I’m starting to get to grips with XNA, but it’s by no means a walk in the park. 3D-wise, I’ve only really used Ogre and Blitz3D, and only mildly dabbled in shaders in Ogre. XNA is lower-level than Ogre in most ways, but then again C Sharp is higher level than C++, this means less stress with pointers and free garbage collection, but I have to learn shaders from the ground up, and re-write a lot of Ogre’s functionality.
The good thing is that shaders use the industry standard .x format, none of Ogre’s proprietary stuff to deal with, and I can test things out in RenderMonkey without having to re-code them. Also, luckily, most of the stuff I want to do has been done already in XNA, shadows and cel-shading in particular, although skeletal animation support is non-existent out of the box and there seems to be little online knowledge about it (although I’m looking into XNAnimation…)
I’ve got the first model by my artist, Lord P.Duncan, and boy is it a beauty (you can see him in the background of the website image. We call him The Bully.) I’ve plugged him into the cel-shader and shadow system and he’s looking fine, fine, fine. The time is not right to post him yet though…
I have the odd cabinet projection working too (think Final Fight perspective), that wasn’t a bit of a headache because I had to re-learn about projection matricies.
The next step is to get skeletal animation up and running, and the overlaying of shadows back onto a 2D image (should be one line in the shader with any luck.)
I’ve also written what may end up being the main musical theme, it’s orchestral, kinda Zelda-ish but dark and foreboding, with only a thread of hope in it. Look forward to playing it to you guys many moons from now!