Posts Tagged ‘xna’

I’ve been a fan of XNA for some time now. I first discovered it years ago when it was fresh and still going through growing pains, but even then it was a pleasure to use compared to other 3d development engines out there. I continued to use it for various PC based projects, one in particular a 6 player robotic simulation for high school students participating in a competition. In each case, it leveraged the strengths of C# for rapid development, while still meeting the needs for performance quite well.

I followed XNA as it became popular for the indie crowd, giving folks a chance to get on the Xbox360 with their creations. XNA was then ported to Zune. I nearly bought a Zune just because of that fact.

Come early 2010, and Microsoft announced the Windows Phone 7 platform, and lo and behold, one of the available development languages for it was XNA. I downloaded and tried the development tools immediately. Just as always, it was easy to pick up, well organized, and with my background I was able to port some of the older samples (the RPG starter kit) to WP7 with ease.

The emulator is a dream. Go through the slow launch process once, and it is ready to roll. Launch from Visual Studio, and you’re app is on the phone in no time. Made a mistake? No problem, use Visual Studio’s impressive debugging tools to track the problem down. Unfortunately, you can’t edit and continue (as is true of any device using compact .NET), but the emulator lives beyond its debugging session, and once you’ve fixed you’re problem, launch it immediately in the emulator again with just a few seconds of delay.

Performance? Astounding. The Emulator actually uses your PC’s video card to accelerate the graphics for XNA apps, so it runs great. You are comepletely within the environment the actual phone devices are in, so your code will run the same on the phone as for the emulator. Ok, not exactly… the emulator does not emulate the hardware under the hood, so it is wise to do testing on a phone. but in my experience, I have had very few problems I caught on an actual device than I couldn’t have caught in the emulator.

So here we are, a sweet set of tools, a new platform with promise, and a marketplace strategy that promises to focus on Developers, Developers, Developers.  A cross platform toolset that allows you to develop for 3 screens: PC, Windows Phone 7, and the XBox 360.  And oh, did I mention XBox Live integration?  That’s right, you can earn achievements on your phone, with the large number of
XBox Live titles planned for launch.

An Xbox Live integrated device in your pocket?  With a wi-fi or 3G connection anywhere?  With an impressive resolution screen, multitouch interface, and 3d hardware acceleration?  Oh boy do I want one.

I will be a first adopter, but I’m ready to get wet, because a wave is coming.

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