Feeds

MS unwraps XNA for games developers

One platform to rule them all

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Microsoft yesterday used the GDC conference to launch a development platform called XNA. This will roll out across all future game platforms - including Xbox consoles and Windows PCs.

The initiative is aimed at providing a common environment for game development on all of the platforms with which Microsoft is involved, ranging from the Xbox - and Xbox 2 - through the Windows operating system to Windows Mobile devices.

As with most such initiatives, XNA's biggest claimed benefit is that it will free up developers to work on unique features, rather than constantly re-inventing the wheel by writing the boilerplate code that holds games together on a basic level.

XNA's launch will see a number of interesting technology moves, of which appearance of the Xbox Live development toolkit on the Windows platform is perhaps the most important of these.

Developers working on Windows games will now be able to use the billing, security, login, friends and matchmaking tools which are integral to the Xbox Live service - effectively extending Live functionality onto Windows games. However, it's not clear if PC gamers will be expected to pay Live-style subscription fees for these services.

Microsoft also plans to develop a common controller reference design which will be rolled out for both Windows and the Xbox, providing a basic standard across both platforms as well as unifying the input APIs and button standards on both systems.

On a more technical level, a number of Xbox development tools such as the PIX analysis tool and the XACT audio authoring system will be made available for PC development purposes for the first time, while the High-Level Shader Language (HLSL) which was recently introduced on the Windows platform will now be ported to Xbox.

The move to unify the development environment between Xbox and Windows is likely to be welcomed by developers working on cross-platform titles, and will have even greater repercussions as Xbox 2 development kits - which are also expected to use the XNA framework - are made more widely available.

Copyright © 2004,

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.