Part I, “XNA Framework Basics,” covers the basics of XNA. You will learn all about the XNA Framework and XNA Game Studio Express. Even if you already know some of the basics there are many useful tips and tricks in the first chapter. The second chapter already explains the creation process of your first game; it is a simple one, but the lessons learned here will help you out later. In Chapters 3 and 4 two more games are created, but more importantly the foundation for your game engine is built.
Thanks to the many helper classes of Part I, writing the game engine in Part II, “Basic Graphics Engine,” is much easier and can focus on the hard parts of getting 3D models and shaders to work. Because everything in XNA is based on shaders because there is no more fixed function rendering, most of the time is spent talking about shaders, normal mapping, post-screen effects, and more. At the end of Part II the Rocket Commander XNA game is shown as a great example of a game combining all the shaders and the game engine from the previous chapters.
Part III, “Improving Your Game Engine,” goes back to the basics and talks about audio, UI, input handling, and managing your game engine in a meaningful way. Based on the XNA Graphics Engine and the Rocket Commander game you also create a new game called XNA Shooter, which is a really fun old-school shoot-’em-up game with cool 3D graphics and advanced shader effects.
In Part IV, “Writing a Racing Game,” you pull in all the knowledge you’ve gained to create full-blown racing game in XNA. This part features the most advanced topics like landscape and 3D track rendering, creating and handling physics engines, and many new shader technologies like shadow mapping, detail mapping, and rendering in an optimized way for optimal performance.
If you are ready to begin learning XNA game development, I suggest reading on and start with Chapter 1, “Introducing XNA.” Good luck creating your first XNA games and, above all, have fun! I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.