The purpose of the XDSK2 (XNA Developer’s Survival Kit) is to offer XNA game developers a list of resources for XNA 4.0 to assist them with creating better games and custom engines. This list is for developers already familiar with Object-Oriented programming and game development. It is not a list for beginners, but it may help them get started with some programming experience.
The XDSK2 provides a list of XNA 4.0 libraries, engines, techniques, articles, and more. Since MonoGame keeps XNA alive, this list is still helpful to some.
Update Nov. 2021:
Many of the links are broken – Codeplex is dead.
Update Aug 2020:
Removed broken links, Updated old links with new GitHub links.
Rendering, Graphics and Game Engines
- Digital Rune Engine – Great Game Engine (physics, animation, math, multi-threading and more)
- Xen Graphics API for XNA – rendering tools and much more
- Ploobs Engine –many shader effects, deferred rendering, lighting, soft shadows, etc.
- XNA Final Engine – rendering, post screen effects, and more
- Engine Nine – includes, animation, post fx, AI, custom materials, scene management and more
- Indiefreaks Game Framework – Incredible Addition for SunBurn Engine Users
- Jemgine – An extendable 2d Game Engine with a level editor
- Deferred Rendering – Roy Triesscheijn updated Catalin Zima’s Tutorial to XNA 4.0
- Jcoluna XNA Samples – If you’re trying to make your own engine, start here.
- Tomato Renderer – Open Source Engine with light pre-pass, SSAO, and more.
- Synapse Gaming SunBurn Engine 2.0 – Great Engine. Open source???
- Digital Rune Animation – Support 2D and 3D animation, Great skinned animation pipeline
- SGMotion Animation Library – XNAnimation Library integrated with SunBurn
- XNAnimation Library – Too many features to list.
- XNA Animation Component Library – one of the first animation engines, still awesome
- Engine Nine – has an easy to use animation system, for skinned and non-skinned models.
- DigitalRune Physics – A module from DigitalRune Engine – many features, (fast & Xbox, $300)
- Bepu Physics – Nice Physics engine with many features, (fast, FREE)
- Jitter Physics – Physics Engine by the author of JigLibX (fast, FREE)
- Matali Physics -fast with plenty of potential (fast on PC, average on Xbox 360, $130 – $260)
- Henge 3D Physics – Lot of Features and multi-threaded (okay on PC, slow on Xbox 360, FREE)
- JigLibX – old physics engine (not multi-threaded) (slow, FREE – use Jitter instead… )
- Farseer Physics Engine – a 2D Physics Engine
- Box2D.XNA – C#/XNA port of Box2D
- EasyXnaAudio – easy interface to load, play, and manage songs and sounds
- XNA Final Engine – Audio engine included in the framework
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Engine Nine – has a Path Finding and steering behaviors included
- SharpSteer – I found a million and 1 uses for this…
- State machine-based behavior models – Good Article, sample old..
- Steering Behaviors, Obstacle Avoidance – good Example (in Spanish)
- DPSF (Dynamic Particle System Framework) – tested and approved
- Mercury Particle Engine – great engine, has lots of potential
- Nuclex Framework– multi-threaded particle system
- DigitalRune Particles – Very Nice.…
Graphical User Interfaces(GUI) Level Editor Tools
- DigitalRune Game UI – Basically Neoforce Controls on steroids, part of the Digital Rune Engine
- Neoforce Controls – my Second Favorite tool for Interfaces (now open source)
- Nuclex Framework– skinnable interface included
- 3D XNA Gizmo– you may need this for level editing…
- XNA and Windows Forms – this article explains the best
- Xna Screen Manager – clean, simple and easy to use
- Nuclex Framework – game manager included (nicely done)
- GameStateManager from Creator’s Club – great starter to build your own
- ParallelTasks Threading Library– makes it easy to multi-thread your game
- Designing the Framework of a Parallel Game Engine – just read it
- DigitalRune Engine – Threading Library Included in Engine (RECOMMENDED)
Useful Extras and Services
- DigitalRune Math and Geometry Libraries– This comes with the DigitalRune Engine
- NShader 1.1 – Syntax Highlighting for your HLSL files
- Mixamo – need Animation for your Characters?
- CMU Mocap Database – need the largest collection of free Mocap available?
- HyperDuck Music Studios – need custom music for your game?
- Font Squirrel – need Free Commercial-Use Fonts for your game?
Articles Blogs and Tutorials
- TileMap and Camera System Tutorial – good article
- Dot Net Perls – Best resource for looking for c# snippets and samples
- Eliminate Garbage with CLR Profiler – optimize your game…
- XNA Questions – You may find your answer here
- General Game Networking – learn more building online multiplayer games
- Game User Interfaces – What players want
XNA 4.0 Books
- XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginner’s Guide
- 3D Graphics with XNA Game Studio 4.0
- XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming: Developing for Windows Phone and Xbox Live
- Learning XNA 4.0
- The Complete XNA Game Studio 4.0: An Exploration into the XNA Framework Library
Are you converting and XNA 3.0 projects to XNA 4.0?
- XNA 3.1 to XNA 4.0 Cheat Sheet – Loaded with examples of how to convert projects
Sites that promote and review Indie Games
- Indie Gamer Chick – Brutally Honest Indie Game Reviews.
- Indie Nerds – Games worth playing
- GameMarx – A site dedicated to Xbox Indie Games (news, reviews, podcasts and more)
- Writings of Mass Deduction – Everyday A New Game Review (seeking the best games)
- 8 Bit Horse – Where 2D Lives
- Kotaku XboxIndies – Lots of review and Indie game trailers
- GameTrailers Xbox Indie Games – Lots of Xbox Indie Game Trailers