From games to telephones

From games to telephones

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After six years working on XNA, I decided it was time to take on a new challenge.  I am moving to the Windows Phone team, where I will be working on things I'm not sure how much I can say about here  (leaking future business plans on MSDN might not be the best way to endear myself to my new boss :-)

Writing this post is a bittersweet moment for me.  I'm excited by what the future holds for Windows Phone, and looking forward to my chance to be part of that, but also sad to leave a team and product that have given me so much satisfaction.  There'll be no going back once I hit that Publish button a few minutes from now...

I feel an urge to wax nostalgic about some of my favorite times with XNA:

  • Staying up all night to watch Michael purchase the first ever Creators Club subscription.

  • The first Dream Build Play competition, when we got to see the first actual games made with our technology  (Dishwasher FTW!)

  • On stage with Mitch at Gamefest, where I wrote a network game 'from scratch'  (if you ignore some minor snippet cheating :-)  in less than an hour.  I'm still blown away by the fact that our APIs were simple enough to make this possible.  Also amazed that the demo actually worked, considering what an unstable early build we were using!  Unfortunately there is no video of this, and the slides don't do it justice since the whole point was the live coding demo.

  • On stage once more at MIX, demonstrating XNA graphics on the new Windows Phone with a frighteningly last minute demo cobbled together just a few days earlier using a hot-off-the-presses build of XNA on an even more experimental frankenbuild of the phone OS.  Then rushing back to my hotel room to blog about the new features coming in XNA 4.0  (which, modesty aside, I still think is some of the best design work I have done to date).

  • Trying to decide, of all the lines of code I have written in my life, which one has been executed the most times?  I think it must be the default SpriteBatch pixel shader.

  • Last but not least, spending time with y'all on forums and this blog, where I got to know so many great people and see the amazing things you create.

I'm not yet sure what this means for my blog.  I want to keep writing, but will probably cover more general graphics and game development topics, and will obviously no longer have inside scoop on XNA implementation details.  I'm also not sure how much time I will have for writing, especially in the early months as I settle into the new job, but I will do my best.

Ok, I'm off now to meet some new people and learn my way around a whole new product.

<nervously excited>

  • Good luck Shawn! And great work on XNA, I hope we can continue seeing you at least for 5 mins in the Summit :)

  • Good luck, Shawn! And thanks for your hard and great work in XNA.

  • Congratulations Shawn!

    Thanks again for agreeing to be the techincal editor for my first book.  You went above and beyond and I really appreciate it.

    I was at that Gamefest talk where you coded the networking demo from scratch.  I was jotting down notes like crazy.  It took me about 5 chapters in the second book to try and capture what you did that hour.

    Looking forward to hearing what all you are into (that you can share) later on.  Again, congratulations!

  • Congratulations Shawn, thank you for your great work and everything you shared! Looking forward to hearing from the Windows Phone side of the fence. :)

  • Good luck, and one more "thanks again" for all of your help and hard work over the years!

  • Best of luck Shawn, thanks for all your articles over the years.

  • Congrats Shawn!

    Your blogs have been the single most useful gamedev resource I've found, and written so even I can understand them. I've learned gamedev tricks & best practice from you more than any other source.

    I've bookmarked so much stuff here, and every time I go back and reread them I still pick up new things.  I hope you can keep the blogs going, even if unrelated to XNA. Maybe you could archive all your posts somewhere perminent (special section on the App Hub perhaps?)

    Best of luck Shawn.


  • Best of luck and all that, don't want to be too morose about it but can't help but feel it's slightly emblematic of the slow decline of MS interest in XNA generally, if that's not too melodramatic a statement.

  • Good luck with your next project, it was great to meet you and I hope you won't become a stranger...

  • Thanks for all your work on the framework, on your blog(s) and the forums. You'll really be missed. Thanks for teaching me so much! Best of everything for the new job! Cheers

  • I think this is great news for WP!

  • Good luck in ya new job matey. It was a pleasure working with ya in the past on the Xbox and chatting in the forums. Maybe it will happen again in the future who knows.

  • Good luck.

    Great news!! I'm sure I will learn WP7 from you a lot, like I learned XNA.

  • Best wishes for the future and here's hoping your enthusiasm for a platform really lends itself well to the Phone Team.

    Look forward to your phone blog :D

  • Congrats and best of luck with the new position!  Your help and articles has been invaluable over the years, and while I will miss you on this end, I know you'll be a great asset over there!

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