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GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

Last post 5/22/2009 5:02 PM by Barkers Crest Studio. 204 replies.
  • 3/24/2009 5:00 PM

    GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    There have been rumors flying around for months, and we let some of this out yesterday, but here's the official information:

    XNA GDC 2009 - Media Blast
    The media blast contains a summary of all the announcements in one place.

    XNA Press Site for GDC 2009
    This page contains fact sheets, screenshots and other media related to the announcements. You'll find all the up to date details for XNA Game Studio 3.1, Dream Build Play 2009, XNA Community Games, Professional XDK Development and Kodu information.

    Enjoy! and discuss away - we'll be here all day answering questions.

    Thanks,
    Sean Jenkin for the XNA Team!


  • 3/24/2009 5:04 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Awesome! Thanks! You guys rock!
    a notification for consumers when changes are made to purchased Community Games titles

    Yay!
    Developers receive 70 percent of the revenue generated for their game

    Yay, actual numbers!
    Several Community Games top sellers will be taking home more income from four months of sales than the average U.S. citizen earns in a full year.

    Holy Crap!
  • 3/24/2009 5:04 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Press Release:
    Community Games developers will be able to include customized Avatars, which have quickly become one of the most popular features on Xbox LIVE, and professional Xbox LIVE Arcade developers will be able to release game add-ons like episodic content and include LIVE Party functionality making playing games a social experience by letting gamers seamlessly play and chat with their friends online.
    Does this mean Community Games don't have access to the LIVE Party stuff? What exactly does that mean for us developers? Are users that are in LIVE Parties not allowed to stay in their party while playing the game or does it simply mean our games can't query their party for data and information?
  • 3/24/2009 5:06 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Nick Gravelyn:
    Does this mean Community Games don't have access to the LIVE Party stuff? What exactly does that mean for us developers? Are users that are in LIVE Parties not allowed to stay in their party while playing the game or does it simply mean our games can't query their party for data and information?

    We'll need clarification on this, but I know from extensively testing my LIVE games that you can definitely be in a party while playing. (Unless they'd take that away for some reason?!?)

    Really cool, lots of interesting stuff to read!
  • 3/24/2009 5:09 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    UberGeekGames:
    Nick Gravelyn:
    Does this mean Community Games don't have access to the LIVE Party stuff? What exactly does that mean for us developers? Are users that are in LIVE Parties not allowed to stay in their party while playing the game or does it simply mean our games can't query their party for data and information?

    We'll need clarification on this, but I know from extensively testing my LIVE games that you can definitely be in a party while playing. (Unless they'd take that away for some reason?!?)

    Really cool, lots of interesting stuff to read!
    I think it means that there will be more support. Like we can access the party information, etc.
  • 3/24/2009 5:11 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    FortisVenaliter Productions:
    UberGeekGames:
    Nick Gravelyn:
    Does this mean Community Games don't have access to the LIVE Party stuff? What exactly does that mean for us developers? Are users that are in LIVE Parties not allowed to stay in their party while playing the game or does it simply mean our games can't query their party for data and information?

    We'll need clarification on this, but I know from extensively testing my LIVE games that you can definitely be in a party while playing. (Unless they'd take that away for some reason?!?)

    Really cool, lots of interesting stuff to read!
    I think it means that there will be more support. Like we can access the party information, etc.
    Well it sounds like XBLA devs will, but the press release sounds like that's only for professional developers. I'm just hoping we can get clarification on what that little chunk of text means for us as community devs.
  • 3/24/2009 5:13 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Check this line out from the XNA Game Studio Fact Sheet (with my own emphasis):
    Fact Sheet:

    ·         Even more new features. XNA Game Studio 3.1 will benefit from new improvements and new partner products from Autodesk and GarageGames. Additional features include video playback, XACT3 and new audio APIs that will work better in fire-and-forget scenarios, XNB automated serialization, multitargeted Microsoft Visual Studio support that will allow developers to build and deploy Visual Studio games in either XNA Game Studio 3.0 or 3.1, and a notification for consumers when changes are made to purchased Community Games titles. Finally, with XNA Game Studio 3.1 Xbox LIVE Arcade developers will be able to provide game add-ons such as episodic content.

