Hi All,

I thought I would introduce myself to the BLOG-O-Sphere, my name is Mark Prentice and I’m a Program Manager for the .NET Compact Framework (NETCF) team. My responsibilities on the NETCF team include help manage GUI and the Managed D3D for Devices (MD3DM) effort. This BLOG will cover my journey of using these new interfaces to create and help others create games for devices.

First a little bit about me. I’ve been at Microsoft for 12 years now. For the first 10 years I worked in and around VBA and Office. Some of this time was spent in Access support and the remainder as a PM for the Office Developer team. I wrote a few free Access wizards, helped a few versions MOD ship and finally drove the Web Services Reference tool for VBA. I then went on to help lay some of the ground work for the new Visual Studio Tools for Office, which I think is the great step in bring modern programming language to Office based solutions. After 10 years of working with developers in Office, I was up for a change. So I then jumped to the NETCF team to help ship V1 Sp3, Sp3 and help take on managed GUI development and finally to creating games on devices, which leads me back to this BLOG.

Now some background on our managed D3D wrappers. The Windows CE 5.0 team implemented a version of DirectX for devices last year. This version of DirectX was inspired by DX8 (D3DM). It is not totally compatible but close enough to give DX C++ developers a head start on creating games for devices. It was a good first step, the only problem was it only ran with software drivers on one WCE development board. Since then D3DM has been included in Windows Mobile 5.0 OS! Now when the new Smart Phones and PocketPC are delivered based on Windows Mobile 5.0 the will at a minimum contain software D3D drivers. In addition manufacturers, like Dell, will offer hardware D3D drivers. For more information on the Windows Mobile space see: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/default.mspx also see Dells announcement for the Axim x50v upgrading to WM 5.0 at: http://www1.us.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/corp/pressoffice/en/2004/2005_05_10_rr_000?c=us&l=en&s=corp

We on the NETCF team saw an opportunity to port the DX9 managed wrappers based on D3DM to be included in NETCF V2. Now C# and VB.NET developers can quickly create managed games for devices.

MD3DM wraps all MD3DM and provides additional mesh functionality. Below is a list of the major features in MD3DM

  • Complete access to the underlying native D3DM api
  • Fixed point support (Vertex Data, Matrices, Lights, and Materials)
  • Sprite
  • Font
  • Mesh
  • TextureLoader
  • Mesh Loader (As sample code)

Instead of my going on and on about the specifics, I suggest you go out and review some of our MVP’s articles. Casey Chestnut wrote a good introduction to MD3DM at http://www.mperfect.net/cfMDX/. He also took the next step and ported WorldWind. This work is documented at: http://www.mperfect.net/cfWorldWind/

So you want to get started? No problem. Just install Visual Studio 2005 beta2 standard installed on your test PC and the Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK, see: http://msdn.microsoft.com/mobility/windowsmobile/howto/windowsmobile5/install/default.aspx

Next on my BLOGs agenda:

  • Sprite Sample
  • Description of my port of a Sprite game
  • Device specific game loop’s
  • And much more.

Disclaimer(s): This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. Some of the information contained within this post may be in relation to beta software. Any and all details are subject to change.