Sunday, 17 February 2013

Project Shield

The guys at NVidia have been working on a awesome project: Project Shield. It is a full size game controller with built-in screen and runs an Android OS. This means that Android developers will be able to target the Shield when developing too. It looks like you will have to use the Tegra tools to target the device. More info can be found by clicking the links below:

Project Shield:
NVidia Zone In (more info on Tegra):

I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on one, but it looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer for it to be released.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Microsoft Abandoning XNA ... say it ain't so!!!

I was very excited when I heard about XNA. The thought of Microsoft producing a toolset that would enable anybody to develop games for the XBox sounded like a dream, but there it was: XNA. Add into that the fact that Microsoft bought a 3D modelling company called Caligari and my excitement became unmeasurable. My imagination went wild with the thought of this well crafted game development toolset which included and 3D modelling and animation tool seemed too good to be true. Unfortunately, it seems it was too good to be true. After Microsoft bought Caligari, they shelved whatever plan they had for it, but XNA kept going.
With version 4 you were able to develop for WIndows Phone! Super Exciting!! I went to a Windows Phone development camp and was blown away by the power of the Windows Phone emulator that emulates the full accelerometer, etc. Tie that in with XNA Game Studio 4 and the sky seemed like the limit. Again my imagination ran wild with thoughts of developing games that would sync between your XBox and your Windows Phone so that if you left the house, then you could carry on the game right where you left off. In short I imagined GAMING NIRVANA!
Now for disappointing news through LinkedIn (here is the link: that Microsoft is going to end XNA. That makes me very sad :( I went to the Developer Hub and all seemed normal there, but there was more of a prescence for Direct X. Direct X was only a mention in the downloads section previously as you needed the Direct X SDK, now it has it's own section. There has been talk on various forums about the demise of XNA. I think that this was prompted by the fact that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 came out and there was no XNA version 5.
But what does a life without XNA mean? Something has to be brewing with Microsoft as I can't imagine them dumping Indie Developers (some of whom who have made good money for themselves and Microsoft) like that. My imagination is spinning about a game engine toolset built around Direct X at it's core. Giving this kind of engine away for free would put Microsoft in direct competition with Unity, UDK, Torque and other engines out there. But to gain big popularity, then it would have to be capable of supporting OpenGL as well so that it could be adopted on other platforms (but maybe Microsoft wouldn't care, and that's fine by me).
Anyway, something is coming. The XBox 720 (or whatever it will be called) is on it's way, and hopefully it will support DirectX 11. Phones are getting more and more powerfull and even the first Windows 7 Phones, like my LG Optimus Quantum, had a seperate CPU and GPU for added gaming power. Microsoft-based tablets are finally a reality (I know we've had them before, but with Windows 8 and new processor & storage technology they are better than before) now with Windows 8, which also runs under Direct X 11 (yes, even on the Surface RTwhich has the CPU/GPU NVIDIA Tegra chip (I just checked on my Surface RT to confirm)). So SOMETHING has to be brewing. I'm a big Microsoft fan, so my view is biased, but they can't miss out on the opportunity to do something great for the Indie Developers and the gaming community at large. Maybe the time is not for sadness, but renewed excitement. I await the coming months with baited breath, how about you?