Anyway, tonight I pulled down XNA and the racing game starter kit. I just had to see what all the hoopla was about it. Holy fuckin' shit. It was neato. That racing game is so well done. It ran at 1900x1200 at roughly 45-65 FPS depending on scene complexity (also, I'd like to note that it was compiled in debug code AND running the debug runtime). Frankly that's just incredible. My poor video card fan nearly flew out of the case, it's never had to work so hard (I usually run way under that resolution). Even when it dipped down to like 45 FPS it was still smooth and playable, which surprised me, I was expecting some kind of subtle stutter.
I have no desire to create anything in XNA, and as Promit has pointed out, it's an XBOX 360 API with windows stuff as an after thought. I don't have an XBOX 360, so I'm not going to write anything for it. And I won't be getting one until they're quite unfashionable (i.e. damn near free), so that makes XNA kind of pointless for me. Plus from my first review of the code it seems very.. very.. limiting. It looks like I'd get locked into their way of doing things. Frankly, if I want to program by numbers I'll just start using gamemaker or whatever those game creation toys are called. I'd guess there are more basic classes that I could use to implement my own vision, but I'm only going by what I see here in the samples.
But overall, to bang out a game, I'd have to say it's pretty impressive. What got me most was the speed. It's nice to see .NET putting those lies about performance to rest. It goes to show, if you know what you're doing, you can pump performance out of damn near anything.