Intro to C# Game Development

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.NET is a cross-platform and open-sourced developer platform for building different types of applications. The tech-giant Microsoft developed it. It’s also designed for new developers trying to learn how to use .NET by making games. Here we will discuss why and what are the benefits of using .NET in game development. We will also talk about the different game engines in .NET and its tools, which make .NET a perfect choice for developing games. .NET is also part of Microsoft Game Stack, a comprehensive suite of tools and services just for game development.

Why use .NET in game development?

The major plus for .NET is that it is a cross-platform, a single code base can be used on different operating systems, be it Windows, MAC, or Linux. So developing a game in .NET means it is compatible with all these platforms.

.NET works seamlessly with game engines like Monogame and Unity, and many more. You can create incredible 2D and 3D games using these. Game engines and framework developers are using .NET to ensure secure cross-platform scripting for multiple gaming platforms. Another significant advantage is developing your game and its mobile application, website, and other online services using the same platform. So why not use .NET in game development.

What is a Game Engine?

Not so long ago, developers used to make their games from scratch, but now they have made a lot of reusable code in their games and have made APIs and tools they can reuse for each game. So whenever a developer is developing a new game, they can make use of all these.

A game engine is a software development environment designed to build video games. They contain abstraction of graphics, input, and media API. And also, asset managers and design tools for audio and visuals.

With the increasing popularity of C#, more engines are now being used .NET. The mono runtime compatible with .NET 5 can run C# code on many platforms like Android, iOS, Mac, etc. It is one of the main reasons for using .NET in game development.

Available game engines

The first step to developing games in .NET is to choose a game engine. You can think of engines as the frameworks and tools you use for developing your game. There are many game engines that use .NET and they differ widely.

Stride

It was developed by Silicon Studios, an utterly integrated engine with a graphic editor. It is a complete C# and .NET engine which is open-source and royalty-free. Another advantage is you can use parts of these engines independently

Mono Game

Mono Game is a very flexible engine; other game engines even use this as their base. FlatRedBall is an example of this. It can be used as a framework to build other game engines. Many game developers use it for their cross-platform game development.

Wave Engine

Another game engine that is fully developed in .NET is WaveEngine. It has a lot of reality features like spatial audio and ready to use out of the box. It has many of its components open-sourced and free.

NeoAxis

NeoAxis is yet another game engine written purely in .NET. It is also free and open-sourced. It supports a whole lot of features like the latest Android release

Online services for your game

If you’re building your game with .NET, then you have many choices on how to build your online game services. You can use ready-to-use services like Microsoft Azure PlayFab. You can also build from scratch on Microsoft Azure. .NET also runs on multiple operating systems, clouds, and services, it doesn’t limit you to use Microsoft’s platforms.

The ecosystem

The .NET game development ecosystem is rich. Some of the .NET game engines depend on foundational work done by the open-source community to create managed graphics APIs like SharpDX, SharpVulkan, Vulkan.NET, and Veldrid. Xamarin also enables using platform native features on iOS and Android. Beyond the .NET community, each game engine also has their own community and user groups you can join and interact with. .NET is an open-source platform with over 60,000+ contributors. It’s free and a solid stable base for all your current and future game development needs.

Rich set of .NET tools

.NET is vibrant in terms of game development tools. As it is an open-source platform with a rich community of developers and users. Most of the .NET engines also depend on the base of other open-source work. In addition to the community of .NET developers, each of these game engines also has a different user base. They need different kinds of tools according to their needs and .Net has a variety of tools to help them. .NET tools you are used to are also used for making games. Visual Studio is a great IDE that works with all .NET game engines on Windows and macOS. It provides word-class debugging, AI-assisted code completion, code refactoring, and cleanup. It works seamlessly with all of the game engines. In addition, it provides real-time collaboration and productivity tools for remote work. Another feature is assisted in code completion and cleanup. Also, it includes code refactoring. This perfect environment is the reason for the growing demand for .NET in game development. GitHub also provides all your DevOps needs. Host and review code, manage projects, and build software alongside 50 million developers with GitHub.

Conclusion

Indeed, the future of .NET in game development is bright. Game Engines use the latest versions of .NET, and it even gets upgraded as the new version releases. With strong game engines, a rich set of tools, and C# .NET’s growing popularity is gamers’ favorite. That’s why it has become one of the best choices for game developers.

How to Initialize Flags Enumerations in C#

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I have a friend who is just starting to learn C#, so I am getting some interesting questions whose answers seem obvious to me but apparently not to beginners.  Today I answer the question: What’s the best way to initialize Flags enumerations in C#?

As a quick review, here is how Microsoft describes the Flags enumeration:  “You can use an enumeration type to define bit flags, which enables an instance of the enumeration type to store any combination of the values that are defined in the enumerator list.  (Of course, some combinations may not be meaningful or allowed in your program code.)  You create a bit flags enum by applying the System.FlagsAttribute attribute and defining the values appropriately so that AND, OR, NOT and XOR bitwise operations can be performed on them.”

In other words, each enumeration value must correspond to a single, unique bit.  So one way to initialize flags is to use integers that are a power of 2.  The disadvantage of this method is it’s not easy to see which bit is being set, and errors might creep in enumerations with many flags, especially when you start getting up into the range of 16384, 32768, 65536, and 131072.  But there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach either:

[Flags]
public enum DaysOfTheWeek
{
	None = 0,
	Sunday = 1,
	Monday = 2,
	Tuesday = 4,
	Wednesday = 8,
	Thursday = 16,
	Friday = 32,
	Saturday = 64,
}

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Google Considered C# as the Native Language for Android

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Wow, I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this little gem on TechCrunch:

Android chief Andy Rubin wrote in a 2005 email, “If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language – or – 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.”

