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The Best XNA Movie in the UNIVERSE

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On behalf of all of us at Channel 9, sorry about not having any content on Friday, but 2/3 of our city shut down because of a little bit of wind. Most of us woke up Friday morning to discover that, without heat, it's very easy for your house/apartment/condo to turn into a freezer over night in the Pacific Northwest during winter. Even worse, you can't play your Xbox. Seriously. It sucked.

But, on the bright side of things, power's back, and I can finally post the video I was going to post on Friday before nature had its way with Seattle.

In this video, I head off to the official XNA launch event and talk to quite a few very interesting people, all of whom had something valuable/interesting to say about XNA.

In this video, you'll see:

- George Clingerman

George runs an XNA site called XNA Development. He was my main guest in this video, and he stuck around to patiently answer question after question on XNA. If I had been in his position, I would have hit me to make me shut up. I couldn't stop asking questions, but I just find this stuff so interesting - game development is a whooooole different kind of coding, you know?

While he doesn't work for Microsoft, he knows his stuff, and it was a great pleasure getting to talk to him.

He also has a personal blog that you can find here.

- Major Nelson

Major Nelson (real name: Larry Hyrb) is something of a phenomenon in the Xbox community. George and I got a chance to talk with the legend as well as get some hugs. We weren't going to let him get away without hugging us. It was just too cool.

- Andy Dunn

Andy is the guy who, after having been a web developer at Microsoft, quit, took a year off, and then came back as a contractor to write the SpaceWar game that's shipping as one of the examples for XNA Game Developer Studio Express.

His story is an interesting one, and it's crazy to think that, someone who previously had no gaming experience whatsoever, was able to put together a game that is one of the main examples of good XNA development.

It was actually pretty much the first game he had ever written.

If you, in your little office/basement/wherever you're reading this, just heard a distant explosion, it was the sound of my head blowing up in response to the thought that someone so inexperienced with game development could do something so cool.

Check out Andy's blog here.

- Other Assorted Characters

There are cameos from many different people in the industry.

Paolo, who hangs out in the Channel 9 CoffeeHouse, makes an appearance with a buddy of his.

David Weller assaults me near the end of the video for reasons which will become apparent as the scene unfolds.

And, I got to talk to many others, all of whom had something to say that was, or wasn't, particularly interesting.

Either way, this is currently the world's best XNA documentary.

Given that it's probably also the world's only XNA documentary should not, I feel, in any way detract from this self-appointed title of greatness.

Anyway, enjoy, my friends.

Enjoy...

- Links to Things Referenced in the Video

XNA Game Studio Express - The tool itself - The reason for the hooplah - The thing behind the excitement - Yours to download Smiley

TorqueX - A simple game development tool being built on top of XNA (yes - it's a tool that takes XNA and makes it, somehow, even easier)

Phrogram - A programming language with a very simple syntax, currently being ported (by Andy Dunn, as a matter of fact) to work with XNA - A DirectX version is already available

Tags:

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  • You look HAWT Rawrie!!
  • DanielMDDanielMD Indie Game Developer

    OK a couple of things:

    1) The videos are really cool, and i really like the fact that Microsoft is "getting it" wend it comes to creating a game community.

    2) You guys don't know the indie market that well, what XNA studio is doing has been done dozens of times (gamemaker, unity, etc... http://www.dpfiles.com/dpfileswiki/index.php?title=PAID_3D_GAME_ENGINES ). The main problem is not the pipeline, or getting assets into the game, the problem comes down to stuff like doing UI programming for the game, adding scripting ability, getting all the parts working together, the physics, the network code, etc... that is the hard part where I and all Indies need help.

    XNA "as is" is just Microsoft twist to the game development problem unfortunately no magic solutions for the indies, and actually not an evolution for people that are already using better tools (except for the xbox link, but that is so crippled right now, that it makes no sense for the indie developer just the hobbyst).

    Bottom line, very interesting stuff, promising stuff to look forward too, but as always Microsoft fails to deliver the gold, they deliver silver that is nice, but it's not going to solve the problems of the indie developers. Still i am definetly keeping an eye on it Cool

  • <---------  "Paolo's Friend"  Smiley
  • Very nice. The furthest I've ever got with graphics programming is painstakingly drawing out a field and flowing river with basic shapes in OpenGL, with some terrible collision detection and movement. A weekend of coffee-sustained mania.

    2 days for Shawn's Shooter is impressive. High quality model with animation, nice shaders, 2 players. If you can create something like this so fast it's going to convert alot of people, most of the initial hassle is gone = instant fun. Anyone know if the demo code is available?
  • Quality, imformative video. I loved it.

    It's weird how the non-MS employees are better at talking on camera than the ones that actually work there.
  • HO HO HO, Santa's and Secular developers ship software!!

    That compact framework can turn-up anywhere......
  • LaBombaLaBomba Summer
    Ha, he doesn't even own a 360 - that was funny Smiley
  • PaoloMPaoloM Hypermedioc​rity
    dentaku wrote:
    Quality, imformative video. I loved it.

    It's weird how the non-MS employees are better at talking on camera than the ones that actually work there.

