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What's New in XNA Game Studio 3.1

Describes new features and changes in Microsoft XNA Game Studio.

New Framework Features

Zune Touch-Screen and Accelerometer Support

XNA Game Studio provides support for developing applications that use input gathered from the built-in touch screen and accelerometer of the Zune HD device.

Concepts

Zune HD Input Overview
Provides an overview of the touch screen and accelerometer input features for the Zune HD device.

Tasks

Platformer: Adding Touch Support
Extends the base Platformer starter kit code by adding touch screen and accelerometer support for input.

Reference

Accelerometer Class
Provides methods for interacting with the 3-axis accelerometer of a Zune device.
AccelerometerCapabilities Structure
Provides properties for accessing the capabilities of an accelerometer.
AccelerometerState Structure
Provides information on the current state of the accelerometer device and a helper function for rotational computation.
TouchCollection Structure
Provides methods and properties for accessing state information for the touch screen of a Zune device.
TouchLocation Structure
Provides methods and properties for interacting with a touch location on a touch screen device.
TouchPanel Class
Provides methods for retrieving touch panel device information.
TouchPanelCapabilities Structure
Provides access to information about the touch pad device.

Avatars

Avatars are three-dimensional animated characters. The Xbox Dashboard uses avatars to represent gamers who are signed in to the local console, and players in the gamers' friends lists and LIVE Party chats. Titles can also use avatars in games, both to represent gamers and to represent other characters in the game.

Concepts

Programming with Avatars
Discusses the support for avatars in XNA Game Studio applications targeting the Xbox 360 console.

Tasks

How To: Render and Animate an Avatar Using AvatarRenderer.
Demonstrates how to render and animate a gamer's avatar using the AvatarRenderer class and a standard animation.

Reference

AvatarAnimation
Provides methods and properties for animating an avatar using standard animations (for example, celebrate).
AvatarDescription
Provides access to the methods and properties of the description data for an avatar.
AvatarExpression
Contains the various components of the avatar's face, such as the left and right eyebrows.
AvatarRenderer
Provides properties and methods for rendering a standard avatar.
SignedInGamer.AvatarChanged
Occurs when a gamer's avatar changes.
SignedInGamer.Avatar
Description data for the avatar that represents the gamer.
AvatarAnimationPreset
Defines standard animations for avatars.
AvatarBone
Defines a list of the useful bones of the avatar model.
AvatarEyebrow
Defines the standard animation textures for an avatar's eyebrows.
AvatarEye
Defines the standard animation textures for an avatar's eyes.
AvatarMouth
Defines the standard animation textures for an avatar's mouth.

Xbox LIVE Party

Xbox LIVE Party enables gamers to communicate, even when each gamer is not playing the same game in the same multiplayer session. LIVE Party supports up to an eight-way group voice chat for gamers. It does not matter what each gamer is doing on his or her Xbox 360 at the time—playing games, watching videos, listening to music, or browsing the Marketplace. LIVE Party chat keeps gamers connected before, during, and after a gameplay session, persisting across title switches. Furthermore, LIVE Party chat provides easy and quick ways for gamers to get into multiplayer games together.

Tasks

How To: Add LIVE Party Support
Describes how to add LIVE Party support to Xbox LIVE Indie Games.

Reference

LocalNetworkGamer.SendPartyInvites
Sends game invitations to all party members that are not in the current game session.
SignedInGamer.PartySize
Gets the current party size.
LocalNetworkGamer.SendPartyInvites
Sends game invitations to all party members that are not in the current game session.
Guide.ShowPartySessions
Guide.ShowParty

Video

XNA Game Studio now supports the ability to play back video that can be used for such purposes as opening splash and logo scenes, cut scenes, or in-game video displays.

This set of XNA Framework APIs supports the following features:

  • Full screen video playback
  • Video playback to simple textures in game
  • Control of playback such as pause/resume and stop
  • Retrieve properties of the video, such as playback time, size, and frame rate
  • Determine the type and usage of the audio track, such as if it has music, dialog, or music and dialog
  • Play back multiple video streams at the same time

Tasks

How To: Play Video
Demonstrates how to use the VideoPlayer to play back videos.
How To: Play a Video in 3D space
Demonstrates how to use the VideoPlayer to playback videos on the surface of a quad.

Reference

Video
Represents a video.
VideoPlayer
Provides methods and properties to playback, pause, resume, and stop video. VideoPlayer also exposes repeat, volume, and play position information.
VideoSoundtrackType
Type of sounds in a video

Audio Enhancements

This version of XNA Game Studio has a new usage pattern of SoundEffect.Play. Sound instances created by Play calls are disposed automatically when playback ends, and SoundEffect.Play returns a Boolean to indicate success or failure.