    Woo-hoo!

    [edit]: Now this is interesting:

    XNA Facts N Stats:

    Several Community Games top sellers will be taking home more income from four months of sales than the average U.S. citizen earns in a full year.


  • 3/24/2009 5:19 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    The initial summary may be a little confusing. Here's a quote from the XNA Game Studio Fact Sheet, which you can find on the Press page, that should give you a better idea of what LIVE party support we're providing for community game developers in Game Studio 3.1:

    ·         Invite friends. Now developers can take advantage of even more Xbox LIVE multiplayer features, including Xbox LIVE Party. With this feature, developers can let players create a virtual party and connect their friends to their favorite entertainment, easily send in-game invitations and play a game with up to seven other friends.

  • 3/24/2009 5:32 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Nick Gravelyn:
    Press Release:
    Community Games developers will be able to include customized Avatars, which have quickly become one of the most popular features on Xbox LIVE, and professional Xbox LIVE Arcade developers will be able to release game add-ons like episodic content and include LIVE Party functionality making playing games a social experience by letting gamers seamlessly play and chat with their friends online.
    Does this mean Community Games don't have access to the LIVE Party stuff? What exactly does that mean for us developers? Are users that are in LIVE Parties not allowed to stay in their party while playing the game or does it simply mean our games can't query their party for data and information?


    Nick,
    As UberGeekGames quoted, take a look at the XNA Game Studio Fact Sheet.

    The Live-Arcade-only feature is isolated at the bottom of the sheet. That is game add-ons.
    That means community games developers can benefit from Live Party functionality.
  • 3/24/2009 5:35 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Glad to get some clarification, though you may want to fix the text in the press release Word document (the one I quoted) which definitely does sound like only pro developers get access to the party stuff. Of course, given you'd probably have to run that by MS Legal again, I'm not expecting that to be updated. :)
  • 3/24/2009 5:36 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Several Community Games top sellers will be taking home more income from four months of sales than the average U.S. citizen earns in a full year.

    Take that, nay-sayers!

  • 3/24/2009 5:40 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    What is the average earnings for the US, about $60k?


  • 3/24/2009 5:41 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    gamasutra has a page with info here
  • 3/24/2009 5:45 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    I wonder when we'll hear more? Reading those docs just got me even more excited and impatient!
    Those CG developer Xbox add-on thingies that look like they hook onto the top of the hard drive look really cool. Maybe with them we get better information about crashes, other than Code 4 or Code 3? (and maybe they come with cool XNA decals too, like in the screenshots? :-) )

    Anyways, keep up the awesome work XNA Team!
  • 3/24/2009 5:46 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    UberGeekGames:
    I wonder when we'll hear more? Reading those docs just got me even more excited and impatient!
    Those CG developer Xbox add-on thingies that look like they hook onto the top of the hard drive look really cool. Maybe with them we get better information about crashes, other than Code 4 or Code 3? (and maybe they come with cool XNA decals too, like in the screenshots? :-) )

    Anyways, keep up the awesome work XNA Team!
    The XDK's are the professional developer kits for signed developers, they are not for community games development.
  • 3/24/2009 5:48 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Fritz:
    What is the average earnings for the US, about $60k?


    Median appears to be around $50K as of 2007 - http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/012528.html
  • 3/24/2009 5:55 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Jenkmeister:
    The XDK's are the professional developer kits for signed developers, they are not for community games development.

    Thanks, I just read that in the article that was linked. Oh well...

    That article answered a lot of my questions! So we will get to create customized animations for Avatars. One thing - the article said you'd need to export skeletons from Maya - is that the only way? Couldn't I export Armatures from Blender? (Maya is a bit out of my price range, unfortunately!)
  • 3/24/2009 5:56 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    This is great! Can't wait to see what entries ppl. submit to the DBP2009 compo!

    I remember watching Kodu at PDC08 in LA, and how it amazed many of the developers in the hall :)

    Keep it up, and keep us posted, XNA Team!
  • 3/24/2009 5:59 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Nick Gravelyn:
    Does this mean Community Games don't have access to the LIVE Party stuff? What exactly does that mean for us developers? Are users that are in LIVE Parties not allowed to stay in their party while playing the game or does it simply mean our games can't query their party for data and information?


