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Book Review: Windows Phone 7 Game Development

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Joined Aug 10, 2011
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0 comments   /   posted on Aug 18, 2011
Tags:   windows-phone-7 , gaming
Categories:   Gaming , Windows Phone

This review is for the book 'Windows Phone 7 Game Development', and has been submitted by a member of the Windows Phone 7 User Group - a user group supported by SilverlightShow.
support user groups with books, swag, events promotion, free event passes and others. Contact us to get support for your user group

Gaming has exploded in popularity in recent years, more so on mobile devices. With these devices getting more powerful and more accessible, a wealth of possibilities is now open for developers.

There is no denying that game development is still a difficult task, but there are a wealth of resources, including this Windows Phone 7 Game Development book, to help you get well on your way to defeating goblins, winning a drag race or concurring a new world.


The Book


Windows Phone 7 Game development is, overall, a really great book and resource. Developers with a background in .NET/C# development will gain the most from this book, and even seasoned game developers who are new to the windows phone 7 platform will pick up a thing or two. However, this book is not aimed at developers who are new to programming or have little to no experience with .NET/C#.




The general order of the book is great and flows nicely. Proceedings start with an introduction the Windows Phone 7 landscape with getting started tutorials centred on XNA. These lessons focus on 2D gaming and demonstrate how to draw sprites and text to the phone screen.

After this, the author moves on to creating a reusable game framework. To me, this is quite a risky thing to be talking about from Chapter 2 but I feel it works really well.

Right now, there are no adopted patterns / frameworks for XNA, so getting developers to think about this early on is great. This framework is then used to build a small space ship game and is developed in subsequent chapters.

The next few chapters are then used to introduce some more key concepts and then implement them into a working game that was started in the previous chapter. User Input discusses how the user can interact with a game – Keyboard, Touch etc. and Sounding Out with Game Audio discusses how to add sound effects and music to the game.

By this point, the reader is now in a great place to understand 2D games in XNA, but this is only part of the story. The next few chapters after this are where the real take-away content begins – a world of 3D!

What I really like here is that the author has brought it back and explains the core mathematics needed to create 3D worlds. these are then implemented within the context of XNA. This really adds value as understanding vertices, matrices, rendering, depth buffers etc. are essential and the knowledge gained here can be applied to other frameworks and platforms too.

The sample games are also really great, and include flying a paper aeroplane around a 3D skybox. Very cool!

After this, there is some more value-added knowledge to be gained from the “enhancing your game” and “application life cycle” chapters. Here, features such as a settings class and a high score table are added to the game framework and other content covers phone specific events and persisting game data.




This is a relatively short chapter that introduces Silverlight as a game platform.

The section starts with an introduction to Silverlight and takes a walkthrough the tooling and languages before delving into the controls that come out of the box with the framework.

Once this has been explained, the game specific Silverlight content begins with a look at sprites, animations & storyboards, events, input and a discussion on performance.

The final Silverlight specific chapter demonstrates Navigation, Game State, adding Music & Sound effects and using the XNA audio library within a Silverlight project.

In my opinion, this content is great at what it explains, but in comparison to how in depth the XNA content goes, it feels a little out of place. If you are looking at using Silverlight to create a game, you might be better placed finding another book.




The final part of the book is framework agnostic and covers how to distribute your game. This covers testing, trial mode, promotional upgrades and phone specific features such as theming.

Finally, there is content on the submission requirements and a walkthrough on how to prepare your game for submission to the marketplace.

The book ends with some notes on how to port your code to other platforms, and this includes making your XNA game run on Windows and your Silverlight application run in the browser.




Overall, this book is fantastic if you are a developer who has some C#/.NET experience and you are looking to create games on Windows Phone 7. If you are looking to create games in Silverlight or have little to no experience with programming, you will be better placed seeking a different book to get started.



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