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  • Published:
    December 14, 2011
  • Languages:
    English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America)
  • Audiences:
    Academic, student developers
  • Technology:
    Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
  • Credit toward certification:

MTA: Gaming Development Fundamentals

This exam has been retired

For currently available options, please see the Microsoft Certification exam list.

Skills measured

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

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If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

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Understand game design (25-30%)
  • Differentiate among game types
    • Console, Xbox, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), mobile games, PC games
  • Differentiate among game genres
    • Fantasy, sports, role playing, card, board, first-person shooter (FPS)
  • Understand player motivation
    • Quests, tasks, activities, how to win, game goals
  • Design the user interface
    • UI layout and concepts, asset management, game state, gamer services
  • Understand components
    • Differentiate between tool creation and game programming, understand artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Capture user data
    • Save and restore user data, save and restore game state, handle input states, store data, manage game state, input services
  • Work with XNA
    • Understand the architecture of an XNA game, use built-in XNA tools, work with XNA hierarchy (initialization, update loop, drawing)

Preparation resources

Understand hardware (15–20%)
  • Choose an input device
    • Mouse, keyboard, Kinect, console, mobile
  • Choose an output device
    • Screen, television, hand-held devices, sound (local speakers, surround sound systems)
  • Work with the network
    • Set up web services, TCP, UDP, basic management; plan for areas without access to Internet, notifications
  • Manage game performance
    • CPU versus GPU, reach versus HiDef, graphics networking performance, frame rate
  • Understand the different game platforms
    • Console, PC, mobile; compare memory management

Preparation resources

Understand graphics (25–30%)
  • Understand rendering engines
    • DirectX, video and audio compression, display initialization, resolution (full screen, Vsync, and windowed), transforms
  • Plan for game state
    • Scene hierarchy engine, gametime to handle frame rate variations, understanding games’ main loop (input/update/render), graphics pipeline; understanding the flow of a game, loading, menus, save-load, configuring options (video, audio, keyboard)
  • Draw objects
    • Using bitmaps, sprites, vector graphics, lighting, blending, text, textures, 3D geometry, parallax mapping, and different shaders; 2D versus 3D; creating a sprite font

Preparation resources

Understand animation (25–30%)
  • Animate basic characters
    • Movement, lighting, projections, frames per second (FPS), shaders, apply filters to textures, sprite animation, generate objects from user indexed primitives, matrices, understanding keyframes, motion between keyframes
  • Transform objects
    • Form, deform, move, point distances, planes, interpolation; frames per second (FPS); translation, scale, rotation
  • Work with collisions
    • Per pixel and rectangle collisions, collision detection, collision response, fundamentals of physics simulation

Preparation resources

Who should take this exam?

Candidates for this exam are seeking to prove core gaming development skills. Before taking this exam, candidates should have solid foundational knowledge of game design, hardware, graphics, and animation. It is recommended that candidates be familiar with the concepts of and have some hands-on experience with the technologies described here, either by taking relevant training courses or working with tutorials and samples available on MSDN and in Microsoft Visual Studio.

More information about exams

Preparing for an exam

We recommend that you review this exam preparation guide in its entirety and familiarize yourself with the resources on this website before you schedule your exam. See the Microsoft Certification exam overview for information about registration, videos of typical exam question formats, and other preparation resources. For information on exam policies and scoring, see the Microsoft Certification exam policies and FAQs.


This preparation guide is subject to change at any time without prior notice and at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Microsoft exams might include adaptive testing technology and simulation items. Microsoft does not identify the format in which exams are presented. Please use this preparation guide to prepare for the exam, regardless of its format. To help you prepare for this exam, Microsoft recommends that you have hands-on experience with the product and that you use the specified training resources. These training resources do not necessarily cover all topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.