Skybox on Windows Phone 7

When we have no custom shader, we need to make some sort of little magics to create usual effects like Skybox. This Small post will show a way to simulate this visual effect on Windows Phone 7.
The trick is actually very simple, we just “extract” all the textures from the cube map texture (normally we feed it to a shader that would sample it with the eye vector, but we dont have custom shaders …) and draw all of then each frame (transformed by the camera matrices).

Before showing the code, i need to make some things clear =P.
I used some render functions of PloobsEngine (to hold graphics state, create graphics resources …., tried to use it as little as possible), the functions names used says what is being done, so it is very easy to convert it to plain XNA.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using Microsoft.Xna.Framework;
using Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Graphics;

namespace Features
    public class SkyBox
        String textureCubeName;
        bool enable = false;        

        public void Initialize(String texCubeName)
            Cube = GraphicFactory.GetTextureCube(texCubeName);
            CubeFaces = new Texture2D[6];
            PositionOffset = new Vector3(20, 20, 20);

        #region Properties
        GraphicFactory GraphicFactory;
        public Vector3 PositionOffset { get; set; }
        public Vector3 Position { get; set; }
        public TextureCube Cube { get; set; }
        public Color[] PixelArray { get; set; }
        public Texture2D[] CubeFaces { get; set; }
        public VertexBuffer VertexBuffer { get; set; }
        public IndexBuffer IndexBuffer { get; set; }
        public BasicEffect Effect { get; set; }

        #region Fields

        private List _vertices = new List();
        private List _indices = new List();

        #region Private methods
        private void InitializeData()
            VertexBuffer = GraphicFactory.CreateVertexBuffer(VertexPositionNormalTexture.VertexDeclaration, _vertices.Count, BufferUsage.None);
            IndexBuffer = GraphicFactory.CreateIndexBuffer(IndexElementSize.SixteenBits, _indices.Count, BufferUsage.None);
            Effect = GraphicFactory.GetBasicEffect();
            Effect.TextureEnabled = true;

        ///just a fancy quad
        private void CreateGraphic(float size)
            Vector3[] normals = {
            Vector2[] textureCoordinates = {
                                               Vector2.One, Vector2.UnitY, Vector2.Zero, Vector2.UnitX,
                                               Vector2.Zero, Vector2.UnitX, Vector2.One, Vector2.UnitY,
                                               Vector2.Zero, Vector2.UnitX, Vector2.One, Vector2.UnitY,
                                               Vector2.Zero, Vector2.UnitX, Vector2.One, Vector2.UnitY,
                                               Vector2.UnitY, Vector2.Zero, Vector2.UnitX, Vector2.One,
                                               Vector2.UnitY, Vector2.Zero, Vector2.UnitX, Vector2.One,
            var index = 0;
            foreach (var normal in normals)
                var side1 = new Vector3(normal.Z, normal.X, normal.Y);
                var side2 = Vector3.Cross(normal, side1);
                AddIndex(CurrentVertex + 0);
                AddIndex(CurrentVertex + 1);
                AddIndex(CurrentVertex + 2);
                AddIndex(CurrentVertex + 0);
                AddIndex(CurrentVertex + 2);
                AddIndex(CurrentVertex + 3);
                AddVertex((normal - side1 - side2) * size / 2, normal, textureCoordinates[index++]);
                AddVertex((normal - side1 + side2) * size / 2, normal, textureCoordinates[index++]);
                AddVertex((normal + side1 + side2) * size / 2, normal, textureCoordinates[index++]);
                AddVertex((normal + side1 - side2) * size / 2, normal, textureCoordinates[index++]);
        protected void StripTexturesFromCube()
            PixelArray = new Color[Cube.Size * Cube.Size];
            for (int s = 0; s < CubeFaces.Length; s++)
                CubeFaces[s] = GraphicFactory.CreateTexture2D(Cube.Size, Cube.Size, false, SurfaceFormat.Color);
                switch (s)
                    case 0:
                        Cube.GetData(CubeMapFace.PositiveX, PixelArray);
                    case 1:
                        Cube.GetData(CubeMapFace.NegativeX, PixelArray);
                    case 2:
                        Cube.GetData(CubeMapFace.PositiveY, PixelArray);
                    case 3:
                        Cube.GetData(CubeMapFace.NegativeY, PixelArray);
                    case 4:
                        Cube.GetData(CubeMapFace.PositiveZ, PixelArray);
                    case 5:
                        Cube.GetData(CubeMapFace.NegativeZ, PixelArray);
        protected void AddVertex(Vector3 position, Vector3 normal, Vector2 textureCoordinates)
            _vertices.Add(new VertexPositionNormalTexture(position, normal, textureCoordinates));
        protected void AddIndex(int index)
            if (index > ushort.MaxValue)
                throw new ArgumentOutOfRangeException("index");

        protected int CurrentVertex
            get { return _vertices.Count; }

        public void PreDraw(RenderHelper render, GameTime gt, ref Matrix activeView, ref Matrix activeProjection, Vector3 CamPos)
            if (!enable || Cube == null)

            Vector3 position = camPos

            this.Position = position + PositionOffset;
            Effect.View = activeView;
            Effect.Projection = activeProjection;
            Effect.World = Matrix.CreateTranslation(this.Position);

            render.PushDepthStencilState(new DepthStencilState() { DepthBufferEnable = false });
            render.PushRasterizerState(new RasterizerState() { CullMode = CullMode.None });

            var graphics = Effect.GraphicsDevice;
            graphics.Indices = IndexBuffer;

            Effect.Texture = CubeFaces[0];
            graphics.DrawIndexedPrimitives(PrimitiveType.TriangleList, 0, 0, _vertices.Count, 0, 2);
            Effect.Texture = CubeFaces[1];
            graphics.DrawIndexedPrimitives(PrimitiveType.TriangleList, 0, 0, _vertices.Count, 6, 2);
            Effect.Texture = CubeFaces[2];
            graphics.DrawIndexedPrimitives(PrimitiveType.TriangleList, 0, 0, _vertices.Count, 12, 2);
            Effect.Texture = CubeFaces[3];
            graphics.DrawIndexedPrimitives(PrimitiveType.TriangleList, 0, 0, _vertices.Count, 18, 2);
            Effect.Texture = CubeFaces[4];
            graphics.DrawIndexedPrimitives(PrimitiveType.TriangleList, 0, 0, _vertices.Count, 24, 2);
            Effect.Texture = CubeFaces[5];
            graphics.DrawIndexedPrimitives(PrimitiveType.TriangleList, 0, 0, _vertices.Count, 30, 2);



You need to call the draw function before all 3D drawing !!!

As always code is not optimized and some stuffs are hardcoded.

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