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XNA's Future


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#1 Xanather   Members   -  Reputation: 701

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:36 PM

I just don't understand Microsoft. XNA was probably one of .net's greatest contributions. Lately however Microsoft have had no news on XNA and the XNA team seems dispersed.

During Microsoft's //build/ so far I think XNA has had no official mention, except for attendees actually asking the speaker themselves on the future of XNA, their reply is always indirect. You know what the funny is though? Almost half of the questions asked in the game design event were related to XNA http://channel9.msdn...uild/2012/2-106.

Microsoft should hurry up say something something about this issue.

I don't get it! What has the game developers response to XNA not done to not impress microsoft? Did they think XNA would be used for AAA games or something, obviously that would not happen. Why stop XNA?

XNA will not be included in the WP8 SDK.

I am currently developing a desktop game in XNA, but will most probably move it over to MonoGame which is the only thing backing me up at the moment. I will definitely do it once MonoGame has the content pipeline for XNA.

What do you guys think about the future of XNA?

Edited by Xanather, 31 October 2012 - 11:39 PM.


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#2 Tasaq   Members   -  Reputation: 1076

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:28 AM

I've heard they are planning a new XNA or something alternative for Windows 8, but how true is that I don't know...
Time will show, be patient :)

#3 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3535

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:20 AM

be patient Posted Image

Years are passing.

It was obvious from the outside that XNA came from a small, mismanaged team, who didn't have a lot to work with. It was someone's pet project, and the company never really fully got behind it. People at MS have said that there were lots of politics, and a lot of their programming product teams were not co-operating with each other. It shows.

The Creator's Club subscription model was poorly thought out, and ass backwards. A lot of people in the MS customer support didn't even know what it was. Payments were constantly late, and numbers were missing. Game reviews relied on other gamers testing out and reviewing them before they could go up, because no one could bother hiring staff.

XNA got bastardized every time the marketing guys wanted to push something different on us. They added Zune support, wrote a bunch of stuff about programming for it, and then got us excited to all go out and buy Zune HDs. Then they quickly yanked the Zunes from the market and killed support for them in XNA. Way to pull the rug out from everyone. Anyone who spent time, money, and effort trying to do a good ZuneHD game got burned badly.

Then when Windows Phone 7 came out, they changed up the API again, and the 360 suffered for it. "Hey guys, remember those things the Xbox 360 GPU could do really fast in hardware? We dropped support for it so the API fit in better with WP7. Here's a new slow way to do it in software".

Then the team all got re-assigned to different projects, and stopped talking about XNA like it never existed.

So why be patient and why even bother?

When XNA existed, no one at MS knew what it was, why it existed, or where it was going. It was all reactionary, and the users got jerked around constantly. Years have passed, and MS still has nothing but bullshit answers to hand out. They only ever used XNA to treat like guinea pigs to test all their half baked ideas. I know the API team members cared about it, but the company as a whole didn't.

Go and use a stable API that knows what it wants to be and where it's going. Use an API that exists for the purpose of making software, and not product pitching.

Edited by Daaark, 01 November 2012 - 09:22 AM.


#4 Xanather   Members   -  Reputation: 701

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 11:19 AM

Thanks for the reply Dark. Do you think MonoGame will evolve beyond XNA 4.0? Otherwise should I just dump my project and try reconstruct it in SharpDX?

#5 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3535

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 11:44 AM

No comment? I never followed MonoGame. When it first came out, it was a reactionary API to counter the announcement of XNA GameStudio. Looking at the site now. has it matured to not being a 'me too' OS alternative to XNA yet?

I don't know what C# APIs are viable at the moment, other than say, Unity3D. I know there are lots of framworks that wrap up OpenGL and DirectX, but as far as I know, they are just hobby projects and can disappear, or be discontinued any second.

Edited by Daaark, 01 November 2012 - 11:46 AM.


#6 saintgimp   Members   -  Reputation: 130

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:21 PM

I have no special insight into XNA but I worked at Microsoft for many years and I can pretty much guarantee that XNA is dead and will never be coming back. When a project goes dark like this it's because it's been abandoned by the political power structure and no one will touch it. There's no reason for anyone to burn political capital in order to try and save it, even if they wanted to. The reason why we're not getting a clear answer is probably because it's been abandoned so thoroughly that there's no one left who even cares enough to make a statement about it. SharpDX, MonoGame, and Unity3D are all viable alternatives and the last two have the advantage of breaking you out of Microsoft jail so you can go cross-platform.

