What if the sun in your game is green? What if you need the light to move? The Avatar APIs expose an ambient light and one directional light. The...
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    Avatar animation updates

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    Playback of one of the 31 built in animations is simple with the AvatarAnimation class. As I discussed in a previous post the BoneTransforms and Expression properties on the AvatarAnimation can be used with the AvatarRenderer.Draw method to animate an...
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    A few design changes

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    I made a few layout changes to the blog today to allow for more room for the text on the site and more specifically the code samples. If the code blocks or images are too wide please comment and let me know. I went back and updated a couple of my last...
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    What to do while an avatar loads?

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    When you create a new AvatarRenderer object load all of the models and textures associated with the AvatarDescription have to be loaded. The time it takes to load goes up if you are creating a number of AvatarRenderer objects at the same time. So what...
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    Avatar API preview for XNA Game Studio 3.1

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    Since the announcement of the 3.1 features a number of people have had questions about the new Avatar API’s. I wanted to take a few minutes to preview some of Avatar API’s to help developers better understand what to expect in the 3.1 release...
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    How to set the effect (.fx) used on Model

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    When you use the model processor build into the XNA Framework Content Pipeline you will notice that each ModelMeshPart on a Model has an Effect already loaded. By default this is an instance of BasicEffect with the models textures and other material properties...
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    Community Games and the new Creators Club Online Website

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    It has been over a year since my last blog post. As one colleague put it I was starting to get “Blogger Guilt”. The last post was all about the new Creators Club Online website. Well it turns out this post is about the same topic but much...
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    XNA Creators Club Online

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    The new XNA Creators Club Online site went live today. You can view the site by visiting http://creators.xna.com .
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    You Spin Me Round

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    Often when working with 3D objects like characters and space ships you will need to point one object at the other. In this post we will cover two ways you can point objects at each other. The first way creates a matrix to turn your object towards the...
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