    The party APIs are exactly the same for Community developers as in XBLA.

    There isn't actually a ton of new functionality here, though. In fact you can already do parties today using Game Studio 3.0. The majority of the party system is handled for you by the Guide UI, and it communicates with the game by delivering invites, so if you make a multiplayer network game that supports invites, you already support parties "for free".

    The new APIs add some extra richness that can make a more polished user experience, but you don't have to use them for basic party support. The new stuff covers:

    • Some new Guide.Show* calls for bring up Party related screens (optional, since the player can get to these same screens by pressing their Guide button)
    • A SignedInGamer.PartySize property, so you can detect whether or not you are currently in a party
    • A LocalNetworkGamer.SendPartyInvites method, which you can call after creating a session to invite all the members of your party to join it (again optional, since the player can do the same thing via the Guide)
  • 3/24/2009 6:04 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    UberGeekGames:
    So we will get to create customized animations for Avatars. One thing - the article said you'd need to export skeletons from Maya - is that the only way? Couldn't I export Armatures from Blender? (Maya is a bit out of my price range, unfortunately!)


    Possibly... it all depends on whether you can get the avatar skeleton into Blender. The animations need to be made with the right skeleton for them to play back properly. We haven't yet figured out exactly what formats we will be able to ship that skeleton in: we're working on as many as possible, but might not get anything more than just Maya (which is what exists today). Of course, even if we don't end up having time to convert into more formats, someone else who has Maya might be able to do that based on the skeleton that we provide.

    If you don't have the resources to create your own animations from scratch, you also have the ability to play back the set of animations that come built in to the system. These are mostly only useful for quiz game type scenarios, though: they include various stands, idles, waves, happy jump up and down, girl checking her nails, etc, but not gameplay type stuff (there is no walk, run, jump, etc). Useful if you just want to render the avatar in a menu, but not so much if you want to integrate them into a 3D game world.

    You can also do hybrid approaches. The player for the built in animations is separate from the avatar renderer, so you could grab the current matrices by playing back a built in animation, then modify them to do IK stuff (for instance turning the head to make the avatar look a particular way) before you render it.
  • 3/24/2009 6:10 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Okay. I can do animation fine (I've done several shorts in Blender), so no problem there. Worst case scenario I could get someone with Maya to convert them, I guess.
    It would be very interesting to make an updated Network State Management sample with support for Avatars, wouldn't it? You could 'see' the people in the sessions!
    Shawn Hargreaves:
    You can also do hybrid approaches. The player for the built in animations is separate from the avatar renderer, so you could grab the current matrices by playing back a built in animation, then modify them to do IK stuff (for instance turning the head to make the avatar look a particular way) before you render it.

    This brings up something else. How do you actually render an Avatar? I mean, say I want to use my own shadowing and lighting engine, or a custom shader, is that possible? And if we have access to bone data that we can manually set, then it would be very easy to just copy values from a skeleton (or Armature) that was loaded separately, if I'm understanding you correctly?

    I think I need to brush up on my animation coding skills! This will be a lot of fun.
  • 3/24/2009 6:12 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Shawn Hargreaves:

    If you don't have the resources to create your own animations from scratch, you also have the ability to play back the set of animations that come built in to the system. These are mostly only useful for quiz game type scenarios, though


    I might consider making Avatar Mole Hunt since it needs no avatar animation ; )
  • 3/24/2009 6:17 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    One of those dev kit photos had XNA on it...
  • 3/24/2009 6:19 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    UberGeekGames:
    How do you actually render an Avatar? I mean, say I want to use my own shadowing and lighting engine, or a custom shader, is that possible?


    You render an avatar via the new AvatarRenderer class. This uses a simple lighting model (the same as in the dashboard) with one directional light. You get to pick the light color and direction, and specify an array of bone matrices, but you cannot use custom shaders.
  • 3/24/2009 6:20 PM In reply to

    Re: GDC 2009 - XNA Announcements

    Zenfar: XNA is for both professional and independent developers.
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