riemerg

Hi all --

I've been working on a 4th Series of XNA Tutorials, which deals with advanced terrain rendering. This series is completely new; it is not a translation of one of my MDX series. The graphical part of the series has been finished, so you can already have a look at some screenshots:

XNA Tutorials Series 4: Advanced terrain

You can expect the first chapters somewhere next week. I first have to clean up some code and get the skydome exported to a .x file! If you have some experience with this, head over to this thread please.

 

ps: you can find links to 2 larger screenshots in the 3rd paragraph.




Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

omniGames

SWEET!

Thanks man!





Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

Preston Moore

Looks great, can't wait to try it out!



Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

NickMcCrea

You've been busy :)

That looks genuinely interesting...thanks for the effort.




Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

Michael Morton

Great news!

I'll be sure to check this out when i get home and give my 2 cents ;)






Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

XNA Rockstar

AMAZING! Keep cranking these out and we'll keep eating em up.

My only recommendation to this already great series is to find a way to get the info to "stick". I've heard some people mention that, after they've finished, they have a cool looking demo, but have a hard time making something on their own. Of course, going over the courses a few times to drive the points home helps out, but it would be really helpful if there were some exercises/challenges at the end of each series.

For example, at the end of series 1, maybe challenge people to link the rotation and translation to the xbox controller thumbsticks, or to create and load their own map from a bmp file of varying sizes. Some people are savvy enough to learn the code by tweaking it, but I'm sure there are plenty of new programmers out there that could use some guidence.

But don't take this as criticism. These are the best free 3D tutorials out there and you're the man for putting them together. If I find any extra cash lying around, I'll hook you up with a donation.

~XNA Rockstar





Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

NickMcCrea

I think Reimer's tutorials are probably the best around, but I know what you mean - I did find it difficult to always extract and internalise the 'principles' from the walkthroughs, but that I think is an intrinsic problem of learning something like this.

It's a problem with trying to teach this sort of complex skill that has multiple facets, and one can't be truly understood until you have a reasonable understanding of them all - if you're totally new to all this, then you've got to cope with multiple new 'domains' of knowledge all at once. I found it a little overwhelming at first to think of all the things I would have to know to be able to do anything remotely decent - a fear of the things I didn't know but might need to - garbage collection, the more advanced c# features, quaternions, all these 'intimidating' sounding concepts that really when you get right down to it, are not that bad. After the first few successes, new concepts begin to intimidate you less, and I find myself now with a far healthier attitude to learning - I sort of 'swim' in all this new information - skim all these different sources, picking up concepts and ideas, if only vaguely. Some of them stick, some don't. But I no longer worry about the things I don't know - I know I can learn them if required.

I think any attempt to write a series of tutorials will never be comprehensive enough for everyone that reads them - the only real way to learn is to engage with multiple sources of knowledge - books, these forums, tutorial sites, other people's code and the documentation all have a role to play. Sooner or later it comes together - it 'yields' slowly to time and effort.





Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

Joops

Just wanted to add my voice to the praise for Reimer's tutorials.

I understand what everyone means about the sticking part. I find that it starts to gel in mind as I start changing it. (The less my code resembles the original, the more comfortable I am with that area).

EDIT - Wow, just looked at the new tutorial.... utterly amazing, looks like I am going to have to go through the HLSL one sooner than I was planning!!!

Heres a couple of fun challenges for the terrain tutorial.

Make the transition between the colour levels smooth.
(Hint, I happened on this technique whilst reading about programatic texture generation, works just as nicely with colours)

Write an algorithm to take a height map and smooth it out.
(I have been using Height Map Editor http://hme.sourceforge.net/ and I am not very good with it, so my terrain had lots of steps in it.)

Jb






Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

riemerg

Thanks for all the positive feedback!

I think the exercises are an excellent idea. The moment a tutorials starts to read like a walkthrough, the reader should take some time to step out of the predefined path, and this kind of extra exercises would be perfectly suited for this.

From now on, I'll try to come up with some small additional challenged after each chapter. Of course, all suggestions are more than welcome ;) also for the first 3 series, of course...

Currently I have to do some coding at home for my work, but I hope I can find some time this weekend to continue cleaning up the code. Once again, my only remaining obstacle is that I have some vertices and indices that I would like to save into a .x file. If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know. Otherwise I'll have to leave the (mathematical) vertex generation in the tut code, which would be quite inappropriate.






Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

ImagineNation

Hi Reimer;

Microsofts's mesh class has a helper function that allows you to save meshes in .x format.

And you can still use this -- even in XNA.

First, add a project reference to "microsft.directx" and "microsoft.directx.direct3d"

DONT add a "using" statement add the top of your code -- if you do this, you will get naming conflicst. Instead, just fully qualify anything u want to do using d3d.

Next, create a mesh object.
Set the vertices and the indices
Then save the mesh specifying .x format

Done!

I used to do this with Managed directx ...

Just tried it with XNA and it's fine ...

Jamie





Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

riemerg

OK thanks I'll try this when I get home. However, I did manage to create a .x file, the problem is that it won't load in DX viewer, or in my XNA app. I'll let you know something this evening.






Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

Joops

Just a quick suggestion for an alternative to using .x.

Could you serialise it to your own (simple) format and then use the content pipeline to load it up.
(I have not done anything like this, so have no idea how involved it is)

You could then turn the first part into a little tutorial on the content pipeline

John B.




Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

Smurfwow

Glad to see the first two parts are up. I'm looking forward to the remainder. Keep up the good work




Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

Robin Debreuil

These have been totally valuable resources to all of us here, they are simple to follow, yet deep and consise. Really excellent job, deeply appreciated.

Thank you




Re: XNA Game Studio Express Riemers.net -- 4th Series finished: Final screenshots

Quantum Vector

Thanks Riemer

I recenty discovered your site and although i've only finished the first 2 tutorials, i cant wait to find the time for the other 2.