Joe NalewabauXNA Shaman - XNA Team
Two recurring questions on the XNA Game Studio Express forums are:
Before I talk about the decisions our team made, I want to step back and look at the target customers for the first release and the major technology pieces we are delivering with the XNA Framework and XNA Game Studio Express.
Our target customers for the first release are game developer enthusiasts which includes hobbyists, academics (students as well as faculty) and indie game developers. From a technology perspective we wanted to deliver:
An important implementation detail we had to take into consideration is that both the content pipeline and the Xbox 360 support required extending the existing project system(s) in Visual Studio. This integration happens at a pretty deep technical level and dramatically restricted the number of project systems and versions of Visual Studio that our team could support in our first release.
The Decision Process
We knew that delivering on all of this was an ambitious undertaking when we started the project. We also knew that we would have to scope the work if we were going to make this technology available this holiday session. The team had some very challenging discussions around what to support on both the language side and the Visual Studio side. We had numerous reasons for only supporting C# and C# Express in the first release, but some major ones were:
Obviously we wanted to support every language and every version of Visual Studio, but we also wanted to get something into the community’s hands. It was important to us to gauge the overall interest in the product as well as start getting into a feedback loop with the community around the XNA Framework and the overall tool support.
We have heard a lot of feedback on this issue both internally and externally (as a side note members of the VB management team came down for a “friendly” chat with me and I lived to tell the tale :-)). When we talk to customers about potentially delaying the release of XNA Game Studio Express to accommodate these requests, we also get a lot of feedback around how important it is to deliver something now.
I know it’s obvious at this stage but just so it’s clear: the first version of XNA Game Studio Express will only support C# as a programming language and Visual C# 2005 Express Edition as a development environment.
I know many of you will be disappointed that we didn’t support your language or your version of Visual Studio in our first release. Given all the data we feel like we made the right call for this release which is but the first of many more to come. We will revisit these decisions in future versions of XNA Game Studio and in the meantime, please continue to use Microsoft Connect (http://connect.microsoft.com) to enter any suggestions around language and Visual Studio support.
Just yesterday I've listened one marketing podcast and there where a lot of complements to MS about transparency and openness to the community. Today I got one more example of this. Thanks and keep on doing great work.
I have to totally agree with the choice of C# and Express edition. Sure, as someone "with" VS2005, it would be nice. But I don't think its a major issue, and I REALLY don't think you want to force students and teenagers into spending hundreds of pounds on things when a great free tool already exists!
C# is a great language, is clean, easy to use, and gets rid of so many nast C++ things. For trying to get new people into the industry - which is the aim, it is the right choice.
While I do VB.NET programming for a living, I have no problems with using C#. That said it would be nice to see GSE eventually support VB.NET. The fact that we're even getting this kind of tool is fantastic. Kudos to the XNA/GSE team!!!
Now all we need is some kind of hooks into Live and an XNA Creator's Club Live Arcade! ;)
If you're interested in game programming and have wondered why XNA Game Studio Express is only available
My last post was over 2 years ago (but who's counting)! So what have I been up to in the last two years?