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Is XNA worth it?

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I'm making a game in XNA and I'm really liking it so far, but its a huge pain in the butt to get it to run on anybody else's computer. It requires a modern video card even for simple 2D stuff, and I have to convince people to install .NET framework, XNA framework, and update their DirectX before the game will even boot. I had previously been making games in Java and Flash, which are very easy for the user because they can be played right in the browser window and don't require installing anything. This is a big change. So, what do you think? Are the benefits of XNA really worth all the hassle it causes for your players?

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Very much depends on your target audience, if you want your auntie to play it maybe not. If you want your friends to play it, won't they be updating DirectX etc. at some point anyway?

For me, XNA is definitely worth it, though I admit the games I write at home are mainly for my own pleasure and I'm not really bothered if anyone else sees them.

Only you can make this call really.

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Look at the "bigger picture" here. Remember how long it takes for your game to be produced. Lets say... its going to take you at least 2 years to be ready to launch. Now , you have to "guess" the target market at this time.

Places like valve and ID work with "next-gen" platforms for this exact reason. They are expecting that in 2-3 years, that the tech they are targetting will become more commonplace.

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I think you are comparing two different things. One the one hand you have web based games which are limited in graphics and power being that they are run in Flash or Java. You can't get all the fancy graphics, but they usually work on the majority of computers. However you are comparing it to a normal desktop game. Go into a store and buy any modern game and you when installing it will most likely attempt to update DirectX for you. You can do similar things with XNA. If you search the forums at creators.xna.com you will find techniques to create an installer that will automatically install the .NET framework, XNA runtime, and update DirectX all in one. Then the user just runs your installer and it takes care of them.

Nobody is going to not play your game just because it installs a few DLL files and updates DirectX. It's just up to you to package it all together in an installer. Just make sure you follow the License Agreement of XNA and the other technologies. I believe they require you bundle the installer rather than just the DLLs but I'm not sure. Again, heading over to creators.xna.com might be the best idea to see how to create such an installer.

But to answer the question, yes XNA is worth it. I've done OpenGL work, DirectX stuff, and now XNA. XNA is by far quicker to get things running than working directly with OpenGL and DirectX. The Xbox 360 cross-platform abilities are very nice and will, hopefully, lead to the ability for indie studios to start creating free or shareware Xbox 360 "arcade" games. XNA is a very powerful framework and definitely worth using if you are trying to create a desktop game. For a browser game, it won't work at all for you. There is no supported way to run XNA in a browser.

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