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Integrating with XNA

From: Silverlight 5 Essential Training

Video: Integrating with XNA

The Silverlight world has been begging for 3D support since the first Silverlight version appeared. Now that Silverlight 5 is available, we can finally create our 3D masterpieces. Microsoft has several 3D frameworks which are currently usable for active development. DirectX is a huge framework, packed with graphic tools for the Windows operating system. It is a C and C++ API for very low- level graphics programming, and it is a powerhouse tool for creating graphics applications and games. Direct3D is the 3D portion of the DirectX family.

Integrating with XNA

The Silverlight world has been begging for 3D support since the first Silverlight version appeared. Now that Silverlight 5 is available, we can finally create our 3D masterpieces. Microsoft has several 3D frameworks which are currently usable for active development. DirectX is a huge framework, packed with graphic tools for the Windows operating system. It is a C and C++ API for very low- level graphics programming, and it is a powerhouse tool for creating graphics applications and games. Direct3D is the 3D portion of the DirectX family.

XNA is a relative newcomer to the 3D scene. It is a managed-code version of DirectX. The WPF team decided to create their own wrapper for Direct3D. When it was the Silverlight's team turn, they decided to integrate XNA instead of creating their own. Silverlight uses a subset of the XNA game studio libraries. If you are an experienced XNA developer, you should have no problem adapting to the Silverlight version. If you're just getting started with 3D development, you'll have some brain-twisting discoveries in your future. There are a few steps to getting your Silverlight project ready for XNA.

Because XNA injects code into the GPU, there is a security concern. Silverlight 5 addresses the security issue by requiring either elevated trust or end user confirmation. Another requirement is that your Silverlight app must have the EnableGPUAcceleration set to True. The XNA libraries are split across the Silverlight runtime, the Silverlight SDK, and the Silverlight toolkit. The teams put the assemblies this way to minimize the runtime footprint of applications which do not use 3D. The Silverlight toolkit is where you'll find the Visual Studio project templates.

Speaking of templates, let's go create a Silverlight 3D application. To do that, I'll open up Visual Studio. I already have the Silverlight toolkit installed on my computer, so I can go to File > New > Project and then select Silverlight and then Silverlight 3D Application. I'll go ahead and accept the default names and click OK. The template included in Silverlight toolkit contains four projects. They're listed over here in the Solution Explorer. This first project is my Silverlight 3D Application.

The second project is a Content project that contains things like sound effects and textures for my application. And of course these other two are web-related applications. Let's look at my Silverlight3dApp. I go to Properties. For my demonstration, I'm going to enable running the application out of the browser. Then I'm going to go to Out-of-Browser Settings and choose Use GPU Acceleration. I'll also check this box, Require elevated trust when running outside the browser. As to the rest of my application, you can see that it is a regular Silverlight app by looking at MainPage.xaml.

If I open up MainPage.xaml, you'll see that I have the normal Silverlight designer, the normal XAML editor, and that it derives from the UserControl base class. Where it gets different is that I have this element called the DrawingSurface element, which is where the XNA will draw the 3D objects. Let's talk about that. Silverlight is the host for the XNA rendering. The DrawingSurface element is the target for that rendering. You can place that DrawingSurface element anywhere in your XAML tree.

Silverlight then treats it like any other element in the visual tree. It responds to layout requests, it can be sized, and you can layer it over other parts of your user interface. A realistic 3D application consists of a number of interwoven parts. Here is a partial list of what you must master to be a competent 3D programmer. I have details on later slides. The scene becomes the stage on which your output is rendered. Here you can define a background color, zero or more models, the scene is where you find the camera, and there's also a reference in the scene to the ContentManager class.

The ContentManager class retrieves resources that are stored inside my content project. The scene class has a Draw event to render the scene. To ask for a redraw, set e.InvalidateSurface to True. In my project, I have a Scene.cs file. This is where you'll find the Scene class. If you look inside the Creation section, you'll see a constructor that gets a reference to the drawingSurface, references some SizeChanged events, gets a reference to that ContentManager I mentioned a few minutes ago, and here's the important part for today: it creates an instance of my Cube class.