#7 Tasaq   Members   -  Reputation: 1076

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 12:56 PM

In my case I used XNA as a 'toy' to gain some knowledge, and then I moved to a 'naked' API. I chose openGL. I really don't care right now what will happen to XNA, but if something new appears I will definitely check it out. I would suggest as people above, if you want to stay with C# go SharpDX, MonoGames or SlimDX.

#8 Aurioch   Members   -  Reputation: 1055

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 05:54 PM

In my case I used XNA as a 'toy' to gain some knowledge, and then I moved to a 'naked' API. I chose openGL. I really don't care right now what will happen to XNA, but if something new appears I will definitely check it out. I would suggest as people above, if you want to stay with C# go SharpDX, MonoGames or SlimDX.


I'm currently in this position, using XNA to gain sufficient knowledge before moving on to something else.

I wanted to ask about Monogame... its libraries have same structure as XNA? Meaning that I can freely convert my projects to Monogame once content pipeline arrives without modifying too much to become compatible?

#9 MikeBMcL   Members   -  Reputation: 172

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 06:04 PM

Several things. First, XNA is in the WP8 SDK. And if you want to write Windows Phone games that target WP7 and WP8 hardware then XNA is the only real option since the DirectX stuff is WP8 hardware only. If you want to develop XNA games for Xbox or PC then you need to download the WP7.1 SDK and the WP7.1.1 update to it. Second, XNA 4 didn't throw Xbox games under the bus. Off hand, the only thing that Xbox lost from 3.1 to 4.0 was 8192x8192 textures. As long as your switched to the HiDef profile you could do everything else (and a lot of it even got faster since they batched up state changes rather than pushing them one-by-one to the GPU). And if you look at the API changes made to XNA 4, they seem clearly designed towards moving XNA's guts from DX9 to DX10/11. But it seems extremely unlikely that that will happen at this point. If I had to guess why, I would say it was a combination of too many studios and developers being unwilling/unable to move from C++ to C# (due to experience, familiarity, libraries, tool chains, etc.) combined with the new Windows Runtime accomplishing all the sandboxing without the requirement to use C# and .NET. At this point it seems that DirectX 11+ and Windows Runtime are the future of the MS game development stack. XNA is in some sort of maintenance mode. It remains a good tool for teaching the basics of game development, but as most of the game development world can't or won't move away from a core of C++, anyone who really wants to get into the industry will need to learn C++ and DirectX/OpenGL eventually anyway. And there will continue to be projects like SharpDX, SlimDX, and MonoGame to keep things alive for developers who do want .NET game development.

#10 Xanather   Members   -  Reputation: 701

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:19 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. After reading everyone's comments I will probably continue to create my game, eventually port it over to MonoGame. After I finish that I will move onto C++ and DirectX in the future (because obviously as MikeBMcL mentions, any serious game programmer will eventually learn that).

Xanather.

Geese my hatred towards Microsoft is slowly building...

Edited by Xanather, 01 November 2012 - 09:25 PM.


#11 Xanather   Members   -  Reputation: 701

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:23 PM


In my case I used XNA as a 'toy' to gain some knowledge, and then I moved to a 'naked' API. I chose openGL. I really don't care right now what will happen to XNA, but if something new appears I will definitely check it out. I would suggest as people above, if you want to stay with C# go SharpDX, MonoGames or SlimDX.


I'm currently in this position, using XNA to gain sufficient knowledge before moving on to something else.

I wanted to ask about Monogame... its libraries have same structure as XNA? Meaning that I can freely convert my projects to Monogame once content pipeline arrives without modifying too much to become compatible?

That is correct. As long as your game does not go down and access any of the windows OS functions then it should be easily portable. I think in the new MonoGame 3.0 99% of the XNA framework has been reconstructed. I ported a older game I made to Mac OS X with MonoGame 2.5 and it worked well Posted Image.

Edited by Xanather, 01 November 2012 - 09:24 PM.