    Well, you try under the drnka influence Smiley
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    DanielMD wrote:
    
    2) You guys don't know the indie market that well, what XNA studio is doing has been done dozens of times (gamemaker, unity, etc... http://www.dpfiles.com/dpfileswiki/index.php?title=PAID_3D_GAME_ENGINES . The main problem is not the pipeline, or getting assets into the game, the problem comes down to stuff like doing UI programming for the game, adding scripting ability, getting all the parts working together, the physics, the network code, etc... that is the hard part where I and all Indies need help.


    You're making a lot of assumptions here about the purpose of XNA.

    Right now, at least the way it's been explained to me, it's for hobbyists. It's for people who want to get into game development but don't know where to start. It's for people who want an easy way to get their games running on a console while having access to what the console has to provide.

    It's also about having an officially sanctioned homebrew scene. Devs aren't going to have to fight with MS to get their games on the console (think about the PSP). They're just going to be able to do it. And that's that.

    That's ignoring that XNA is also for Windows, where the benefits are clear, but, to me, the real excitement is having a simple, managed framework for game development on a console.

    Plus, it's only six months old. This is just the beginning.

    And, as far as the *ease* of creating games (the content pipeline is a big deal, or at least it was for a group of game developers I used to hang out with) for a console, I wonder what else there is to challenge XNA.

    What else out there is this cheap, official, and not going to break after system updates?

    DanielMD wrote:
    

    XNA "as is" is just Microsoft twist to the game development problem unfortunately no magic solutions for the indies, and actually not an evolution for people that are already using better tools (except for the xbox link, but that is so crippled right now, that it makes no sense for the indie developer just the hobbyst).


    How is the xbox link "crippled"?

    And, again, this is *for* the hobbyists.

    DanielMD wrote:
    
    Bottom line, very interesting stuff, promising stuff to look forward too, but as always Microsoft fails to deliver the gold, they deliver silver that is nice, but it's not going to solve the problems of the indie developers. Still i am definetly keeping an eye on it


    You're looking at XNA to solve your very own specific problems, rather than the problems it was meant to solve. As I already said, XNA provides a cheap, easy way for hobbyists and students to design games for consoles. It's that simple.
  • Here's the links to some of the other XNA sites I mentioned in the video. There are a lot more community sites and content than these, but going to these sites is kind of like finding one of the major on-ramps to the XNA community highway.

    XNATutorial.com
    XNAResources.com
    LearnXNA.com


  • Rory wrote:
    How is the xbox link "crippled"?


    I think he's referring to the lack of a packaged deployment story for easily distributing your application to other (non-dev) Xbox users, and possibly the lack of network access on the Xbox. As you said though, it's only been out for 6 months (technically 2 weeks when talking about a released product).

    People need to understand that you can't ship everything in version 1. Both of the above issues have already been addressed on various XNA team member blogs. Functionality and flexibility will increase. It just takes time. XNA is a killer platform, and the evolution from the initial Managed DX days to now is just awesome.
  • Great video, even with all the background noise. I love the idea of XNA and it's the only thing to come along that has ever made me regret learning Visual Basic. I am trying to learn C#, but I miss VB.
  • MinhMinh WOOH!  WOOH!
    PaoloM wrote:
    
    Well, you try under the drnka influence
    why do I always expect you to open with "It's-a-me Pao-lo"?
  • PaoloMPaoloM Hypermedioc​rity
    Minh wrote:
    
    PaoloM wrote: 
    Well, you try under the drnka influence
    why do I always expect you to open with "It's-a-me Pao-lo"?

    ROFL.
  • ZippyVZippyV Fired Up

    I tried to install the xna studio thing but unfortunately I can not install it on Visual Studio 2005 Professional. How can I start making xna games (for Windows, not xbox)?

  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    You need to install Visual C# express before installing XNA Game studio. You can install this next to Visual Studio 2005 Professional.

    From the XNA Game Studio Express download page:

    This release requires Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition to be installed before proceeding.  You can install Visual C# Express from the Visual C# Express Download Page. However, other members of the Visual Studio 2005 line of products, for example Visual Studio 2005 Professional, can co-exist with XNA Game Studio Express on the same computer.

    Apparently there are those who got it running in Visual Studio 2005 Professional, but I have no experience with that.

  • Rory wrote:
    
    What else out there is this cheap, official, and not going to break after system updates?


    Allegro

    Yeah ok its not as simple as XNA and I am not sure about it working on consoles (maybe PSP?) but you asked Smiley infact you had the guy right there who started it or at least contributed a major part to it, the one and only Shawn Hargreaves!

    Regarding the video, up until now I also laughed at XNA for game development but after seeing that video of the first person shooter and how smoothly it ran I will definately have a play at some point!

    Loved the video btw, informative and funny. I would have to agree with DanielMD though that the idea of this never being done before etc is over the top but otherwise good stuff.

  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    PaoloM wrote:
    
    Minh wrote: 
    PaoloM wrote: 
    Well, you try under the drnka influence
    why do I always expect you to open with "It's-a-me Pao-lo"?

    ROFL.


    ++
    Paolo you look different then in your avatar.

