March 7, 2005

Microsoft XNA Studio

Link: WorthPlaying, GamaSutra Interview

Let me see if I'm reading this correctly. XNA Studio will be Visual Studio 2005 Team System, plus the DirectX SDK, plus tools like PIX and some extra libraries and support for a "universal" asset file format called XIF. XNA Studio is meant to be a one-size-all tool for all members of a development team.

So here are my questions:

1) What kind of financial hit are we going to be seeing? Visual Studio isn't exactly cheap. Most studios barely have enough licenses for their developers. Given that the art tools generally run a good $5000+ per desktop, can you really see cash-strapped developers spending an additional $1500 per desktop just so that their artists can handle asset management? I can't.

2) Are we going to be forced to use XIF, or can we write our own view plugins to natively support our own file formats? So far, Microsoft does not have a winning track record with 3D file formats. What's the last retail game you can mention that shipped using the .X file format? Hell, at home, I just wrote a .MD2 loader in VB. In games, you quickly find that for your content people to do their best work, it's best just to work with their native format and convert where necessary.

3) Are you going to keep Visual Basic 2005 and C# 2005 in XNA Studio?

4) You say that you're targeting the "bedroom developer" as well. Just remember that bedroom developers are running on sub-4-digit budgets, not 4+-digit budgets.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

How is the the development cost for new platform different from the current one in regards to Visual Studio?

Anonymous said...

Ah well, it's not like I'm very knowledgeable about the subject, but being one of those so-called 'bedroom developers' (and a Dutch one at that), I was quite happy to be able to get a legal copy of MS Visual Basic .NET 2003 for just 30 euro's (came with a book). If the new version is going to be 1500 dollars / euro's, I think I'll be learning Java next or something, since I just can't afford that. So you could say I share the author's concern about the price of the next Visual Studio version...

Matt Williams said...

On number 4, for the "bedroom developer" there are the Express lines of the product.....when released, they are expected to be very low cost.....
Check out http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/vcsharp/default.aspx

Michael Russell said...

The interview made it sound like they were targeting XNA Studio at the bedroom developer, not the Express SKU.

Anonymous said...

The prerelease version of Visual Studio C# Express 2005 seems to work just fine with the DirectX SDK. Express should be available for a low cost when released.

XNA looks like it is an optional tool for developing DirectX, not required.

Anonymous said...

First of all I believe the tool is targeted at the game developer industry, not at home users. See

XNA FAQsFurther, companies do not purchase software the same way home users do. There are volume licencing agreements which offer large discounts when buying alot of copies of microsoft products.

One guy mentioned that he bought VB.NET for 30 euros, that won't change. XNA is not the new replacement for all microsoft's development products. In fact, a lower cost version of individual programming tools by microsoft will be comming out soon called Express versions. Check out msdn.microsoft.com

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, the .NET Framework SDK is a free (albeit large) download, and it includes all the compilers (C#, VB.NET and now C/C++) then you can use something like SharpDevelop as an IDE. As far as art tools go, you might be able to get away with the Gimp, or even Paint.NET.