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All posts tagged "Games"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

XNA Back in Play

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 09:00 AM


XNA 3.0 is out of CTP and into beta! If those words mean anything to you, head over to the XNA Creator's website to grab the latest copy of XNA Game Studio 3.0. While this latest release still doesn't support Xbox game devlopment, the XNA team has included a number of welcome features for Zune and Windows deployment. For starters, you can now develop Zune games on an x64 Vista, use Remote Performance Monitor and take a screenshot of your game running on the device, and (I think) exit games without needing to restart. Hopefully we start to see some announcements about app distribution and end user deployment soon enough. Hexic and Hold 'Em are looking kind of lonely.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

XNA 3.0 News

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Software" @ 02:30 AM


With all the excitement of the Zune 3.0 update, it's easy to forget another Microsoft technology also at version 3, XNA Game Studio. Where last we saw the CTP (community tech preview) was compatible with the 2.5 firmware, allowing end users to create and deploy games to their own Zunes, XNA's Michael Klucher tells us you might want to hold off on updating to Zune 3.0 if you want to keep enjoying this feature, at least until they get some of the kinks worked out. As it stands now, XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP is not compatible with Zune 3.0 firmware. This will change with the new version of the CTP coming in the next couple of weeks, which will now enable you to exit games without restarting your Zune as well as a few unannounced goodies.

All upgraders to the 3.0 firmware need to manually uninstall all games on their 2.5 Zunes before upgrading. Let us know if you have any problems or experience any weird behavior with games following the updates. Personally, I can't wait to try out Hexic on my Zune, and hopefully the many other community-developed options too.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

XNA Studio 3 Goes Live!

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Content Creation & Management" @ 11:00 AM


We're not even that far into May yet but the XNA team has already made good on its promise—and way faster than I could've imagined. Yes folks, the long-awaited XNA support for Zune has arrived! Granted, this release is strictly a Community Technical Preview (CTP), but from the walkthrough ZuneBoards posted, it sure does look cool. If you're the coding type or just curious about what games would look like on your Zune, head to the XNA team blog for the full lowdown. Just watch out for the Alien Aggressors ;)

UPDATE: If you want to start making your own games, check out the official XNA FAQ on Getting Started. They've got everything from basic tutorials and modifable samples to discussions on P2P networking and network architectures. Unfortuately the Zune-specific documentation is a bit lacking at this point, but the main ideas are still there--the Zune Pad is treated like the 360's left thumbstick, play/pause to B, etc.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

XNA Preview Due in May

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Content Creation & Management" @ 03:30 PM


With all this excitement about the 2.5 update, it can be hard to keep up with the other big Zune news of the week. That's right: the preview of XNA Game Studio 3.0 will be coming out in May (Now With Added Zune Support!™). I personally can't wait to get my hands on this and crank out a test release. The only thing I'm not really thrilled about is the requirement to join the $100 XNA Creator's Club to be able to push my creations onto my Zune. And as great as the on-device main menu is now, I can see it getting crowded as more top-level menu items are added.

In the meantime, I'm going to look forward to just playing with the emulator in XNA Game Studio. Even Graham Skee has reversed his views against games on Zune (*tsk tsk*), listing 5 "must have games" that we Zuners should look forward to one day having on-the-go. He cited the great control scheme and phenomenal graphics as high points—plus the ability to use metadata and wifi as interesting new gameplay mechanics. A lot of the games he mentions make perfect sense, although I wonder how easy they'll be to see/play on such a small screen.

UPDATE: Corrected. Thanks Espiox.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Something XNA This Way Comes

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 09:30 PM


XNA Program Manager extraordinare Mike Klucher sat down with Channel 9 to discuss the upcoming XNA Game Studio package and showed a couple new games running on Zune. For the most part they seemed to run smoothly and with high framerates, but I wonder how battery life is going to hold up with these graphics-rich applications. In the video, Klucher showcases a game called Alien Takeover that's similar in concept to Space Invaders (but without a few of the Classic's elements) that just looks gorgeous.

