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Let's write an Xbox One game


trip

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I'm going to update and format this post when I'm sitting at a better computer.

 

Back during the days of the Xbox 360 Microsoft let developers self publish games to the Xbox store. I had tons of fun writing games and testing them on my 360. I never had anything published but I didn't really try hard. When I did put serious effort into a game it made it all the way through peer review and was stopped due to concerns over IP.

 

 

When the Xbox One came out they did away with self publishing for the more restricted [email protected]

 

That has changed and now any developer can self publish. It costs about $100 a year to keep an Xbox developers account.

 

 

So with all of that...Let's Write an Xbox One Game. I'm serious. Even if it is sh*tty. I've noticed some of the 'creator' games are pretty sh*tty. I know we can match that.

 

 

 

Here is the link at Microsoft for how to set up your development environment to write Xbox One games.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/gaming/getting-started

 

Because I'm lazy and like Managed Code(I miss XNA) I plan on using MonoGame to make things fast and easy as far as development.

http://www.monogame.net/

 

 

 

So to summarize:

Install Microsoft Visual Studio

Install Windows SDK

Install DirectX

Install MonoGame

 

And let's write an Xbox One game.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Update:

So i just now looked at the Monogame template. Oh my!!!! It's XNA. I'm going to freak out because I can write with XNA in my sleep.

 

There is nothing stopping this project now.

Edited by trip
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In general, going full multi-platform is a royal pain, but there is zero reason not to cross-publish with Windows, especially with MonoGame. Getting the game onto the Steam store would cost about the same as getting it onto XBOne, and quality bar is lower, if anything.

 

Either way, I'm interested. I don't think I'd have the time to contribute to anything particularly complex, but a good, well-polished 2D platformer is entirely within reach.

 

Did you have a genre in mind?

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Ahhh. Good idea with the cross platform thought.

 

I don't really have a genre in mind. I enjoy doing parallaxing backgrounds so maybe some sort of platform jumper?

 

I have a space shooter that was for the most part finished and just needed a variety of bosses created. That might be fun to finish.

 

We could always do something silly and GTAFcentric.

 

*outside of this thread I'll be doing a slot machine using my dogs. I'll edit in a pic of the one I did for the 360. The slot machine is going to be my lab to help figure out how to navigate the new Xbox creators publishing and whatnot.

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You know what I haven't seen in a good while? A solid bullet hell platformer. Cuphead was sort of in that vein, but with very little actual platforming. And most other action platformers aren't really bullet hell. I'm thinking of something along the lines of Contra, but with modern platforming mechanics.

 

It's a simple enough concept, it can do with bare bones assets, but it can also shine if a good artist joins up. It has all the elements, I think, that both of us are looking in the project. And while I don't think it'd be a smashing hit, it's fresh enough to pick up some interest.

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but it can also shine if a good artist joins up.

That is the key. That is why every game I've done has either stalled or just sucked.

 

It can also be hard to find an artist willing to deal with the bullsh*t of it all. There are tons of people out there with graphic skills but when you ask them if they can do spritesheets usually they don't know what you are talking about and when you explain it seems like they don't want to take on the task of redrawing their same character 100 different times just to represent a particular animation.

 

 

But a quick tech update for now.

As of yesterday I have everything 100% and ready to go. Xbox in dev mode and I'm able to push the game work to the Xbox.

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Just a quick update so people don't think I'm bailing on this or anything.

 

As I mentioned I'm going to quietly do a quick slot machine game to get familiar with the new way of writing, debugging, and publishing xbox games.

 

I'm making quick headway and when I have to completed code I will share it from my website for anyone to mess around with.

 

 

And because I'm excited I just want to say I much prefer the new Dev Mode over the old XNA Creators way of debugging. I also feel way too Microsoft during this project because I'm sitting on my couch using my MS Surface Pro 4 to write games for the Xbox.

 

I'm not sharing any screenshots (of the quick slotmachine game) since I'm still in placeholder mode.

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Still all placeholder filled but most of the mechanics are worked out.