The Cube is where you'll find my model information. Then we'll go look at MainPage.xaml. Remember this drawing surface? How do I get the scene into the drawing surface? That's done in the code behind. In the UserControl_Loaded event, we're doing some graphics checking to see if we're in the correct hardware mode. And then if we are, it's instantiating an instance of our scene. Then every time there's a request for a redraw, this code runs. Inside here we call the Draw method on our scene, and then we ask for an InvalidateSurface, which gives us another turn.

You have to have a camera to see the scene. The Camera class provides that view. The scene can also contain more than one camera. Models are the cornerstone of 3D applications. You can set up a scene, add lights and cameras, but if you don't have a model, there is nothing to look at. Models are complex entities built out of these pieces. There's the idea of vertices, which represents three values stored in a unit. These usually represent the X, Y, and Z coordinates of a point in space. When you have the 3D points defined, you can create a triangle out of those vertices.

Then the model is constructed from many triangles. As you can see on this slide, there are other details. There's something called a model winding. There are these things called primitives. For instance, I could use the line primitive to draw a line in a 3D scene. It's time to look at our model. Our model lives over here in this Cube class. Let's look at this Creation section. Here is my constructor. If you look through the code in this section, you'll see a lot of code that's creating the vertices, the triangles, setting up color normals, and many other settings.

Imagine in real-world complex geometry, you would have thousands of lines of code. Finally, I want to look at effects. You apply effects to a model to make it look more realistic. There are two kinds of effects: vertex shader effects and pixel shader effects. I think we should look at our model running in the application. I'll switch back to Visual Studio, press F5 to run my application. That is my 3D model, and as you can see, it's being animated on the scene.

If you don't see this, you might need to change some things. To do that, I'll go to the Silverlight application and then click on Permissions. You look for your application in this list. It will probably say Deny here in the Permissions column. Then you click on the Allow button and then OK. For my last demonstration, we'll look at a sample from the Silverlight toolkit. This is a sample application from the Silverlight toolkit called Skinning. It uses a model file instead of a model class to define the 3D model. That's listed here, dude.fbx.

Press F5 to run the application. There is a more complex animated model. This also demonstrates something called skinning, which is taking textures from the ContentManager and applying them to the model. Learning 3D is a big challenge, but the payoff is invaluable when you have an application that needs 3D support.