He hinted that the "games" menu option might not be limited to just games. Developers have access to the full range of metadata within the Zune file system, and can use that to play a song in-game and perhaps even create an Audiosurf-like application that bases its levels on the rhythm of a chosen tune. He says they're a couple weeks away from release, but given that one of his 80's crashed mid-loading screen (which he blamed on multiple framework versions), I'm hoping they use these next few weeks to smooth out any potential issues. Regardless, I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

(Even More) News on Games

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 08:00 PM


Alright, you're probably getting sick of the games talk by now, but I just had to throw this in there. I've been reading the XNA forums for Zune game news, and have picked up some interesting tidbits. For starters:
  • Games can't connect to the internet (so no profiles, no RSS feeds or web browsers)
  • The firmware update will be coming when XNA Game Studio 3.0 comes out (beta in Spring, final by Winter '08). It remains to be seen whether we'll have full on-device support with the beta, or whether it'll just be an emulator by then. Says XNA Program Manager Michael Klucher: "XNA Game Studio will take care of doing what you need to set up the Zune for games."
  • Further, "The only way that you will be able to play the games on the Zune is by deploying them through XNA Game Studio."
  • And "Games cannot run at the same time as Wireless sync." I guess no Multiplayer for now... This was in response to a question about ad-hoc communication with several linked Zunes.
  • No TV-Out for games, performance variations between Zune models is negligible (save for Zune Pad, 30's can do everything their newer cousins can)
  • Unlike Xbox, a Creator's Club membership ($99) is not required to develop games for Zune
  • Games can't be sent over wifi, probably for the same reason firmware updates can't.
If you have any questions, check out the XNA Forums, and ask one of the friendly devs there. Happy gaming!

More News on Games

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Talk" @ 02:00 PM


All the excitement of an XNA on Zune announcement couldn't be dampened by the fact that there's still no official timeframe for when or if the Zune firmware is going to support the games. A lot of people have taken this to mean that it won't happen. I'm not so sure. The fact that they've got games running at full speed on actual Zune hardware—not just a demo—proves the firmware has to be at least somewhat complete. And I while I know the announcement was more about XNA than Zune, they'd have to be fools to keep from releasing this at all. So all the "take the announcement with a grain of salt" talk is certainly valid, but as XNA dev "Omega Fraud" (Paul) says, at this point they're mostly just securing the device so that no tomfoolery gets in the way of the fun.

"On a more serious note, a majority of the work we're doing in this first release is around properly securing the device and any assets on the device that need to be protected. This work integrates and extends the existing Zune security and trust infrastructure. This is similar in concept to what we did on Xbox 360 but a completely different implementation."

Check out the video from Channel 10 below:

Games on your Zune!?! What? How? When?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Deets on XNA

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 12:00 PM


After yesterday's exciting announcement, a lot of questions were still left unanswered. Fortunately, through the magic of internet forums, we're better able to get a sense of what's in store

To begin:

"...XNA Game Studio 3.0 integration includes discoverability and access to user’s music allowing the user to customize background soundtracks or create real-time visualizations... [Also] the ability to have multiple Zunes wirelessly engage in an ad-hoc gaming experience."

And now for the juicy details. Head over to the XNA forums for the full scoop:

  • All Zunes (4, 8, 30, and 80) will get this update, but it seems that only the 4, 8, and 80 will be able to use the touch support, for obvious reasons
  • Games can't be sent wirelessly to a friend, but multiplayer is available through the wireless functionality—finally, useful!
  • Games are limited to 16 MB for all code and content, and due to hardware limitations only games in 2D (though SpriteBatch) are supported.
  • .ccgame files aren't supported in the preview release, but they're coming (a.k.a. you can't create your own games just yet)
  • Users can select their own playlists and music to be played in the background, but DRM (Marketplace) tracks need not apply. Must be a DRM protection mechanism.
  • Still doesn't connect to Xbox Live, but we're getting closer!
  • XNA 3.0 is expected to be in preview by the Spring, and they'll release the final version in late '08.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Games coming to Zune...Whaa?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune News" @ 04:30 PM


It's not like we haven't seen this coming, but now Microsoft has made it official: XNA games are coming to Zune!

"Details are sparse at this point, but it looks like it's going to be second gen Zunes only, since it was specifically mentioned that it'd take advantage of the touchpad controls."

What's cool is that it appears that the games will be using Microsoft's community-friendly XNA framework, which from my limited tests has been a blast to play with. It's incredibly newbie friendly, and tutorials exist all over the web. I can't wait for this to come to fruition.

Tags: Games

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