Just wanted to show a picture of Sunday morning couch coding an Xbox game.

fjx7enf.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm suffering a bit of a delay as I try to deal with the new way(s) of dealing with xbox one storage. Storage is needed to preserve gamestate. Even with my test game(pugslots) I need to make sure your money/score is saved and that you start up with the same amount of money you left off with.

 

After my demo game is done I will compile all the steps and lessons learned onto some sort of webpage at my site, as well as make the complete source code available.

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Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with storage, but from what I've heard, it's a nightmare. If you need pointers, I can probably put you in touch with the guy on our team who was responsible for it.

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I think I may be on the right track, but I will totally take you up on pointing towards someone with pointers if needed.

 

I have to use 'connected storage'. It looks like the namespace I need is part of a nuget package for one of the Xbox live packages. When I installed the package my whole solution blows up. I have this sinking feeling it may want me to be using Visual Studio 17.

 

I recently uninstalled all of my VS 17 stuff. I just cant dig out the hours(whole f*cking day) to install VS17 right now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:

Still dealing with storage woes. In my defense my regular job has been nuts and not like I've had a ton of free time where I can stomach looking at a computer.

 

I'm blaming (me using) Monogame and lack of documentation specific to Xbox one. I will solve this. Snow day off of work tomorrow. Maybe that will be the day.

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  • 3 months later...

Hello guys! 

I know some basics of photoshop and I may Help in designing icons, splash and any other little  graphical stuff... 

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Be careful what you offer.  HAHAHA

 

I am forever in need of graphics help.

 

This will pick back up after some RL work stuff settles down.  Promise...I've been thinking about it, but unfortunately I don't get to dictate when my work life goes nutty.

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  • 6 months later...

Hey...Weird update:

 

So for the hell of it I decided to sit down and revisit the "storage" issue I have with doing xbox one games.  I think I just solved it...well at least to the point where I can actually start writing some test code.

 

Right now my whole dev environment is shot as far as my SurfacePro Visual Studio and the link to my xbox,   Gonna take a minute to redo.  Grrr...

 

Wish some motivation on me. 

 

 

 

 

E:

No Freakin way!

Semi success.  I got my surface talking to my xbox and I have my little slot machine game on the tv screen again.  But the good news is my game is connected to XBL,  I needed to figure that out before I could write connected storage code.  Easy stuff from here...might even knock it out tonight.

Edited by trip
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  • 2 years later...

Update out of nowhere.

 

Microsoft does not make it easy for low level creator accounts like mine.

 

But...but...but...good news!

 

I decided to revisit my xbox development since the xbox series x/s release.

 

When I was writing my little Pugslots game I hit a wall when it came to keeping a persistent game state.  Basically, xbox changed the way you accessed storage.  It was super easy in the 360 days but they took all that away when the One came out.

 

Long story short:  I just wrote and tested all of my storage procedures and functions and they work!!!!!

 

Back to writing xbox games for me.  YAY!!!

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In one day I solved my 2 most difficult issues.  And these were show stopping issues so to say I'm excited would be an understatement.

 

To publish a game to xbox one of the (many) bitchy requirements is your game has to log in a user to XBL.  Look over the internet and you will find people crying about all the issues with interacting with XBL services.  Again - in the old days this was easy, but since the One, MS has been endlessly changing things with little to no documentation.

 

My other issue was accessing storage.  No one wants to load a game and have to start at square one.  D'ah.

 

CHECK OUT THIS SCREENSHOT running on my series X.

TtM5mow.jpg

 

that is me logged in!!!!!!!!

and all storage issues have been taken care of.

 

Even better is this is code is cross platform.  That means I can develop and debug on my PC instead of having to put my xbox in dev mode.  Dev mode can be scary..it takes forever to load into dev mode and exiting is even scarier.  I iusually have to reboot my xbox (via the front button) about 3 times before it returns to normal.  Once today it returned factory reset.  youch.

 

As always, I'm willing to share my code.

-The project is all in visual studio 2017

-Windows UWP application

-Monogames UWP template.  Because I love and need XNA libraries

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Have you considered setting up a git repository for it?