Tasks

How To: Apply Basic 3D Positional Effects to a SoundEffect
Demonstrates how to apply 3D positioning effects to SoundEffects.
How To: Change the Pitch or Volume of a Sound
Demonstrates how to change pitch and volume of a playing sound.

Content Pipeline Enhancements

This changes the semantics of the Content Pipeline, making it much easier to add custom types.

Reference

ContentSerializerRuntimeTypeAttribute
A custom Attribute that specifies the corresponding run-time type of this object.
ContentSerializerTypeVersionAttribute
A custom Attribute that specifies the corresponding run-time type version of this object.
ContentTypeWriter.CanDeserializeIntoExistingObject
Determines if deserialization into an existing object is possible.

New Conceptual Content

Graphics

The XNA Rendering Pipeline
Provides a high-level view of the graphics rendering pipeline for XNA games.
What Is a Model Bone?
A model bone is a matrix that represents the position of a mesh relative to other bones in a 3D model.

Changes to the Development Environment and Tools

Visual Studio Changes

XNA Game Studio 3.1 supports both 3.0 and 3.1 projects, and it includes support for upgrading projects from 3.0 to 3.1.

Tasks

Upgrading XNA Game Studio Projects
Describes supported and unsupported XNA Game Studio project versions, provides guides for upgrade scenarios, and offers advice on troubleshooting upgrade issues.
Upgrade Guide: XNA Game Studio 3.0 to XNA Game Studio 3.1
Describes how to upgrade your XNA Game Studio 3.0 game to XNA Game Studio 3.1 in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008.
Troubleshooting Upgrades
Describes common issues with upgrading XNA Game Studio projects.

XACT Update

XNA Game Studio 3.1 includes support for XACT3. XACT 3 has a number of new features, including the following.

Ability to enable a filter on every track.

XACT3 now exposes a filter on every track, letting the sound designer set the filter type and parameters (filter width and the cutoff/center frequency). The filter can be set directly on a track or it can be attached to an RPC. Sound designers either can set specific filter parameters or they can specify a range. When setting a range, they can select a random value for the parameter each time the track is played.

Support for the xWMA compression format.

XACT3 now supports xWMA decoding in software on both Xbox 360 and Windows. xWMA uses the WMA bitstream format in a lightweight wrapper, and it can provide 1.5–2× the compression compared with XMA at similar quality. xWMA is very useful for types of content, such as dialog or music, for which you can afford a small CPU hit to achieve much greater compression. A quality setting similar to XMA's allows you to increase or decrease compression to adjust sound performance.

Changes to the XNA Framework API

Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Content

ContentSerializerRuntimeTypeAttribute
A custom Attribute that specifies the corresponding run-time type of this object.
ContentSerializerTypeVersionAttribute
A custom Attribute that specifies the corresponding run-time type version of this object.

Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Content.Pipeline.Serialization.Compiler

ContentTypeWriter.CanDeserializeIntoExistingObject
Determines if deserialization into an existing object is possible.

Microsoft.Xna.Framework.GamerServices

AvatarAnimation
Provides methods and properties for animating an avatar using standard animations (for example, celebrate).
AvatarDescription
Provides access to the methods and properties of the description data for an avatar.
AvatarExpression
Contains the various components of the avatar's face, such as the left and right eyebrows.
AvatarRenderer
Provides properties and methods for rendering a standard avatar.
SignedInGamer.AvatarChanged
Occurs when a gamer's avatar changes.
SignedInGamer.Avatar
Description data for the avatar that represents the gamer.
SignedInGamer.PartySize
Gets the current party size.
AvatarAnimationPreset
Defines standard animations for avatars.
AvatarBone
Defines a list of the useful bones of the avatar model.
AvatarEyebrow
Defines the standard animation textures for an avatar's eyebrows.
AvatarEye
Defines the standard animation textures for an avatar's eyes.
AvatarMouth
Defines the standard animation textures for an avatar's mouth.
Guide.ShowPartySessions
Guide.ShowParty

Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Media

Video
Represents a video.
VideoPlayer
Provides methods and properties to playback, pause, resume, and stop video. VideoPlayer also exposes repeat, volume, and play position information.
VideoSoundtrackType
Type of sounds in a video

Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Net

LocalNetworkGamer.SendPartyInvites
Sends game invitations to all party members that are not in the current game session.

Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Storage

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