    I didn't know about the font support. Great video!
  • MinhMinh WOOH!  WOOH!
    littleguru wrote:
    
    I didn't know about the font support. Great video!
    Interestingly enough, there was font support in MDX 1 (MDX 2.0 evolved into XNA). Also missing from XNA is a mesh animation system. I see the plumbing is there, you just have to do things manually.

    Hopefully, we'll see these for XNA 2.0:

    * Built-in mesh animation
    * Collision detection
    * Simple physics
    * More special effects shaders
    * Some AI helpers?
  • Can someone make a "great" game like Age of Empires using XNA?  I know that's an old game now, but as a hobbyist, I've always wanted to create a game, but didn't have the time to learn all the ins and outs of the system programming, never getting to the actual game part of it.  I've always been a fan of the isometric gaming look.  Thanks.
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    Minh wrote:
    
    littleguru wrote: 
    I didn't know about the font support. Great video!
    Interestingly enough, there was font support in MDX 1 (MDX 2.0 evolved into XNA). Also missing from XNA is a mesh animation system. I see the plumbing is there, you just have to do things manually.

    Hopefully, we'll see these for XNA 2.0:

    * Built-in mesh animation
    * Collision detection
    * Simple physics
    * More special effects shaders
    * Some AI helpers?


    It's sure that XNA somehow evolved from MDX 2.0, but I would draw a straight line from MDX 2.0 to XNA - perhaps a dotted line. It's so different. The ideas are the same, but MDX never targeted the Xbox as a platform (which includes writing a compact framework for the Xbox and the limitations of the box)...
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    johnny.NET wrote:
    Can someone make a "great" game like Age of Empires using XNA?  I know that's an old game now, but as a hobbyist, I've always wanted to create a game, but didn't have the time to learn all the ins and outs of the system programming, never getting to the actual game part of it.  I've always been a fan of the isometric gaming look.  Thanks.


    It is possible. You can do everything with XNA. Sometimes you need to do a little bit of puzzeling, but you can really do everything with it! Shaders, 3D and 2D is fully supported by XNA.
  • MassifMassif aim stupidly high, expect to fail often.
    What's all this "sixs months development time" I keep hearing? Does that just apply to XNA Game Studio?

    I only ask because I have a copy of Edge dated May 2004 which has on the front: "XNA Microsoft ends the console war"
  • DanielMD wrote:
    

    OK a couple of things:

    1) The videos are really cool, and i really like the fact that Microsoft is "getting it" wend it comes to creating a game community.

    2) You guys don't know the indie market that well, what XNA studio is doing has been done dozens of times (gamemaker, unity, etc... http://www.dpfiles.com/dpfileswiki/index.php?title=PAID_3D_GAME_ENGINES . The main problem is not the pipeline, or getting assets into the game, the problem comes down to stuff like doing UI programming for the game, adding scripting ability, getting all the parts working together, the physics, the network code, etc... that is the hard part where I and all Indies need help.

    XNA "as is" is just Microsoft twist to the game development problem unfortunately no magic solutions for the indies, and actually not an evolution for people that are already using better tools (except for the xbox link, but that is so crippled right now, that it makes no sense for the indie developer just the hobbyst).

    Bottom line, very interesting stuff, promising stuff to look forward too, but as always Microsoft fails to deliver the gold, they deliver silver that is nice, but it's not going to solve the problems of the indie developers. Still i am definetly keeping an eye on it




    *sigh*
    Some just can't stand to admit that Microsoft does anything innovative.

    Here's a link to the DEMMX awards that took place a couple weeks ago:
    http://www.demmx.com/demmx/awards/2006.jsp
    
    XNA Game Studio Express won a couple DEMMX Awards:
    Game Innovation of the Year
    and
    Best of Show: Innovator of the Year

    So it's official - XNA is innovative. Wink
  • Excellent video, thanks Rory!

    It's been quite a while since I spent time trying to build a game. Back in the day I had "some success" with Turbo Pascal and everything that goes along with that (read: xmode and creating your own mouse library).

    When Managed DirectX came about, I downloaded the bits and had a go. I wasn't too happy with what was there because it still felt like a helluva lotta work to get going. My feeling was that if I had to initialize drawing surfaces etc etc I might aswell sharpen the old C++ pencil and code against DirectX using native code.

    XNA however... WOW! I downloaded the bits after watching and 15 minutes later I have surface with a sprite happily moving along to my keypresses and some basic collision detection... Amazing!

    I'm very happy indeedy. Thanks to everyone involved with this initiative!

    Big Smile
  • MachairaMachaira Jim Perry - Jedi coder
    OK, so when do we get to play with XNA Asteroids?!? Wink
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    Great video!

    One question: I didn't quite understand the bit about font support. So is that in the final release right now, or still upcoming? I couldn't find out about it in the documentation.

  • The font support is still on it's way and is not in the final release. We're hoping to see it and some other components soon.
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    Excellent, looking forward to it. Thanks for the info!
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Lon^ wrote:
    
    Rory wrote: 
    What else out there is this cheap, official, and not going to break after system updates?


