XNA RPG Starter Kit

   MAJOR EDIT: I decided to delete the original post, because it was getting a lot of views because XNA RPG was in the title (and its the first post to come up when you search XNA RPG), and I was heavily dissatisfied with the article. It was unclear and disorganized. I’ve re-written this post so that it now harbors my original intention in writing the article.

   I have noticed, quite recently, that a lot of novice programmers are joining XNA to use it as their starting platform for game development. This is great for the community, but like all good drugs, it has side-effects. These XNA “noobs” more than often try to find a way around learning through experience, and instead turn to other mediums in an attempt to minimilize the time it takes them to get their game off the ground. I know this is what they do because I, like all of us at some point in our lives, was a noob, and during this time, I scoured the internet in search of various tutorials and projects that I hoped would teach me faster than if I’d have taken the “hard route” and tried to come up with answers through MSDN, books, and pure experience.

   The first project I downloaded while I wanted to remake the arcade game “Snake” in VB ended up a total waste of time. Initially, I was stuck at a point in the code where the snake tails would spawn, and couldn’t get it to work, so I hope this new project would show me what I was doing wrong. It didn’t. The code was not familiar, and since I lacked experience to begin with, it was as if I was trying to read German without any prior experience in the language. XNA is a “coding language,” much like German or French: if you haven’t studied the language, don’t expect to be able to read a book written in that language. In XNA terms, this means: if you can’t tell me what a Vector2 is, then don’t expect to be able to download an XNA Starter Kit and learn from it without any experience in the basics.

   This is where the XNA RPG Starter Kit, specifically, comes into play. A while back I noticed a lot of XNA “noobs” where coming into forums, talking about how they wanted to make their dream-RPG and “hopefully” (meaning this was their intent) put it on XNA Community Games in the future. A lot of these noobs have used alternative game creating mediums (mostly easier, engine-based software like Source SDK, RMXP or GameMaker, among others) in their past, and are now deciding they should move on to bigger and more proffesional game-creating mediums. This is all well and good, up until the point where one says they should look into the XNA RPG Starter Kit, or another tutorial-type project, for advice. You do not learn anything from scanning lines of code you yourself did not write, and no one is explaining to you. It is a waste of time unless you have the necessary foundation in XNA to understand and translate what the hell is going on. You must learn through explanations, books and video tutorials, where you are FORCED to type the code yourself, and where someone explains what each line of code means.

   I recommend (as always) Nick’s Tile Tutorial Series. He provides clear insight on just what the hell is going on in the code you write, and why. While this is not the only video tutorial series on the net, it has the most relevance here and is a tried-and-tested formula for success. In simple terms, Nick’s tutorials are one of the few true XNA starter kits, and a great place for any XNA “starter” to begin their endeavors.

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~ by IG on September 17, 2008.

5 Responses to “XNA RPG Starter Kit”

  1. You have to remember different people have different motivations. Some people, like yourself, want to make an RPG engine. Some people, like those modifying the starter kit, just want to make a game. There is nothing wrong with either approach. It’s no different than the argument over whether or not to use a game engine vs. writing your game from scratch. Different strokes for different folks.

  2. Reading this now I understand what your opinion is. I am not saying that other people shouldn’t use the starter kit. However, I am saying that those who do shouldn’t act like they have a leg up over those who create their game from scratch, as well as offering advice to those that are looking towards the starter kit but still don’t understand the basics of XNA. You don’t have to agree with me, I just wanted to clarify.

  3. “However, I am saying that those who do shouldn’t act like they have a leg up over those who create their game from scratch…”

    Indeed but then the converse should also apply.

  4. And so it does; here are two different aspects of game development disguised as one, the designer and the programmer. One who uses an engine to make the game, and one who makes the engine. Neither is better.

  5. One thing you also that you failed to mention, creating an engine is only a fraction of the work needed to create the game. Lets say someone uses the XNA RPG Starter Kit as their engine, and create a FULL GAME (lets say a 10 hour game with full story and everything) with the engine.. does that mean they did not create a game?

    “The last 10% of the job requires 90% of the work” The ‘game’ i submitted to dream build play had a fully working engine but i could have easily spent 6 months creating all the content needed. I believe that if someone truly made a 10 hour RPG that was of great quality and was built on top of the starter kit ‘engine’, it would be no less of a game than the one I submitted for my DPB project.

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