#12 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3535

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 10:23 PM

Why use a API that is 30% of an abandoned API, and missing the only feature that gave it a leg up in the first place? Might as well use bindings for a mature framework like SDL or something similar. The allure of XNA was the Zune/360/Windows compatibility. Any framework can set video modes, and draw graphics.

Actually Mike, XNA 4 did remove XBox 360 features, such as point sprites. It was bullshit reasoning to do so, because the 360 hardware was static. But they abandoned that, because they were busy looking forward to their next half baked idea, WP7.

but as most of the game development world can't or won't move away from a core of C++, anyone who really wants to get into the industry will need to learn C++ and DirectX/OpenGL eventually anyway

Engine and system level development is in C++. 'Most' of the game world programming game logic in scripting languages for their engines or doing other tasks. There are many tasks in game development.

Edited by Daaark, 01 November 2012 - 10:33 PM.


#13 phil_t   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2480

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 10:48 PM

My opinion: XNA is a great API, very well-designed (especially XNA 4.0), and apparently very popular. XNA 4.0 did mess some things up by removing some functionality (though I would argue the lack of point sprites isn't a big deal). But it also fixed a lot of the design flaws in the framework, and it's good at making you fall into the pit of success. It caught on for a reason (other than because it was cross-platform).

But yes, it pretty much appears completely abandoned by MS. I used to work at MS too, and I agree with what saintgimp said.

I haven't yet used monogame, but I would hope it is the future of XNA. People have invested so much "energy" in XNA, it's got to go somewhere.

Edited by phil_t, 01 November 2012 - 10:59 PM.


#14 MJP   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8752

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 10:57 PM

Actually Mike, XNA 4 did remove XBox 360 features, such as point sprites. It was bullshit reasoning to do so, because the 360 hardware was static. But they abandoned that, because they were busy looking forward to their next half baked idea, WP7.


I remember when I was first told about XNA, one of the developers told me that in all of their profiling just drawing quads was faster than using point sprites on the 360. Not that I'm defending the removal of any features in the name of cross-platform support. PC was the platform that *really* got the shaft in when it came to cross-platform stuff, between the eDRAM emulation, lack of proper depth buffer support, and forcing floating-point textures to use point filtering just because the 360 didn't support it. It was also pretty weird that HiDef essentially required DX10-capable hardware, but couldn't support any DX10-level features.

#15 MikeBMcL   Members   -  Reputation: 172

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 02:56 AM

Engine and system level development is in C++. 'Most' of the game world programming game logic in scripting languages for their engines or doing other tasks. There are many tasks in game development.

I forgot about point sprites. But they could easily be replicated with quads (even improved upon) so it's hard to argue that anything was lost through their removal. And I saw their removal as one of many steps preparatory to moving the code base to DX10/11 (even though that ultimately hasn't happened). I do agree with PC being the least-loved platform for XNA. Anyway, I quoted that snippet because yeah I know there are other aspects of game development. But if you are planning to work in the programming aspects at all, you need only look through the job postings to see that (for the most part) people without C++ knowledge need not apply (even if you ultimately end up in a sub-discipline where you never end up writing any C++). Indeed, things like Lua interpreters written in C++ are some of the many things in the "libraries, tool chains" groups that made it impossible for most shops to consider going to C#. The expense of writing a Lua interpreter in C# likely wouldn't be too high as a stand-alone task, but add in physics, content ingestion, other ad-hoc interpreters and parsers, and everything else, (not to mention 3rd party middleware that you have little to no control over) and the costs can quickly become prohibitive. It's the same reason that people like my father are paid well to write new COBOL code (and maintain and update existing code); the existing millions upon millions of lines of COBOL code that his company has represent an astronomical sum of time and money when looked at from a replacement cost point of view but a relatively minor sum when looked at from a maintenance and update cost point of view. The same is true with C++ and game development, and that was my point.

#16 MrDaaark   Members   -  Reputation: 3535

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:52 AM

I'm guessing by your wall of text posts, that you must be the infamous bob taco? :)

#17 Aurioch   Members   -  Reputation: 1055

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 09:03 AM



In my case I used XNA as a 'toy' to gain some knowledge, and then I moved to a 'naked' API. I chose openGL. I really don't care right now what will happen to XNA, but if something new appears I will definitely check it out. I would suggest as people above, if you want to stay with C# go SharpDX, MonoGames or SlimDX.