    Allegro

    Yeah ok its not as simple as XNA and I am not sure about it working on consoles (maybe PSP?) but you asked  infact you had the guy right there who started it or at least contributed a major part to it, the one and only Shawn Hargreaves!

    Regarding the video, up until now I also laughed at XNA for game development but after seeing that video of the first person shooter and how smoothly it ran I will definately have a play at some point!

    Loved the video btw, informative and funny. I would have to agree with DanielMD though that the idea of this never being done before etc is over the top but otherwise good stuff.



    I took a look at Allegro. It's not really the same thing. At all.

    Here are some of the coolest things about XNA (that you won't find in Allegro):

    - It's managed code, so you don't have to write a bunch of memory management plumbing stuff

    - It works on Windows and a major console (the 360, of course)

    - It puts console development into the hands of hobbyists and students at a very low price compared to anything that's preceded it

    - Along with the low price, it's a very high quality package - if you haven't watched this video yet, then you need to - it shows how you can debug on the 360, as well as an XNA game running at 1080p without dropping frames

    - It's not a hack or something that will disappear in a few months or be made inaccessible by a firmware update (the PSP homebrewers know this pain well)

    - It includes some fancy bits that take care of work you'd typically have to do manually

    - It's all this, and it's only a v1.0 product - Imagine how cool 2.0 is going to be
  • DanielMDDanielMD Indie Game Developer
    Sorry for the length of the post in advanced! Btw, this is not a flame, i am very relaxed typing these words, and was actually thinking on emailing instead of posting, but then again there is no point in leaving anyone out of the loop, transparency is a good thing... so i will reply to both Rory and to Escamillo, if any of this sounds paternalistic, i am sorry not being a native English speaker/writer can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. Ok, here we go... 

    Escamillo wrote:
    
    *sigh*
    Some just can't stand to admit that Microsoft does anything innovative.

    Here's a link to the DEMMX awards that took place a couple weeks ago:
    http://www.demmx.com/demmx/awards/2006.jsp
    
    XNA Game Studio Express won a couple DEMMX Awards:
    Game Innovation of the Year
    and
    Best of Show: Innovator of the Year

    So it's official - XNA is innovative.


    To reply to Escamillo: I never said it was not innovative, and not because of the awards... If you read with attention i praise, and hope that microsoft continues in this path...

    What really gets me is that they are able to solve the technical stuff in 6 months (the hard stuff) and don't find the time to setup a community share system (the legal stuff, that is what i hate in big corporations) and before you shout it out  i know, i know it's coming... but this should be one of the cornerstones of the XNA platform from the get go, i know it, you know it and if you saw the videos the xna development team knows it too (they get embarrassed that it's not there not because it's a technical challenge, but because they are fighting the legal department to do it).
     
    Rory, that is why i say the xbox 360 link is "crippled" and why the xna platform "as is" is only useful to hobbyist (btw, Hobbyist != Indies, more on that later), that is why i said Microsoft delivered Silver instead of Gold (maybe Silver is too much, i should say Bronze).

    So, in conclusion it is an innovative product, i highly praise MS for doing this, i was just hoping it would be a complete solution... from the looks of it, that will only happen with XNA 2.0 or whatever name they are going to give it, and who knows wend that is coming.

    Rory wrote:


    You're making a lot of assumptions here about the purpose of XNA.

    Right now, at least the way it's been explained to me, it's for hobbyists. It's for people who want to get into game development but don't know where to start. It's for people who want an easy way to get their games running on a console while having access to what the console has to provide.

    It's also about having an officially sanctioned homebrew scene. Devs aren't going to have to fight with MS to get their games on the console (think about the PSP). They're just going to be able to do it. And that's that.

    That's ignoring that XNA is also for Windows, where the benefits are clear, but, to me, the real excitement is having a simple, managed framework for game development on a console.

    Plus, it's only six months old. This is just the beginning.

    And, as far as the *ease* of creating games (the content pipeline is a big deal, or at least it was for a group of game developers I used to hang out with) for a console, I wonder what else there is to challenge XNA.

    What else out there is this cheap, official, and not going to break after system updates?

    How is the xbox link "crippled"?

    And, again, this is *for* the hobbyists.

    You're looking at XNA to solve your very own specific problems, rather than the problems it was meant to solve. As I already said, XNA provides a cheap, easy way for hobbyists and students to design games for consoles. It's that simple.


    OK now to reply to Rory:

    1) The purpose of XNA

    First let me explain my understanding and definition of the targeted audiences (so that we can all be on the same page) that the XNA platform is trying to attract... on the one side whe have the:

    Hobbyist - people that work alone, or in pairs, and have fun with the console, but whose main purpose is not to create something distributable, their point is to explore the platform (in this case they are able to play around with the XBox 360), play with it, maybe share a game with some friends (very hard right now, have to share source code), but there is no real invested future in it. I would say that this target audience is quite happy with the way things are right now, well having to pay $100 might make the happiness levels come down, but that is ok.

    Indie Developers - people that work alone, but might also work in small teams (like i do) that want to create a nice game, and distribute it to the largest amount of people possible, we want to showoff our talent and get recognized by our work and work in bigger and bigger projects until one day we can earn a living making games. This audience cannot make much use of the XNA platform "as is", maybe in future versions, i certainly hope so, the 360 platform would be a dream platform to work with.

