September 26, 2006

[XNA] XNA and VB

One downside about having a ton of different topics in your blog is that it is very difficult to extract out meaningful data from search queries. For example, none of the queries currently hitting my site account for more than 1.2% of the total queries.

That said, some items are bubbling to the top. People want XNA. XNA-related queries currently account for more than 30% of the search engine queries that hit my site.

The number one XNA-related query is "xna vb." I think that speaks for itself, but I think it's more telling that "xna vb" has four times as many people looking for it than they do for "xna basiceffect" (essentially the fixed-function replacement inside the XNA Framework), has almost as many queries as all of the piracy-related search queries that hit my site (quite a lot, really), and has twice as many queries as people looking for Vista compatibility information.

Something tells me that the XNA team may want to rethink their message. Right now, the message being communicated is "We're aware of the VB problem, and are looking at ways to solve it." The message isn't that there's a VB problem...the true message is that VB is the market.


guyal said...

Coming from Java/C++ Land, and semi-happily hacking thru C# on my way to XNA bliss, I'm tempted to argue with you that VB is not somehow in big demand here, since I have some sort of mental block against VB formed somewhere around version 3. But I figure that MSFT sees C# as the future, and has been in the habit of backhanding VB developers lately (XNA looks like a case in point), so I wish you VB types well in XNA Land, secure in the knowledge that my C# education won't go to waste!

I'm tempted to say that if MSFT really wants to "Bring Game Development to the Masses", VB would be an excellent language to support, except that current Visual Basic is - I'll wager -pretty far removed from the old 1980s "Basic is the language of the masses". Java-like C# would be about as easy to learn at this point...

Michael Russell said...

My counter-argument would be that both should be equally supported.

They need C# to be fully supported in order to be taken seriously by the professional game development community. C# has made major inroads inside professional game development companies over the last five years for use with tools and even prototyping to a limited extent.

That said, the majority of the "hobbyist game developers with money" would would spring $800 for XNA Game Studio Professional are the VB crowd.

Even though I can code in C++ with ease and happen to enjoy some of the language features in C#, I still consider myself a VB guy. I probably always will. Even though VB has evolved far from its roots, it just feels friendlier as a language.

guyal said...

All in all, my pro-C# stance is probably a point in your favor. As in, I've invested substantial time in learning C# and my first reaction is "Guard that investment!" You'd like to guard your investment, too, and we're not talking about some corner case like J++. Seems like it wouldn't be too hard for a small group from MSFT's VB team to create equivalent VB libraries and templates for XNA. I'm just positing that MSFT might have made some larger business decision to back their "anti-Java" at the expense of VB...