Wait, you can make your own Xbox 360 Games?

Turns out, Microsoft can’t seem to wait until tomorrow.  The press releases are all out, and woah, we made an announcement!

Xna Game Studio Express?  The ability to make your own games for the Xbox 360 console?  Anyone and everyone?  Game programming on the console taught in a number of colleges?

Read more about things on these links:







And sign up for the Windows beta here.

Shh.. We can’t tell anyone this yet.

Gamefest is tomorrow..

Much like Boyd (my boss) says on the XNA Team Blog, I am pretty surprised we’re here today and our announcement hasn’t been leaked yet.  Even if it was now, we’re half of a day away, so it probably wouldn’t matter anyway.

No, this doesn’t mean i’m leaking it now. :p

Although a decent number of observant people have already found things.

I can only hope everyone is as excited as I am after these next couple days. =)

Last weekday before Gamefest!

As the title implies, Gamefest is rapidly approaching.  It’s the last weekday before the conference starts next week.  Oh man, I am excited!

I’m not excited because I’m going though.  Truth be told, I’m not, even though it’s just a short drive away.  While I’m sure I would love actually being there, I have so many things to get done, I just can’t seem to pull myself away from work.  It’s pretty great being excited about what you’re doing at work.

Could it be that I’m excited because of things that will be said?  Seems likely.  I’ve seen the presentations, I’ve seen the demo’s, I know the announcements that will be made.  Shhh.. I shouldn’t say too much.  I’ve probably said too much already.

I’ve seen the future, and I can’t wait to talk about it.

Cornucopia of topics, redux…

So much has been going on, it’s hard to believe that it’s been since April since I made my last post.  Well, aside from being quite busy I was pretty annoyed at the spam I was getting before, so I guess a break was a good thing.

It’s been a while since i’ve posted though, and heck, Gamefest is right around the corner!  There are a number of presentations there covering Xna, and I’ve personally been hard at work getting ready for the conference.

In the meantime lots of other things have been happening.  David posted an entry that started a buzz thinking we were removing a lot of functionality.  I enjoy seeing the passion people display when talking about these things.  We’re trying real hard to develop a framework you’ll enjoy using.

Then you have people like the folks at Garage Games (they make the Torque engine) who are doing a session at gamefest.  They key quote from that one?

“GarageGames, in collaboration with the Microsoft XNA group, recently ported its full-featured game engine to managed code for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Xbox 360.”

Pretty exciting stuff there too.  Plus, maybe we’ll have new announcements.  That’s always exciting.

Then you have other randomness going on just in the world.  The other day I went out to Olive Garden for dinner.  The first 15minutes were spent waiting for a table, which wasn’t that bad.  It was pretty fast for Olive Garden, plus the most attractive woman I think i’ve seen was there waiting as well.  Everything went down hill from there.  While we were being seated a party of 9 showed up and were told they’d have approximately a 20minute wait.  That becomes important later in the story.

After 15 minutes of sitting down looking at the menu (really, it’s not that big), our waiter finally arrived to get our drink order (we already had our entire dinner planned out by then).. So we order everything.  10 minutes later our drinks arrive, one of them wrong.  5 minutes after that, our appetizers arrive. Those are wrong as well.  Oh, and one of them is missing completely.  So, it’s been 30 minutes, half our orders have been wrong, and we haven’t even gotten our main meal yet.  Good times!

15 minutes later the wait comes back and informs us that he had just left the kitchen and our food would be right out.  Good thing, we’re getting pretty hungry..  15 minutes later, he stopped back by the table.  He apologized profusely, but they are short two cooks, and the food will be right out.  He also asked if he could get us some more breadsticks.  We were pretty hungry, so we said sure.

15 minutes after that, he stopped by the table again.  He apologized some more.  It’s his first day, he’s overwhelmed (wait, I thought there cooks missing?)..  He doesn’t have our breadsticks, but we’re in luck.  Our food will be right out.  15 minutes after that, the manager comes to our table (he doesn’t have the breadsticks either) and apologizes.  But our food will be right out.

10 minutes later (100 minutes since we’ve arrived if you’re keepign track) our food finally arrives.  Yay!  Out of the four entrees we ordered only three show up, and two of them are wrong.  Another 10 minutes goes by before our final entree shows up.  It’s also wrong.  As our last entree arrives what do we see?  The party of 9, leaving.  They had already been seated, ordered, served, eaten, and were leaving.

After two hours of some of the worst service I’ve ever had the manager apologized a lot.  They gave us the meal for free and added a $50 gift card, but even then I wasn’t overly happy about it.  Crappy service is bad enough, but when the waiter is directly lying to us?  We never did get those breadsticks either.

