DanielMD DanielMD Indie Game Developer

Niner since 2006

Working on getting a GFX Master Degree, working on the Indie Game Development scene since 1997.


  • Daniel Moth: Blazing-fast code using GPUs and more, with C++ AMP

    @aasss: Portable as in WORKS on HARDWARE from DIFFERENT VENDORS. Unlike CUDA that only works on NVIDIA.

    On that note D3D is much cleaner than OGL, and you should know better than to post something like that on a MICROSOFT forum. So please do not insist unless you wanna be given the Troll Badge.

  • The Best XNA Movie in the UNIVERSE

    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).


    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.
  • The Best XNA Movie in the UNIVERSE

    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…  

  • The Best XNA Movie in the UNIVERSE

    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
  • The Best XNA Movie in the UNIVERSE

    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:
    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:
    XNA Game Studio Express won a couple DEMMX Awards:
    Game Innovation of the Year
    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.
  • The Best XNA Movie in the UNIVERSE

    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