I've got two Code Camp presentations coming up next month, so I've been spending some spare cycles playing with XNA
and TorqueX, working through tutorials and fiddling with my slide decks. The XNA
deck is VERY intro and has been pretty much writing itself. I'm not diving very deep on that one.
The TorqueX session is a bit more advanced, and shows how to knock out a quick game using XNA
Game Studio Express (GSE) and TorqueX Builder (TXB). One of my biggest hurdles so far is coming up with decent looking graphics that aren't blatantly stolen from someone else. No artist I.
The way TXB works with GSE is pretty straight forward. You create a Starter Game project in XNA
GSE, then you fire up TXB and pull in the scene file. Drag your art assets into TXB, set some properties, and flip back over to GSE to write your behavioral components. Keep them both open, flipping back and forth and refreshing as needed. In under an hour you can crank out some pretty neat stuff. (Obviously this is a pretty simplified version of things, but you get the idea.)
The hardest part of this process is getting decent art. If you are lucky enough to know a good artist who will work for free, by all means never let him/her out of your sight. The free stuff you find online, while good, has been used a thousand times. The art packs you can buy on the net, also very good (and some are Fantastic) have also been used extensively by others. Trust me on this... find a good artist. Bribe him, threaten him, even kidnap him if you have to. :)
The alternative is making them yourself. I hope you're a much better artist than I am.
Anyway, I've also been beta-testing some of the TorqueX tutorials, which are very well written, and don't require much from me other than making sure everything works as expected. As these steadily become available, I highly recommend checking them out.