    So to me the purpose of XNA is to attract both markets, specially looking at the XNA Racer game, and all the other advanced work that was showed in previous videos, it is eluding people to think that they alone can do something like XNA Racer, it is almost impossible to do that on the hobbyist level, and very hard on the Indie level, it takes a team (with multiple talents) to do those kinds of games.

    The easy way
    Well, looking at the trouble that Frank Savage had with doing a simple hello world, i would say XNA is not the easiest thing in the world to use (btw, Frank drawing a spining cube is the hello world of the gfx programmers you should have done that Wink ), there are allot of toolkits that allow to easilly create games in 2D and 3D, i listed them on the link i provided, but just to mention a couple:

    http://www.gamemaker.nl/ - allows you to do all sorts of fun 2D games, even some fake 3D games, it's easy to use and cheap €15, also comes with a very simple GUI, so you can create your game like a windows forms, or you can use the scripting language. This is what i recommend for hobbyst that want to do a simple fun game, they will have the game up and running in no time. No need to learn the C# programming language, learn oop, ood, etc... then again they can't run on the xbox.

    If you want to go 3D, there are also laods of options you have fps creator, dxstudio, virtools, www.beyondvirtual.com, the dark basic products, (unity for the MAC), etc.. the real hard part is to do all the 3D content the models, animations, etc... getting the content inside the engine is usually already included in the kit, many of these studios, kits, etc... already have asset managment tools, you can update assets, easily drag and drop models int scene, etc... you make it sound like a content pipeline tool, easy importation of models has never been done, this is just not true, most of the open source and commercial engines have easy to use content pipelines.


    2) Officially sanctioned homebrew scene
    Well why don't you guys open up the platform so other studios developent kits can communicate with the 360? That would be awsome, but then again this is Microsoft , so step by step...

    3)Managed framework
    I love managed code, but all that it really means is less code, you still have to worry about effecient use of memory, and object reuse (well pointed by George Clingerman).

    4)You're looking at XNA to solve your very own specific problems
    Hum... didn't i saw you asking about how to create a 2D gui in the videos? doing a 2D ui library, adding a scriping engine a physics library, etc... is not my own specific problem, it is a huge problem for all Indies, and Hobbyst's alike.

    this is getting way to long i will just go to my conclusion.

    Bottom Line
    If you are an Indie developer, or Hobbyst looking for an easy way to create some fun games for the WINDOWS platform, XNA is not the solution! There are already better tools, easier to use that allow you to be more productive, tools that contain much more advanced features (and tools that come in all price ranges, shapes and sizes, for a guide you can check out the list i previously posted a link too).

    If you are a Hobbyst wanting to have some fun with your xbox 360 then XNA is a great opportunity, it will allow you to access one of the most advanced gaming consoles on the world, and if you are willing to share your source code you can even share games with your friends (they have to have a 360, a PC and pay $100 to play your game).
     
    If you are an Indie Developer you might want to start getting used to the XNA platform and wait some months for the next version of the platform to became available. "AS IS" XNA is not the Indies dream platform, but it has the potential to be!!! I certainly hope it will (not unfounded hope, i have been paying attention to the videos and blogs of the XNA team and i certainly think they are coming our way) I and my small team will definitely invest on XNA wend we have the ability to share our content with the world.

    What would make XNA a Gold platform to me

    Full access to the 360 capabilities, including network, and being able to distribute your games, even sell them on the Marketplace.

    More tools to easilly create 2D Guis, text, and other resources that should be a commodity for a game developer and never are.

    A visual development studio (looks like you have partnered with visual3d.net ).

    Optional Content packs (textures, 3D models, etc...) that will allow you to easily create a game using a starter kit, this will allow people to easily implement their ideas of the worlds best FPS, or whatever... without the need to use tools like 3ds max, or xsi, maya, etc... IMHO, doing the content for a 3D game is the REAL hard part of developing a game these days.

    There is loads more i could talk about, but this is getting way too long... ok, i hope i made my points clear and i hope i did not flame anyone.
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    DanielMD wrote:
    I and my small team will definitely invest on XNA wend we have the ability to share our content with the world.


    But... you have that ability right now, don't you? You can build games for Windows and distribute them with the XNA framework easily.

    Anyway, it sounds like you want everything done for you. 3D modelling, 2D GUI's... I don't know. That doesn't sound quite as fun nor as big a challenge for me.
  • DanielMDDanielMD Indie Game Developer
    Bas wrote:
    
    DanielMD wrote: I and my small team will definitely invest on XNA wend we have the ability to share our content with the world.


    But... you have that ability right now, don't you? You can build games for Windows and distribute them with the XNA framework easily.

    Anyway, it sounds like you want everything done for you. 3D modelling, 2D GUI's... I don't know. That doesn't sound quite as fun nor as big a challenge for me.


    Well, that is the point! If i want to develop for windows platform only i have much better solutions, there is no reason for us to use XNA, we are starting a new game right now, and we looked at XNA, trying to evaluate if it could be the solution for us, it would be VERY cool to have our little game running on Windows and the 360, we concluded that right now it is not worth it, we would have to waste time handling XNA just for windows we are using a much better framework and tools right now.

