XNA Creators Club First Impressions


I am not an XNA developer by any means.  I think it's cool technology, and it's definitely going to shape the way we play games in the future.  I've dabbled with XNA a little bit in the past, but I've recently been revitalized by the announcement that this year's DreamBuildPlay competition provides free Creators Club trial memberships.  What does the trial membership provide?  It provides the user to run and debug their games on the XBOX 360.

Last night I signed up for DreamBuildPlay, and received my free trial.  The first step in the process is to download the XNA Game Studio connector.  Once this is done, you can "sync" your XBOX with your instance of Visual Studio.  I build a quick app to display some text of the screen, and provided myself the ability to move the text around on the screen using the controller.  Then press go ole F5.

There is no way to describe the experience other than this.  The XNA team had a vision of what awesome was.  However, they didn't know how to turn awesome into a product.  After months and months of thinking, debating, and building, they release XNA.  The A in XNA stands for awesome.  The X and N are just there to throw you off.  Running your own game on an XBOX is an amazing experience.

There are some issues.  First, TVs don't all display the same way.  Whereas on our monitors, the upper left hand corner is always coordinate (0, 0).  On TV's the (0, 0) mark is off screen.  This is due to over scan, and it's something I thought the XBOX would be able to accommodate for.  Not a big deal, but it does throw off a few algorithms.  I have a wide screen plasma TV, and the way my game renders on it is different than the way it would render on a 13" standard aspect.

I'm looking forward to developing more with XNA.  If you're interested in XNA, go over to the DreamBuildPlay website at http://www.dreambuildplay.com and enter.  Download the Creators Club trial, and get to writing some games!

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