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This video is part of

Image for Silverlight 5 Essential Training
Silverlight 5 Essential Training

106 video lessons · 5451 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      53s
    2. Using the exercise files
      48s
  2. 35m 0s
    1. Overview of Silverlight
      3m 29s
    2. Setting up a developer computer
      2m 46s
    3. Installing the Silverlight Toolkit
      2m 21s
    4. Exploring the toolkit samples
      2m 35s
    5. Using Visual Studio 2010 to create a Silverlight project
      5m 10s
    6. Using Expression Blend to create a Silverlight project
      3m 13s
    7. Getting to know the Visual Studio interface
      8m 15s
    8. Working in the Expression Blend interface
      7m 11s
  3. 29m 46s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio project structure
      3m 38s
    2. Creating a Silverlight page
      3m 17s
    3. Compiling your first application
      5m 0s
    4. Using other assemblies in an application
      5m 45s
    5. Deploying a Silverlight application
      3m 43s
    6. Understanding the startup process for an application
      3m 13s
    7. Understanding how users get Silverlight on their computers
      5m 10s
  4. 16m 59s
    1. Exploring the relationship between XAML and .NET
      3m 57s
    2. Using C#
      7m 16s
    3. Exploring the code-behind file
      5m 46s
  5. 43m 22s
    1. Working with XAML elements and Property attributes
      4m 56s
    2. Investigating XAML namespaces
      7m 31s
    3. Converting XAML properties with TypeConverters
      5m 1s
    4. Working with Property elements
      4m 24s
    5. Assigning runtime data with XAML markup extensions
      4m 21s
    6. Digging into the dependency property system
      6m 12s
    7. Creating a custom dependency property
      4m 42s
    8. Understanding attached properties
      6m 15s
  6. 9m 35s
    1. Debugging your code
      5m 17s
    2. Special Silverlight debugging techniques
      4m 18s
  7. 36m 0s
    1. Understanding layout
      4m 55s
    2. Using DockPanel and WrapPanel
      4m 2s
    3. Exploring sophisticated layouts with the Grid
      6m 40s
    4. Absolute positioning with the Canvas panel
      5m 20s
    5. Scrolling content with the ScrollViewer
      3m 28s
    6. Adjusting content alignment, margins, and sizing
      5m 6s
    7. Using the TabControl
      2m 17s
    8. Manipulating elements with transforms
      4m 12s
  8. 20m 32s
    1. Painting the user interface (UI) with SolidColorBrush
      6m 7s
    2. Getting colorful with gradient brushes
      3m 15s
    3. Decorating elements with ImageBrush
      4m 56s
    4. Creating effects with VideoBrush
      6m 14s
  9. 25m 42s
    1. Understanding routed events
      3m 12s
    2. Wiring up event handlers in Silverlight
      6m 4s
    3. Understanding event bubbling
      4m 39s
    4. Exploring mouse events
      7m 43s
    5. Exploring keyboard events
      4m 4s
  10. 32m 31s
    1. Displaying text on the screen
      3m 24s
    2. Gathering text input from the user
      5m 30s
    3. Showing complex text with RichTextBox
      6m 7s
    4. Understanding text overflow and text linking
      3m 14s
    5. Searching content with the AutoComplete type-ahead control
      6m 45s
    6. Using and embedding Silverlight fonts
      7m 31s
  11. 26m 47s
    1. Understanding content controls
      5m 7s
    2. Understanding button controls
      6m 16s
    3. Using the BusyIndicator
      4m 40s
    4. Showing tooltips
      4m 34s
    5. Changing content size with ViewBox
      1m 39s
    6. Exploring more controls
      4m 31s
  12. 55m 36s
    1. Connecting elements with binding
      9m 54s
    2. Using business data in a binding
      9m 21s
    3. Listing data with ItemsControls
      6m 39s
    4. Digging into the DataGrid
      8m 28s
    5. Using the DataForm
      3m 49s
    6. Storing data on the client
      7m 10s
    7. Debugging XAML bindings
      5m 41s
    8. Charting data
      4m 34s
  13. 24m 36s
    1. Creating an Out-of-Browser (OOB) application
      6m 16s
    2. Controlling aspects of an OOB application
      2m 49s
    3. Alerting the user with notification windows
      7m 13s
    4. Hosting HTML content in Silverlight applications
      8m 18s
  14. 30m 2s
    1. Exploring Silverlight trust levels
      3m 51s
    2. Creating an elevated trust application
      5m 57s
    3. Reaping the benefits of XAP signing
      6m 5s
    4. Making cross-domain calls
      5m 1s
    5. Getting started with COM Interop using the Speech API
      4m 21s
    6. Using COM Interop to interact with Microsoft Office
      4m 47s
  15. 16m 33s
    1. Showing child windows
      3m 48s
    2. Using a child window as a dialog window
      5m 7s
    3. Creating native windows
      2m 53s
    4. Maximizing a window with full screen mode
      4m 45s
  16. 13m 20s
    1. Dynamically loading UI content with user controls
      4m 46s
    2. Using the Navigation Framework
      8m 34s
  17. 9m 28s
    1. Using resource files
      3m 53s
    2. Using images in an application
      5m 35s
  18. 16m 32s
    1. Playing audio
      4m 27s
    2. Playing sound effects
      5m 4s
    3. Viewing video content with MediaElement
      4m 58s
    4. Changing video playback speed with TrickPlay
      2m 3s
  19. 14m 40s
    1. Capturing video with a web camera
      4m 16s
    2. Working with a microphone
      3m 47s
    3. Creating print output
      6m 37s
  20. 22m 35s
    1. Understanding Silverlight animations
      4m 35s
    2. Creating animations
      7m 52s
    3. Controlling animations
      4m 18s
    4. Simulating physics with animation easings
      5m 50s
  21. 27m 47s
    1. Placing XAML resources within a FrameworkElement
      6m 47s
    2. Centralizing settings in styles
      4m 8s
    3. Creating an alternate control UI with ControlTemplates
      6m 29s
    4. Dressing up your data with DataTemplates
      4m 33s
    5. Explaining the VisualStateManager: a simple way to manage control states
      5m 50s
  22. 10m 55s
    1. Handling global errors in a Silverlight application
      5m 46s
    2. Showing an application loading screen
      5m 9s
  23. 10m 48s
    1. Integrating with XNA
      7m 40s
    2. Exploring data analysis with PivotViewer
      3m 8s
  24. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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