    I don't want a development enviorment that is a challenge i want to make a game, that is challenging enough! I want to focus on making the game original, fun, entertaining.

    Having to deal with creating my own fonts, creating my own gui elements (textboxes, buttons, etc...) is a very dumb way to waste time, since this has been done hundreads if not millions of times, over and over again, besides, i thought one of the main points of XNA is to make game creation easy, aproachable, designing your own efficient UI is not that easy... btw, I challenge any hobbyist to do a game like xna racer in 6 months, it's just not going to happen that game was developed by a professional TEAM.

    If XNA comes with some high quality assets, that would make game creation much easier... more similar to modding, much more apreachable by the student, and hobbyist, not worth much to the Indie developers that usually create their own content, Like I am my team DO!

    So no i don't want everything done for me, just the boring, time wasting parts, i hope that xna 2.0 or the professional version will eliminate some of that boilerplate, and resource wasting effort!

    Why can't we have a generic UI library with a button, that we simply skin, and the same for other UI elements, etc...  

    Again "as is" it's not a solution for Indie Developers and Studios, but i think they are going in that direction, now you ask:
    "- Are we there yet?" 
    I have to reply: 
    "Almost there!" just not yet [C]

    Or if i really want a challenge i would buy a

    www.xgamestation.com - Hydra Game Development Kit, doing multi-core programming for the 8 core propeller cpu, now that sounds like fun Tongue Out
  • DanielMD. I think you're seriously missing the point about XNA. It's NOT supposed to be an "easy to use game making kit for hobbyist and indie developers", it's more along the lines of "A managed API for cross platform game development". Lots of people make this misstake. That's why you have people who haven't written a line of code in their life downloading XNA thinking it's a consumer level tool for making games. It's not. It's a developer tool. XNA competes with C++/DirectX, not with click-and-play consumer/hobbyist tools like Gamemaker.

    Frankly, I think MS has to share part of the blame for this misconception. XNA has been labeled as "game development for the masses" so much that people actually started believing it. What they mean by "masses", though, are the people already doing games in C++ on their spare time. XNA is meant to help developers by making programming games easier, it's not supposed to enable non-programmers to make games. So it's still a hobbyist tool, it's just a very serious and non-crippled hobbyist tool for people who are way beyond the level of playing with things like Gamemaker, DarkBASIC etc.

    There's a fundamental difference, the fact that you bring up programs like Gamemaker shows that you've probably misunderstood what XNA is. Yes, it will be harder to get a simple game up and runnin in XNA than in Gamemaker, and if Gamemaker is enough for your needs then you should definately use that. XNA is not about catering to a small niche of simplistic games with a drag-n-drop interface, it's about providing a general interface for making games on Windows and the XBox 360.

    You couldn't create a next gen FPS in Gamemaker, but you could in XNA. The goal of XNA as I understand it, long term of course, is to be The primary way of writing games for windows and the future MS consoles (this shift may only happen for the smaller titles on the 360 but may very well happen for all games by the next console generation).

    XNA makes things easier, but it's not magic. Gamemaker makes things easier by removing options. It's easy to use because it's highly limited in what you can do (I know, I tried to use it for prototyping a while ago, and ended up having to abandon it because it simply isn't general enough to work for any type of game).
    So again, if your particular needs are met by Gamemaker et al, fine, but it's not comparable to XNA. Compare XNA to C++ and DirectX/OpenGL, not to Gamemaker.

  • Massif wrote:
    What's all this "sixs months development time" I keep hearing? Does that just apply to XNA Game Studio?

    I only ask because I have a copy of Edge dated May 2004 which has on the front: "XNA Microsoft ends the console war"


    What probably happened was that they announced it at GDC 2004, and then spent the next year and a half figuring out what XNA actually was.

    Once they came upon that insight, it only took 6 months to... "enact their vision."
  • DanielMDDanielMD Indie Game Developer
    sylvan wrote:
    
    DanielMD. I think you're seriously missing the point about XNA. It's NOT supposed to be an "easy to use game making kit for hobbyist and indie developers"...

    Frankly, I think MS has to share part of the blame for this misconception. XNA has been labeled as "game development for the masses" so much that people actually started believing it...

    You couldn't create a next gen FPS in Gamemaker, but you could in XNA.

    XNA makes things easier, but it's not magic. So again, if your particular needs are met by Gamemaker et al, fine, but it's not comparable to XNA. Compare XNA to C++ and DirectX/OpenGL, not to Gamemaker.


    No i don't think i misunderstood at all, i think MS is confusing people, i have been around the indie game development scene for the past 12 years, and from time to time, we have company X or company Y telling this is the ultimate game development kit, the magic bullet, i think MS is hyping this too much in that direction, if you read the documentation and see the videos i think you will get the same perception.

    XNA does not really make anything easier as far as i can tell, if you take a look at so many other game platforms that i also mentioned you will see that there are already much easier solutions to use than xna studio express. Also i did not compare XNA to any other toolkit, or studio, i compared XNA Studio Express to other studios that also work with C# and or with C++, these other solutions like dxstudio, unity, virtools, etc...