ZMan also made sure people knew that he’ll cover the Xna Framework on his site once we go live as well.

I also noticed that Dave is “slowing down” his playing of World of Warcraft.  I had done the same thing due to a variety of factors, namely frustration with the end game, and the extreme amount of work I have to do.  I’ve been playing again more recently, and although I only have a small amount of time a day I can actually play, i’ve been enjoying myself again.  My current guild isn’t looking to do any big 40man raids, but we’re working our way into 20man content soon, and that’s good enough for us for now.  I’ve been playing on the Eitrigg server, and while I’ll probably regret this, feel free to stop by and say hi sometime..  You can see our guild forums @ http://www.darkcrusade.org

I must say.. I typed a lot more than I expected..  Now I guess I’ll crawl back into my hole and write some more code.. =)

Why does everyone seem to think the XNA Framework is only XBox?

In the comments section of my last post (not including the april fools joke) many people are talking about how MDX2 is ‘dead’ and they can’t afford an XBox dev kit, etc..

I’m not entirely sure where the confusion of ideas has come from.  The XNA Framework is going to be cross platform.  This means that it will run on Windows.  XBox 360 (and thus development kits) is not a requirement for using the framework at all.  You will be able to use the framework and write games for Windows even if you’ve never seen an Xbox 360 before.

While MDX2 as a name may be “dead”, many of the API’s in the framework will look quite familiar to developers who have used MDX2.  I also enjoy reading everyone discussing how much things are going to cost ignoring the facts that:

  • We haven’t said anything about availability or pricing
  • The DirectX SDK is already free

Everyone seems to be getting all up in arms by jumping to conclusions, and making a lot of bold assumptions.  At least let us announce our plans,etc before you go off predicting such doomsday scenarios..

Before you ask, no, I’m not aware of when we’ll be announcing more of the plans.  So I guess everyone will continue to assume the worst until we either verify their fears or disprove them. :p

(Edit: I can’t spell obviously)

Managed DirectX 2.0, Xna and Me…

One of the Program Managers for the Xna Framework recently started his first blog.  Unless you have the main RSS feed of this site subscribed, you probably didn’t notice his first post, which talks about a lot.

You may have also seen the ‘official’ press release announcing the Xna Framework.

If you haven’t read Al’s post yet, I suggest you go do that first.  It’s ok, i’ll wait for you to get done..

(Yup, i’m still waiting)

(You haven’t forgotten about me have you?)

Great, you’re back!  Anyway, there’s so much stuff I want to talk about and say, but I’m probably going to start rambling and forget mentioning things..  C’est la vie..

So anyways, like I mentioned last week, I’ve moved over to the XBox team and the Xna team specifically.  If you’re @ GDC this week, you might have the chance to see some of the demos we have written entirely in managed code running on both Windows as well as the XBox 360.  People have been asking me for what seems like forever if there would be managed support for the Xbox, and I guess we’ve finally answered that.

Of course, i’ve also had people tell me numerous times over the last 3 to 4 years that it is essentially impossible to write a game in managed code.  I have no idea why people think that, but obviously we disagree, and our demo’s are starting to show that (even considering the early nature of the work we’ve done).

So what about MDX2 though?  As I’m sure you’re now aware (since you *did* go read Al’s post), what is now called Managed DirectX 2 will be folded into the Xna Framework.  The assembly itself will still ship (in non-release ‘beta’ form) until we are ready to ship a pre-release version of the Xna Framework, but in it’s current form, it will never be officially “released.”

We’re working feverishly to get a preview of the Xna Framework out as soon as possible, and I’m quite excited about the work we’re doing, and the excitement people will have when they see it.  It’s also quite refreshing to have an entire team supporting in these efforts.

I look forward to talking more about some of the exciting things we’re doing in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

Busy busy busy!!

Lots of changes been going on over here recently which have been keeping me quite busy (well, more busy than usual).  I’ve recently switched groups over to the Xbox team (and the XNA team specifically), and I’m quite excited about the stuff we’re working on.

Don’t think this means I’ve “forgotten” about MDX though, believe me, I haven’t.  While i’m thinking about it though, it would be great if the people who are using MDX2 right now could contact me and give me some ideas on what you’re working on, and when you hope to ship.  I may not be able to get a chance to reply to everyone, but I’ll read them all.

This is quite the ‘exciting’ (yet overwhelmingly busy) time for me..  Like I said a few blog posts ago, we’re starting the revolution of managed code in gaming.