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>

  • Best of luck Sean - you will be missed!

  • Goodbye Shawn, you will be greatly missed. But the new opportunity does sound thrilling!

  • Good Luck!

  • I have been a silent reader here for about a year, reading a few of your articles/blog posts before that. I will miss your XNA knowledge, you have helped me become a better programmer. I will miss your XNA related articles and hope you continue this blog with little bits of information about Windows Phone 7.

  • Sad to see ya leave the XNA team, as much as I've openly disagreed with path XNA has taken, there is far more about it that I really liked (else I wouldn't be using it). If it wasn't for your work on XNA and your dissection of various techniques, it's very likely I'd never have learned as much as I have about rendering tech, which is my passion (or obsession). You have my heartfelt thanks for sticking with XNA for so long, and best of luck with your new endeavors.

  • Good luck Shawn (not that you'll need it), the Phone team will benefit immensely by having you on board.

  • Shawn, thanks a lot for your contributions. You've done a remarkable effort giving us all some glimpses of the inner workings of the framework, the hard-to-find information that links all the pieces of the puzzle together.

  • hope we still get the remainder of "temporal anti-aliasing" (motion blur) that you were leading up to in your prior blog entry! ;)

  • i will miss you shawn

    you are number one here allways helping out people out with there problems

    we are sadly allso swicting to android the othere to member of my team whant this becourse we can not see the future phone and tablets

    and it is impossible for a small part time team to maintain 3 different code base aka c++ - c# custom shaders - c# no custom shaders

    so i have to follow or else i can not bring my dreams to life sorry

    i have ask the otheres about hand over a little demo of "the shawn effect xbox 360" and it is comming to you starting 2012 as a go away present

    Best of luck


  • Thanks for the great job you did on XNA.

    For the presentations and advice.

    Wish you all the best!

  • It's good to know that someone on the Windows Phone team will have an XNA & DirectX gaming perspective rather than just a Silverlight business-apps perspective.  Look forward to using whatever it is that you create!  Good luck!

  • Congratulations, Shawn. As someone who discovered the world of graphics back in the days of Allegro 3.x, I can only wish you the best of luck with your endeavours!

  • Oh no...I just read a load of horror stories about MS dropping XNA for Win Phone 8 and now find out that the go to source / blog on XNA dev team has left for Win Phone 8 (which i hear uses native c++/dx for metro). I fear the last few years of my spare time have been wasted as my game engine and first game are almost ready :( ahhhhhhhhhhh. i know it'll run on win phone 8 (as xna apps supported), but still another tech ive invested time into that might dissapear. say it isnt so!

  • LOL! Unequivocal proof that these last few months Shawn has actually joined Google X!

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