XNA, what the heck is it?

This is a discussion on XNA, what the heck is it? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Like the topic says, what is XNA? I've tried looking through the XNA website XNA Creators Club Online - home ...

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    Hail to the king, baby. Akkernight's Avatar
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    XNA, what the heck is it?

    Like the topic says, what is XNA?

    I've tried looking through the XNA website XNA Creators Club Online - home but since I'm downloading full speed at the same time it's slow as hell, so I havn't been able to surf through it freely :S

    Anyways, from what I see and read, it looks like it's some WYSIWYG editor? I know it supports Xbox 360 and Windows and some Zune(?), and it does interest me if it's a 2D game engine, but NOT if it's WYSIWYG...
    Also, I tried looking for some documentation on "What is XNA" still, I found nothing... Is it C++ at all?

    Thanks in advance!
    Currently research OpenGL

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    Hail to the king, baby. Akkernight's Avatar
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    C# -.- ....

    Is there no such thing for C++? Like, easy support for Xbox 360 and other Microsoft products?
    Currently research OpenGL

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    XNA is just microsofts latest attempt to corner the development market using a proprietary only product. Their claim that it saves time by 'freeing you from having to write boilerplate code' kind of falls on deaf ears. What it really means is that you have to completely rewrite all your boilerplate for XNA.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    People have made games using it so I think it's useless to ridicule it. It's not an attempt, they actually made a framework which can be used to make games for their platform. It's no different than Apple Iphone's platform, opengl, or directx.
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    Quote Originally Posted by indigo0086 View Post
    People have made games using it so I think it's useless to ridicule it. It's not an attempt, they actually made a framework which can be used to make games for their platform. It's no different than Apple Iphone's platform, opengl, or directx.
    It does validate abachler's point. If you want to use the XNA technology, then you would have to rewrite from ground-up your entire engine or at least most of it to port it to XNA.

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    you would have to rewrite only if you've written something in the first place. If you're a developer with a new project, and picked XNA, it wouldn't require porting anything because you are starting from scratch. And if you did port, and had not chosen xna, but opengl or ogre3d, it would be no different.

    It's another platform, while they may claim it's better most companies with a product hype it up despite the fact that it may not be "The best" (Whatever tha is worth). I think it's useless to ridicule that aspect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by indigo0086 View Post
    you would have to rewrite only if you've written something in the first place. If you're a developer with a new project, and picked XNA, it wouldn't require porting anything because you are starting from scratch. And if you did port, and had not chosen xna, but opengl or ogre3d, it would be no different.

    It's another platform, while they may claim it's better most companies with a product hype it up despite the fact that it may not be "The best" (Whatever tha is worth). I think it's useless to ridicule that aspect.
    Except had I chosen OpenGL or Ogre3D, there is a shot in the dark that my app might actually run on more than one operating system, and be available to a wider range of devices.
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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus_Hugger View Post
    Except had I chosen OpenGL or Ogre3D, there is a shot in the dark that my app might actually run on more than one operating system, and be available to a wider range of devices.
    And since converting OpenGL code to/from DirectX is mostly trivial choosing DirectX would also let you port to linux easily.

    But .... if you got suckered into investing in XNA you are in a state known as 'vendor lock-in'.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    But XNA makes no allusions to being a universal API like Opengl. It's made to create games for the xbox 360. It's a person's personal choice if a person wants to make games for it and if they do they should be smart enough to know that their game won't be ported to linux (unless the .NET framework is ported as well). Getting suckered has little to do with it. I think you're being a drama queen.
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    But XNA makes no allusions to being a universal API like Opengl. It's made to create games for the xbox 360. It's a person's personal choice if a person wants to make games for it and if they do they should be smart enough to know that their game won't be ported to linux (unless the .NET framework is ported as well). Getting suckered has little to do with it. I think you're being a drama queen.
    I do not believe XNA's primary purpose is for retail XBox 360 games. If that is indeed it's goal it has failed miserably.

    XNA has not yet been taken seriously by any major game companies that I know of. At the last E3 Gamasutra reported that most, if not all, the companies they asked either shrugged it off, said they had no plans to switch, or said nothing at all.

    It really does come down to what abachler is talking about. If you choose to switch to XNA you may run into huge issues or you may not. But the very fact that you might is probably scary enough for a well established company that has been using C++ to not even try. Risk is huge and risk is scary. Is it more risky to maintain your existing code line and constantly refactor and improve it for future games or is it more risky to completely re-design it from the ground up....using a completely different language and API.

    I would say from my very limited professional experience that changing languages as well as APIs would be extremely risky. There is also another caveat here. Those companies most likely hired their core engine staff long ago and they are probably C++ gurus. If they did switch to C# it means a lot of retraining and even then just because someone is great at C++ does not mean they are equally as great at C#. It's a huge decision and probably one that existing companies are just not willing to make. It is hard enough making it in the games industry as it is without throwing in more huge risks like switching languages and APIs. Another item is performance. Granted it may perform just as well but it's not the fact that it might perform just as well it's a question of will it perform just as well. Again more risk that major companies are probably just not willing to take. And don't be so sure that some of these companies have not tried C# and XNA secretly in-house just to see if it would work. Honestly I bet some have and may be working on it as we speak. But if they find it doesn't work then they will probably never try it again for a very long time.

    Also I'm a bit disconcerted by Microsoft's recent decisions to pull portions of their API completely out without so much as a warning. They pulled DirectMusic and sound acceleration out of DirectX and Windows. Thankfully not many were using it to begin with but now you can see why. They would have had to port their systems over to Miles, OpenAL, Ogg Vorbis, or some other API to maintain functionality. Companies don't like to do that if they don't gain anything from it. New development without new functionality is not always the easiest thing to get approval for.

    Now if new upstart companies take the risk and it works then you may see C# and XNA creep in slowly bit by bit. I don't see it happening for some time but it could. In order for XNA to be completely accepted it has to pass many tests firsts and so far it hasn't had the chance.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 04-18-2009 at 12:08 PM.

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    I meant the Community and independent 360 games
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