I'm currently in this position, using XNA to gain sufficient knowledge before moving on to something else.

I wanted to ask about Monogame... its libraries have same structure as XNA? Meaning that I can freely convert my projects to Monogame once content pipeline arrives without modifying too much to become compatible?

That is correct. As long as your game does not go down and access any of the windows OS functions then it should be easily portable. I think in the new MonoGame 3.0 99% of the XNA framework has been reconstructed. I ported a older game I made to Mac OS X with MonoGame 2.5 and it worked well Posted Image.


Thanks. I'll then stick with XNA for few years until I gain sufficient knowledge about everything I need... and then switch to Monogame, and after Monogame to C++ and DirectX/OpenGL.

I'm just saddened XNA is coming to the end like this... it was API that enabled me to enter this "world" without having to study for multiple years in addition to faculty studies and studies for what I currently know. And, it was one of (rare?) Microsoft products that actually worked, regardless of background behind it XD

Edited by Aurioch, 02 November 2012 - 09:04 AM.


#18 Gavin Williams   Members   -  Reputation: 586

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

Thanks. I'll then stick with XNA for few years until I gain sufficient knowledge about everything I need... and then switch to Monogame, and after Monogame to C++ and DirectX/OpenGL.


Seriously ? A few years. I gave up on XNA last year and switched to SlimDX which kicks XNA all around the park. Don't waste any more time on XNA. It hasn't changed for 6 years now. Direct X has moved on .. 10, 11, 11.1. You can still keep learning, but learn in a more recent environment, where it's actually going to be useful. If you want to learn C++, then you absolutely should start now, coz it hasn't got the same curves that you're used to with C#. And also remember that C++ is more popular with the AAA titles, but it's not the same equation for a whole range of independant games that just don't need to squeeze out that much performance. That's why Unity is thriving. Managed code is good for independant games, I would even say preferable. If you're not sure, just take a look at something else. It took me about two weeks before I realized that SlimDX was just like XNA but better. Once you get over the hurdle of learning something new and it's particular difficulties, you start having fun with it.

You don't want to be still using XNA in 2014, from where I'm standing now, 11 months or so into using SlimDX that sounds like some kind of personal hell. Set yourself free buddy, you don't have to be tied to that ball and chain.

#19 Aurioch   Members   -  Reputation: 1055

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:50 AM

Thanks for Your advice, Gavin.

I'll consider switching earlier, but I'm not even comfortable with XNA - not in the actual game logic (for now I'm capable of replicating mechanics of existing games fairly good) but in the technical field (like InputHandler), not to mention I'm far from going into 3D. I'm not sure if I'll be able, considering I have faculty studies (which don't have connections to gamedev at all, at least for now), to invest much time into learning about new API in depth. It took me some time to learn (with understanding ofc) just the pure basics with XNA. OK, crappy argument which will be ripped apart in 1 sentence but I hope you understand what I wanted to say XD

I'm currently working on Battle City clone (1985 Namco game for NES) - I finished prototype (with one bug I'm too lazy to remove) and now I'm redoing it from scratch in order to implement Game State machine and proper Input handler. And ofc, I'm stuck for now - only material to study from is Microsoft's GSM example :/

Anyway, I downloaded Unity and will check it out. Maybe it's easier than I'm imagining.

#20 Gavin Williams   Members   -  Reputation: 586

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 12:20 PM

@Aurioch - That looks like a good project. If you've already got a game mostly written in XNA, then you could keep working on it to finish it certainly. But there is also Monogame which is based upon XNA, so that would be your best bet if you wanted to easily plug into a new framework without too much of a learning curve. It has active development and quite a following. Then you can keep working with the language that you have learnt so far. See what you think of Unity and then look at Monogame. I think they both look really interesting. Just give yourself some time to get used to them, and don't be put off by difficulties.

I love re-writing code from sratch, it always turns out a lot better. Maybe that's because I'm not such a great coder in the first place ;) And don't forget to tackle that bug this time round.




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