    The only thing XNA brings to the table is the XBox link factor, that is what really is interesting about the platform.

    So, from my point of view if you are a windows developer and are doing your code using visual studio in C++ or C# using managed directx, it looks like XNA is going to be the path chosen by MS, if you want to develop for the pc and xbox360 platform.

    If you are using other development kits, studios or toolkits, XNA really brings nothing to the table,

    Also, i recommend gamemaker because it is very very easy to use, of course it is somewhat limited, but most of the time those limits are an issue for most hobbyist game developers. If you want something better than gamemaker, in case you want to do 3D games then there are loads of options fpscreator, dxstudio, etc... i think most people will get the point, if not too bad, i tried to explain myself far too much, if you get it you get it, good, if not, then i really don't know how to explain any better.

    All I can say is that I am looking forward to seeing what kind of products are going to leverage the XNA platform stuff like visual3d.net, and I am expectant about the professional XNA studio. The XNA platform all in all is nothing more than that, it does not make things any easier, you still have to learn a programming language syntax, you still have to learn oop, ood, etc…  

  • sylvan wrote:
    DanielMD. I think you're seriously missing the point about XNA. It's NOT supposed to be an "easy to use game making kit for hobbyist and indie developers", it's more along the lines of "A managed API for cross platform game development". Lots of people make this misstake. That's why you have people who haven't written a line of code in their life downloading XNA thinking it's a consumer level tool for making games. It's not. It's a developer tool. XNA competes with C++/DirectX, not with click-and-play consumer/hobbyist tools like Gamemaker.


    Hello everyone. Is this thread going off topic? Anyway. XNA Game Studio Express looks very interesting to me. I am also a novice when it comes to programming. sylvans messege, in total, cleared up a lot of questions for me. I also thank DanielMD for questioning XNA, even if he is a little stressed. What confuses me is that I really did think XNA Game Studio Express was for beginners. I have read and watched several things that make it look a lot like Gamemaker 6.1 (I'd like to just add that Gamemaker deserves more credit here, its very good. You can do more with it than you think, and actually it CAN do 3D). A good example is this video;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYcWXJylmc0

    If the link doesnt work, search for Microsoft XNA Part 1 on youtube.

    Note the first thing said, its something like "Many gamers have dreamed of making a game, but up until now, the resources havent been in place". This video shows drag and drop made games, and like other "game making" software, I figured that after you got your head around that, you could then gradually advance into things like C++ or whatever language the software uses.

    But then I go out on the net to look for more XNA stuff. I personally do not like the official XNA Game Studio Express site. I only found technical and confusing tutorials on verious sites. I will look more though. I see video tutorials appearing very often, which is more than what can be said for many other programs. Video tutorials are very good.

    ... I'm not sure where I'm going here! Umm, I guess what I'm trying to say is that the messege consumers are getting is that XNA GSE is fun and easy to use. But it looks like its only for game makers who I would classify as having mid to high expertise.

    But then again, all these videos cant be completely wrong. They show the drag and drop interface for example, can somesome explain it to me?

    Sorry just 2 small questions. What connection does this site have with Microsoft? And what does the "Now with 100% more WPF/E" mean? I apologise if anything I bring up in this messege has already been answered somewhere else.

    Ciao.
  • Hamled wrote:
    
    Massif wrote: What's all this "sixs months development time" I keep hearing? Does that just apply to XNA Game Studio?

    I only ask because I have a copy of Edge dated May 2004 which has on the front: "XNA Microsoft ends the console war"


    What probably happened was that they announced it at GDC 2004, and then spent the next year and a half figuring out what XNA actually was.

    Once they came upon that insight, it only took 6 months to... "enact their vision."


    Whilst this could be the case, I suspect that the real reason is because the article in Edge related to XNA Build rather than XNA Game Studio Express.  XNA Build is a different product aimed at professional game studios and focuses more on managing the different tools and processes involved in commercial game development. 

    Also, whilst changing the subject a little, I'd like to pose the following question:

    Should XNA be used for non-gaming related 3D development?

    To provide a bit of background to my question, my day job involves developing engineering software that implements 3D visualization using Managed Direct X 1.1.  In addition, I understand that version 2 of Managed Direct X has been shelved/replaced by XNA. 

    So, whilst I've enjoyed toying with XNA over the Crimbo holidays, I wondered if XNA is the sensible replacement for MDX1.1 or should we be looking elsewhere when developing non-gaming applications that require 3D?
  • Scoble? Demeaning?

    Rory? Obnoxious?

    Are we watching the same videos?
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    mycroft wrote:

    Are we watching the same videos?


    I was wondering the same thing, since I didn't see anybody trying to avoid talking about his work.
  • Bas wrote:
    
    mycroft wrote:
    Are we watching the same videos?


    I was wondering the same thing, since I didn't see anybody trying to avoid talking about his work.


    actually he was obnoxious, and people were uncomfortable talking to him, and they kept trying to recap everytime he starts rolling his eyes or winking to the camera.

    He even jumped around commenting on some guy's shoes.

