Making an installer for an XNA GS 2.0 game

There is an ongoing thread on the XNA Creators Club forums about how to create an installer using Inno Setup, a free and very capable installer program.

The script described by Pelle in the first posts of this thread works great for XNA GSE 1.0 and Refresh, but is problematic for XNA GS 2.0 games because of the dependency on .NET 2.0 Service Pack 1. I won’t bring much new information in this post, but will try to summarize everything I read and tried it into a tested & true solution that I’m currently using for the Fez installer.

Please note that this solution does not work if your game requires use of the GamerServicesComponent of live networking using XNA, since you need the whole Game Studio for it to work. (see this post)
Also, it wasn’t made with 64-bit operating systems in mind, so if you’re going to support them you’ll have to modify it. It has been known to work on Vista though.

Continue reading Making an installer for an XNA GS 2.0 game

XNA 2.0 and Windows Forms

I’ve been trying out XNA 2.0 recently and sadly, my former method of using the internal WindowsGameForm and play with it to add all the desired controls has seemingly stopped working. :(

Fortunately, Pedro Güida on CodeProject has found a much simpler way to achieve that, and which enables the use of the Windows Forms Designer instead of adding all the controls by hand like I did. I’m currently implementing that in the Fez editor and I encourage you to do the same! It’s the cleanest method I’ve seen yet.

I’m mostly posting this because my article on Windows Forms has been the most popular on my blog since I posted it, and I wouldn’t like people to take the time to implement it and find out it just doesn’t work anymore. I’ll put a note on the original article that says “XNA 1.0 Refresh only!”, if people are still using that.

The aforementioned article also presents how to use XNA with Visual Studio 2008, WPF projects and even Silverlight, so it’s a good read in any case.

Fez is finally ready.

I’ve been working (my ass off and compromising my job and social life) on this game called Fez for a couple of months, and 5 hours from the Independent Games Festival entry submission deadline, it’s finally OVER!

Well, the demo. But it’s a full level, with dialogues, collectibles, sound, music and a pretty full demonstration of the game’s concept… which I can’t show too much of right now, especially the concept and what’s original about it, but here’s some in-game material that I can release. It’s a screenshot, taken directly from the game, no mocking-up here.

Continue reading Fez is finally ready.

XNA Service Injection Sample


ServicesDemo.rar [13 kb] – XNA GSE 1.0 Refresh Project (source only, the executable is pointless)


Finally, here it is!

In my last blog post I said I’d be doing a sample of what’s explained in it, so service dependencies and service injection in components and other services, in an XNA context. It actually worked in my own game for many weeks, but I just found the time and motivation to finish up my sample.

Details about the sample structure after the jump.

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Service Dependencies in Game Components

Update : See this post for a sample project!

Last summer I worked with Microsoft patterns & practicesGuidance Automation Toolkit, one of their software factories used for convenient Visual Studio 2005 extensibility. It imposed a strict but well-made service/component model not unlike XNA, but had some more stuff that I thought could become necessary in a big XNA game project; two of those being service dependencies and injection in components and services. So I went ahead an implemented them in an XNA context.

The principle is an extension to the current service/component model of XNA :

  • Components should be “pluggable” and react properly when removed from or appended to a project;
  • The only communication points between a component and its environment are the services it obtains from the game context.

This already works in a typical XNA project. My problem was that if a component needs a service to behave properly, it has no direct means of telling the game, so if the game can’t provide it, the component will throw a NullReferenceException when using the null service that the service collection returned.

Continue reading Service Dependencies in Game Components

A Generic Helper For XNA Services

Sick of lines like these in your Game Components? :

graphicsService = (IGraphicsDeviceService)Game.Services.GetService(typeof(IGraphicsDeviceService));

Well, me too. And since my efforts to bring it up in the XNA forums were a bit fruitless, I decided to give it a shot.

Here’s a pretty small snippet that will save you tons of typecasts and typeofs.
Just enclose with your favourite namespace declaration.

Continue reading A Generic Helper For XNA Services

XNA Effect Compiling Tool


EffectCompilingTool.rar [41.5kb] – XNA GSE 1.0 Refresh Project w/ Binaries


I love the content pipeline in XNA, but for effects, like the author of the XNA Effect Generator understood and mentioned already, it’s just not practical.

I liked the XNA Effect Generator too, but I wanted to implement my own effect framework so the generated classes were not what I was looking for either. Besides I had some problems with it (localization issues, dreaded french accents…). So I made a little tool that gets the Xbox 360 and Windows byte-code out of a shader in a convenient format and presentation.

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How To (Properly) Use Windows Forms With XNA

Only works with XNA GSE 1.0 Refresh, not 2.0!

Update : See this post for a working sample!

Here’s something I had some difficulty doing “gracefully” with XNA : force a custom render device and user controls in the window while still using the Game framework. It’s quite easy to initialize XNA in a Managed DirectX fashion but you lose the links to the graphics device manager, the content pipeline and a lot of very useful (and well written) code behind the Game class.

Continue reading How To (Properly) Use Windows Forms With XNA