Imagine how different the world would be today if Google had chosen .NET instead of Java as the native development framework for the Android mobile operating system…

Read more at DevTopics >>

C# Custom Enumerators Made Simple with the Yield Keyword

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An enumerator enables you to iterate over a collection in a foreach loop.  You can use foreach to iterate over all C# collection classes, because all C# collection classes inherit from the IEnumerable interface (regular or generic).  IEnumerable contains the GetEnumerator method, which returns an enumerator.

Occasionally you may find a need to create a custom enumerator, which used to be somewhat of a challenge until the yield keyword was introduced.  Here is how Microsoft describes yield:

The yield keyword signals to the compiler that the method in which it appears is an iterator block.  The compiler generates a class to implement the behavior that is expressed in the iterator block.  In the iterator block, the yield keyword is used together with the return keyword to provide a value to the enumerator object.  This is the value that is returned, for example, in each loop of a foreach statement.

So rather than creating your own enumerator class and managing the enumeration state — which is time consuming and tricky — you can simply write the enumeration logic in the GetEnumerator method, and the yield keyword will automagically wrap your code in a handy-dandy enumerator.

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.NET Isn’t Dead

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I jump into the controversy about the future of the .NET Framework and HTML5+JavaScript.

Read “.NET Isn’t Dead” on DevTopics.com >>

Apparently C# Doesn’t Suck

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YourLanguageSucks is a wiki on theory.org that lists reasons why the most popular programming languages suck.  There are long lists of reasons why Java, JavaScript, C++ and PHP suck.  But the list for C# is very short:

  • Supports ‘goto’.
  • Two distinct sets of collections: non-generic and generic.  Stack and Queue have the same name in both their generic and non-generic flavors, but then we have Hashtable (non-generic) and Dictionary (generic).

The first reason is easy to discount: just avoid using goto!  The second reason is valid, but not really an issue if you use only generic collections, as I do.

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C# Internal Interface

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When building a C# interface, you may find a need for both public and internal methods, such as:

public class MyClass : IMyInterface
{
    public void MyPublicMethod() { }
    internal void MyInternalMethod() { }
}
public interface IMyInterface
{
    public void MyPublicMethod();
    internal void MyInternalMethod();
}

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Where is PaddingF? And Other Padding Oddities

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There is No PaddingF

There is Point and PointF, Size and SizeF, Rectangle and RectangleF, Padding and… wait, there is no PaddingF!

System.Drawing vs. System.Windows.Forms

The 2-D drawing functions in the System.Drawing namespace accept both integer and floating point measurements.  That’s why the main 2-D drawing structures have both int and float versions such as Point and PointF, respectively.

However, the Padding structure is defined separately in the System.Windows.Forms namespace where most 2-D measurements are in integers.  Hence, there is an integer Padding structure but no floating point PaddingF.

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Vanity Guids

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Do you notice anything odd about the following list?

00000000-9b6d-4998-9dd7-6026894bdfba
11111111-9022-4400-bac2-8b66a9874443
22222222-a890-4dec-98bc-f41536b760bc
33333333-e361-4239-8d04-3f16f68ad9ce
44444444-d8c2-40ab-91bd-5a84511ed9d3
55555555-447a-4aa9-a51f-35c74a154156
66666666-193b-4ac3-bd92-860b6b49aedb
77777777-49de-4cc5-b9e6-2e5785dd47af
88888888-0d00-4672-933a-d68e240772be
99999999-7d9d-4d77-9e35-5e919db0f7d1
aaaaaaaa-76cd-4d6b-bae2-574e5b57c7ab
bbbbbbbb-6f9e-4d2d-ba11-64df5c7355fa
cccccccc-b897-4b15-9ab3-11b97836ce85
dddddddd-b417-48ad-8b5b-b762df75e03b
eeeeeeee-cc9c-4cb8-bae0-bbd4b10307fa
ffffffff-8d46-4a31-b297-2ac67dda3600

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Rename a File in C#

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If you want to rename a file in C#, you’d expect there to be a File.Rename method, but instead you must use the System.IO.File.Move method. 

You must also handle a special case when the new file name has the same letters but with difference case.  For example, if you want to rename “test.doc” to “Test.doc”, the File.Move method will throw an exception.  So you must rename it to a temp file, then rename it again with the desired case.

Here is the sample source code:

/// <summary> 
/// Renames the specified file. 
/// </summary> 
/// <param name="oldPath">Full path of file to rename.</param> 
/// <param name="newName">New file name.</param> 
static public void RenameFile( string oldPath, string newName ) 
{ 
    if (String.IsNullOrEmpty( oldPath )) 
        throw new ArgumentNullException( "oldPath" ); 
    if (String.IsNullOrEmpty( newName )) 
        throw new ArgumentNullException( "newName" );

    string oldName = Path.GetFileName( oldPath );

    // if the file name is changed 
    if (!String.Equals( oldName, newName, StringComparison.CurrentCulture )) 
    { 
        string folder = Path.GetDirectoryName( oldPath ); 
        string newPath = Path.Combine( folder, newName ); 
        bool changeCase = String.Equals( oldName, newName, StringComparison.CurrentCultureIgnoreCase );

        // if renamed file already exists and not just changing case 
        if (File.Exists( newPath ) && !changeCase) 
        { 
            throw new IOException( String.Format( "File already exists:n{0}", newPath ) ); 
        } 
        else if (changeCase)
        {
            // Move fails when changing case, so need to perform two moves
            string tempPath = Path.Combine( folder, Guid.NewGuid().ToString() );
            Directory.Move( oldPath, tempPath );
            Directory.Move( tempPath, newPath );
        }
        else
        {
            Directory.Move( oldPath, newPath );
        }
    } 
} 

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