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2 hours ago, K^2 said:

Have you considered setting up a git repository for it?

Absolutely.

I'd like to do some cleanup and better documentation through comments first.

 

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Naturally, my git repository is going to have to wait.  Ha.

 

All sorts of placeholders and sh*t, but it has all the necessary states and is a full functioning slot machine as of now.  

qk78Byg.jpg

 

I'm suppose to be writing some crazy python code for a contract I'm on but I wasn't feeling well today so I just moved over my code into my new template and redid all the graphic asset placeholders.  

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Quick update:

I decided to test packaging my game for distribution.  Since the goal is to get this game to the xbox/windows store I needed to be sure I could properly package my work.  I have published to the google(android) play store in the past so I have some familiarity with signing my stuff with certificates to get onto a store. 

 

Holy sh*t!!!!   I hit a panic moment and none of my certificates were working to sign my game.  Yikes.

I moved all of my code from VS2017 o VS2019 and my problem went away.

 

YAY!!!!  Results from my validation tests.  This very well may mean I'm ready to go and all I have to do is finalize graphic assets with something less sh*tty as well as all the promotional graphics and box art.

 

T68LkTT.png

 

e:

yup. nothing can stop me now.

C9gnUES.png

Edited by trip
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Unnecessary update:

I believe I've  completed all of my store assets.  A billion different sizes of the same promo/box art graphics.  Jinxies...

 

There is one (easy) screen graphic to finish and then I'm done.

 

I very well might still be on target to release it today.

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Soooooooo close...

I'm taking extra care and time to make dynamic screens to relay proper controls.  Play on the xbox and you only get xbox controls... play on windows and get keyboard controls.  it's painful.

 

 

Soooooooo close!

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Aggravated update:

 

So...after settling on some suitable background music I was all ready to publish to the store.

 

Everything checked out.  All validations have been passed.

 

Every time I clicked the submit button it failed with only saying "try again later".  I gave it through the night and today had 5he same issue.

 

I figured it might be due to my original submission being a few years old...so I went aggressive and deleted my submission.

 

OK.  I went through the pain in the ass of creating a new submission.

 

Good news.  This time I got a verbose error stating that I needed to update my tax info.  So now I'm just waiting for MS to certify my tax info.

 

 

E:

Come on!!!

RsLsICR.jpg

Edited by trip
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Getting close...

ZWmRda9.jpg

 

Come onnnnnnnnn!

kXavayL.jpg

Edited by trip
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I'm actually on my 4th submission because I f*cked up getting it to the xbox.  D'oh.  I didn't have a 'privacy policy' URL and I had also left in some MS stock package image placeholders.   I'm pretty sure I'm good to go now. 

 

So many lessons learned.  And that is why this is my test the water (piece of sh*t) game.

 

 

 

 

 

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ok...this will be my last entry for this one.  :)

 

Releasing my first update/patch soon.

-Added XBL leaderboards  

-Fixed issue with username

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  • 4 weeks later...

Unnecessary update:

I bought a new laptop.  The only problem is MS's devkit app is broken and will not unpair my old laptop, nor pair my new one.  Sucks!  I'm not even certain a factory reset will solve the problem.

 

But all is not lost.  I have a One S (not Series S) lying around so I hooked it to the big TV and I now have a dedicated dev unit so to speak.

 

 

My test game tought me what I needed and I'm getting ready to port over (and tweak) one of my real games.

 

 

 

Why am I the only one here doing this?   It's fun and rewarding.

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11 hours ago, trip said:

Why am I the only one here doing this?   It's fun and rewarding.

a) I don't have an XBox.

b) I actually get enough of this at work at the moment.

 

But I still enjoy seeing your updates.

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16 hours ago, K^2 said:

b) I actually get enough of this at work at the moment.

Yeah.  After 25 years in IT, working for the man, I'm now an independent contractor (as I wind down to retirement) with only 1 manageable python gig that I do from home... so I have the time.

 

But come on...this is different than the daily IT or programming grind.  :)

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