Welcome to the world of XNA. As a game programmer you probably know about DirectX and maybe even the basics of the XNA Framework. This chapter explains how to install XNA Game Studio Express and how to use it in a productive way. It also contains quite a lot of tips that might even be useful for anyone who already knows the basics.
In the next few chapters you start developing some cool smaller games. Part I contains the basic foundation and information about the helper classes you will use later in this book to develop a full-blown graphics engine for more advanced game projects. To keep things simple you start with 2D programming in Part I and then advance to 3D in Part II.
Let's get started.
XNA, developed by Microsoft, was started a few years ago, but kept very secret. At the GDC (the biggest annual Game Developers Conference) in 2004, Microsoft announced XNA for the first time. XNA is not just a framework like DirectX; it also contains a lot of tools and even a custom IDE derived from Visual Studio to make the game programmer's life easier. Because no tools or bits were released until 2006, DirectX developers saw only the "XNA" logo in the upper-right corner of the DirectX SDK documentation from 2004 to 2006 (see Figure 1-1). (XNA just means "XNAs Not Acronymed.")
Figure 1.1. Figure 1-1
This means Microsoft was working on ...