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Talking XNA with Shawn Hargreaves and Charles Cox

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Ever wanted to make your own game? XNA Game Studio enables game development for everyone on Windows, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone 7. Join Shawn Hargreaves and Charles Cox as they dive into the world of Indie game development, and answer community questions about XNA Game Studio, the XNA Creators Club Online, game development with managed code, and more.

Other topics include:

  • Game Development for Windows Phone 7
  • XNA Game Studio and Silverlight – Games and Apps
  • GPU Acceleration
  • The History of XNA Game Studio
  • .NET Garbage Collection Tips for XNA Game Studio
  • Managed Code Performance Tips
  • DirectX 11 or XNA Game Studio – Making the Choice
  • Introducing Reach and HiDef Graphics Profiles
  • Visual Basic in XNA Game Studio
  • XAML and Event-Driven Programming in XNA Game Studio

Show Links:

XNA Creators Club Online
XNA Developer Education Roadmap
Shawn Hargreaves’ Blog
XNA Team Blog
Download XNA Game Studio 4.0



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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Alexandre Chohfi

    Very good infos!
    Thank you very much!

  • User profile image
    Pamela Parker

    Very informative.Thank you.Would like to see more of Charles and Shawn with more detailed information on XNA  gaming.

  • User profile image

    Great. More of XNA team interviews please!

  • User profile image

    We want more! We want more! We want more!

    No really, great interview! Structured really well with great information!

  • User profile image

    Agreed. Excellent stuff.

    So as a follow up comment to the GC related discussion, Shawn mentioned that they were all initially "skeptical" of using managed code for game development. I have a feeling that the XNA team was a great source of motivation to optimize .Net in ways that makes sense for "realtime" applications like a games. So I'd be interested to know what influence the XNA team had with the .Net team in this respect. I mean, they must communicate, right?

    Shawn also basically mentioned that when using XNA, you are still required to have a deep understanding of the memory management in .Net (EDIT: For instance, did you know that calling properties that implement an interface will automatically box any value types? I didn't, and how are we supposed to know this?). This is what my question was related to, and how we basically give up a huge part of the advantage of using a managed language. This problem can be solved almost completely by moving to an incremental/concurrent GC. With this, you no longer have to sweat the small things, and some amount of garbage per frame would be completely acceptable, even if your heap is complicated (almost a given in a complex game).

    I understand this is complicated, and we won't see something like this soon. But what is being done in this regard, and are they even talking about evolving the GC in this direction, even if some time off into future? I think it is worth mentioning once again that Java has an optional low-latency incremental GC, so it is not impossible to do this.

  • User profile image

    Am downloading video now. It is labeled as Episode 1. Does this mean that this will be a regular series? If yes, YAY!

  • User profile image

    ,ecofriend wrote

    Am downloading video now. It is labeled as Episode 1. Does this mean that this will be a regular series? If yes, YAY!

    There will probably be a second part where they answer our questions.

  • User profile image

    Awesome chat guys.
    Would be nice to see some more of this related to XNA.
    Good topics would be introduction to game dev, with the complexity increasing everyday to games techniques sometimes is hard to step into game development.

  • User profile image

    ZippyV, they asked your question at 26:48: .

    Nic, "astro turfing"? What does that mean?

    Thank you for doing this. This will be an excellent series for XNA developers.

  • User profile image

    Thanks for the great feedback on the XNA content.  Shawn and Charles will definitely be back on and there will be plenty more XNA coming your way.  Smiley 

  • User profile image

    Astroturfing = fake grass-roots :)
    This video was disappointing for me. If you know anything at all about XNA you don't need to watch this. You should put in the description (or better yet in the questions thread) that they won't be able to talk about future versions so we know there's zero chance of anything interesting being disclosed.
    Even the stuff about GC was just a sampling of Shawn's standard chat on GC in XNA - which if you're really interested in you should watch his MIX10 presentation instead. Of course he can't  mention of whether they are ever going to improve the GC in the compact framework.

  • User profile image

    great to see more xna stuff. moar plx Wink also directx Smiley

  • User profile image
  • User profile image

    @rhm: fake grass-roots. Hmm. I don't understand the connection between a question on managed optimization strategies and myself Smiley

    I thought this interview was informative and well worth the time spent watching it. Seems you're asking for things no product group will address since future directions tend to be moving targets - it's not a good idea to share a plan with customers that is not yet final or realistic.... Remember Longhorn and WinFS? Smiley


  • User profile image
    Shawn Hargreaves

    Hey there,
    Yes, we're obviously limited (in fact pretty much limited all the way down to zero :-)  in how much we can talk about vague unannounced future plan type stuff. General discussions about possible hypothetical tech directions are often ok, but usually end up being so vague that they aren't really interesting, and when it comes to specifically announcing things that we will do in the future, well, that belongs to the marketing folks who like to plan the disclosure out nice and carefully, and would get rather upset if Charles and I stole their thunder!
    Plus, the smoke still hasn't entirely settled from shipping our last major version, so we don't entirely even KNOW what we'll be doing next...
    But there are tons of things we can talk about in the present without needing to mess with the future. What's in XNA Game Studio today, how best to use it, general game making techniques, graphics programming, creating game graphics, how to make sounds, game design, Xbox stuffs, Windows Phone stuffs...  All good fodder and I hope they'll have us back sometime to talk more about such things!

  • User profile image

    @rhm: what questions doyou want answered? 

    If it is on XNA future stuff, as both charles and shawn pointed out, they can't talk about.

  • User profile image
    Jeremiah Morrill

    I already got Silverlight supporting XNA (, but really we want WPF <---> XNA UI compositing :) ...

  • User profile image

    we want to know about future stuff. i dont think niners are looking for a commitment on future plans from a c9 interview. niners want to know what the teams are thinking about. whats the bleeding edge.

    but if you're asking us to ask the questions you want us to ask, that im pretty sure you're out of luck. niners resist editing Smiley

    tutorials are great though, i'd like some more tutorials and informational videos on both xna and directx. but from an interview like this, people will enevitably want to know about other things than v.current.


  • User profile image

    Cool video. I was aware of XNA years ago but now it's back on my radar -- sounds great.

  • User profile image

    Great show. Would be happy to see somthing similar again!

  • User profile image

    Looking forward to more XNA shows on channel 9 Big Smile

  • User profile image

    Great interview and a lot of valuable information, I love the .NET programming related stuff. Thanks guys – Wills @ nonstick cookware set

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