    If you haven't seen all that, then watch the video again.
  • why do you guys always choose jerks to work as interviewers at channel9?

    that's the first thing that I've noticed when I started watching videos on channel9 a year ago.

    There was an interviewer who used to ask "wait a second, who are you?" (as if it was funny) in a demeaning voice at the beginning of each of his interviews.

    And now this obnoxious blonde guy that thinks he's funny by not letting people talk comfortably.

    People that don't know this blonde guy's face would definitly get confused on whether or not this is a prank video.

    Just like what happened in this video, people weren't able to talk about their work comfortably cause they thought this guy is not even remotely interested in what they're saying, and he's just there to poke fun at them.

  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    Well, opinions differ, I guess. I thought it was a very informative video, and got what I needed out of it.
  • I didnt find there to be anything wrong with Rory.

    He also did a great interview with Frank Savage, an important XNA emplyee. He was very nice in this video. He may have been a little more all over the place in this one, but it looks like the reason for that was because he was thrown in there without any research material. He was learning about it as he went along, as we were.

    This is hard, because in most interviews the interviewer askes questions that he actually knows the answers to. Sometimes they reherse it, but this was all on the spot, talking to total strangers.

    A quick note. I figured out most of the answers to the questions I asked earlier in this thread. I might post about it again another time, when I can be bothered. Lets just say this, the whole XNA + Garage Games Torque software thing is pretty confusing. Mostly I think because each Torque product have simular names and/or have changed their names 2 or 3 times.

    Or maybe I'm just slow Tongue Out
  • DanielMDDanielMD Indie Game Developer
    O Wilmot wrote:
    

    Hello everyone. Is this thread going off topic? Anyway. XNA Game Studio Express looks very interesting to me. I am also a novice when it comes to programming. sylvans messege, in total, cleared up a lot of questions for me. I also thank DanielMD for questioning XNA, even if he is a little stressed.
    .


    Hi. Yes i must admit i was a little stressed in my last message sorry for that.

    O Wilmot wrote:
    
    Note the first thing said, its something like "Many gamers have dreamed of making a game, but up until now, the resources havent been in place". This video shows drag and drop made games, and like other "game making" software, I figured that after you got your head around that, you could then gradually advance into things like C++ or whatever language the software uses.

    But then I go out on the net to look for more XNA stuff. I personally do not like the official XNA Game Studio Express site. I only found technical and confusing tutorials on verious sites. I will look more though. I see video tutorials appearing very often, which is more than what can be said for many other programs. Video tutorials are very good.

    ...

    But then again, all these videos cant be completely wrong. They show the drag and drop interface for example, can somesome explain it to me?

    ...



    I can try!

    There is allot of confusion in the message being delivered, what you see in that video is not XNA Studio Express it's Torque X, and Torque X is a remake (using C# and the XNA managed API) of the GarageGames Torque Game Builder (so XNA brings nothing new to this field, the only difference is that with Torque X you can develop for XBox360, so if you are developing for Windows only there is no point in switching from TGB to Torque X, TGB and similar products have been around for decades).

    http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque/x/

    What most people think, and ms lets them think is that XNA Game Studio is a visual editor like Torque X, wend in fact it's a version of Visual C# Express (using the Visual Studio IDE framework).

    Now, i think you can see why i say this is nothing new, and if you want to program for windows only there already are dozens of products that let you create games in a hobbyist, indie friendly way.

    What we will start to see is those products come up with versions that allow you to deploy to the X360 Console. Torque X is the first i know and is already released, there's also a 3D visual editor in beta called http://www.visual3d.net/ others might follow

    So the XNA platform and XNA studio express innovation is basically the ability to deploy to the PC and Xbox 360, other than that, there's not much to get excited about... well the learning material i have seen is usually very good so kudos for that.

    I hope i was able to help!

    P.S: I think Rory is doing a good job with the vids, sometimes he jumps the gun and should let people talk some more, he could edit the video later, but other than that i think he is doing a good job.
  • Oxygen wrote:
    
    actually he was obnoxious, and people were uncomfortable talking to him, and they kept trying to recap everytime he starts rolling his eyes or winking to the camera.

    He even jumped around commenting on some guy's shoes.

    If you haven't seen all that, then watch the video again.



    ummm...I was in the interview and I wasn't uncomfortable at all. It was actually a ton of fun and as I walked around with Rory watching him interview others, they were all having a great time too.

    Maybe you're just reading a bit much into it, but speaking as somone both interviewed and as a spectator, I think Rory did a great job and that he does a great job at getting tech guys to just talk to the camera in a relaxed way.
  • Martin H. NormarkMartinHN MartinHN

    Maybe off topic.

    I think XNA will be a great advantage for XBOX 360 in the console war.

    What are Sony going to do? Sit back and watch? Team up with Google or Sun? Big Smile Big Smile Big Smile

  • DanielMD wrote:
    
    What we will start to see is those products come up with versions that allow you to deploy to the X360 Console. Torque X is the first i know and is already released, there's also a 3D visual editor in beta called http://www.visual3d.net/ others might follow


    To those who are interested -- Visual3D.NET Beta1 is out, so you can check what's this all about

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