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16. March 2016

 

MonoGame, the popular open source implementation of the XNA game framework, just release version 3.5.  If you are interested in learning more, we have a pretty solid introductory tutorial available here.

Details from this release:

  • Content Pipeline Integration for Xamarin Studio and MonoDevleop on Mac and Linux.
  • Automatic inclusion of XNBs into your final project on Mac and Linux.
  • Improved Mac and Linux installers.
  • Assemblies are now installed locally on Mac and Linux just like they are on Windows.
  • New cross-platform “Desktop” project where same binary and content will work on Windows, Linux and Mac desktops.
  • Better Support for Xamarin.Mac and Xam.Mac.
  • Apple TV support (requires to be built from source at the moment).
  • Various sound system fixes.
  • New GraphicsMetrics API.
  • Optimizations to SpriteBatch performance and garbage generation.
  • Many improvements to the Pipeline tool: added toolbar, new filtered output view, new templates, drag and drop, and more.
  • New GamePad support for UWP.
  • Mac and Linux now support Vorbis compressed music.
  • Major refactor of texture support in content pipeline.
  • Added 151 new unit tests.
  • Big improvements to FBX and model content processing.
  • Various fixes to XML serialization.
  • MediaLibrary implementation for Windows platforms.
  • Removed PlayStation Mobile platform.
  • Added content pipeline extension template project.
  • Support for binding multiple vertex buffers in a draw call.
  • Fixed deadzone issues in GamePad support.
  • OcclusionQuery support for DX platforms.
  • Fixed incorrect z depth in SpriteBatch.
  • Lots of OpenTK backend fixes.
  • Much improved font processing.
  • Added new VertexPosition vertex format.
  • Better VS project template installation under Windows.

GameDev News ,

14. March 2016

 

Microsoft was pretty revolutionary when they launched XNA, which enabled indie developers to create games for both Xbox consoles and PCs using a C# based game library.  Then in a somewhat tragic move, Microsoft later killed it off.  XNA lived on in the form of MonoGame which is a cross platform open source implementation of XNA 4.  If you are interested in learning more about MonoGame I have already done a pretty in-depth tutorial series.

Well, that’s it for the history lesson.  Today things have gone somewhat full circle...  in Microsoft’s GDC note about ID@Xbox for GDC 2016, they announced MonoGame is coming to Xbox One.

MonoGame Support
Microsoft’s XNA programming framework isn’t supported natively on Xbox One, but there’s an open source solution for developers called MonoGame. This news is a little overdue, but we’re stoked that MonoGame support will be coming to Xbox One soon, thanks to Tom Spilman and our friends at Sickhead Games.

And we’re really excited to be able to welcome MonoGame with a bang, thanks to a partnership with another developer named Tom – Tom Happ. I met Tom at an indie dev event shortly after we confirmed that XNA was not natively supported on Xbox One, and I remember being super bummed that his game was not going to be able to come to Xbox One straight away. Well, today I’m stoked to be able to say that Tom’s game, Axiom Verge, is going to be one of the first games shipping on Xbox One using MonoGame. And hopefully that’s just the first of many!

In addition to the MonoGame announcement, they also announced that ID@Xbox is coming to Windows 10 as well as developer support for crossplay between Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.  I assume more details will come this week as GDC continues.

GameDev News

24. February 2016

 

I love C#, probably my favourite general purpose programming language at the end of the day.  In the early days however, C# was heavily tied to Microsoft’s ecosystem.  Then a little company named Ximian created a Mono, an open source implementation of C#.  At first the relationship between Microsoft and Ximian (and Microsoft and Open source in general… ) was not… great.

 

Since then, a ton has happened…  Microsoft became more open source friendly.  Ximian was acquired by Novell, then eventually spun off as an independent known as Xamarin and Mono has gone on to become the technology powering basically every single C# powered non-Microsoft title, including being the runtime behind the popular Unity game engine.  For years I’ve assumed Microsoft would buy Xamarin, especially as their relationships became cosier and cosier.  Heck I last mentioned an MSFT buyout when Xamarin bought RoboVM.  It just made so much sense to happen…

 

And it finally did!  From Scott Gu’s blog announcement:

As the role of mobile devices in people's lives expands even further, mobile app developers have become a driving force for software innovation. At Microsoft, we are working to enable even greater developer innovation by providing the best experiences to all developers, on any device, with powerful tools, an open platform and a global cloud.

As part of this commitment I am pleased to announce today that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a leading platform provider for mobile app development.

In conjunction with Visual Studio, Xamarin provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices – including iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin’s approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to build mobile apps, and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each device platform. This enables developers to easily share common app code across their iOS, Android and Windows apps while still delivering fully native experiences for each of the platforms. Xamarin’s unique solution has fueled amazing growth for more than four years.

Xamarin has more than 15,000 customers in 120 countries, including more than one hundred Fortune 500 companies - and more than 1.3 million unique developers have taken advantage of their offering. Top enterprises such as Alaska Airlines, Coca-Cola Bottling, Thermo Fisher, Honeywell and JetBlue use Xamarin, as do gaming companies like SuperGiant Games and Gummy Drop. Through Xamarin Test Cloud, all types of mobile developers—C#, Objective-C, Java and hybrid app builders —can also test and improve the quality of apps using thousands of cloud-hosted phones and devices. Xamarin was recently named one of the top startups that help run the Internet.

Microsoft has had a longstanding partnership with Xamarin, and have jointly built Xamarin integration into Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and our Enterprise Mobility Suite to provide developers with an end-to-end workflow for native, secure apps across platforms. We have also worked closely together to offer the training, tools, services and workflows developers need to succeed.

With today’s acquisition announcement we will be taking this work much further to make our world class developer tools and services even better with deeper integration and enable seamless mobile app dev experiences. The combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, and Azure delivers a complete mobile app dev solution that provides everything a developer needs to develop, test, deliver and instrument mobile apps for every device. We are really excited to see what you build with it.

We are looking forward to providing more information about our plans in the near future – starting at the Microsoft //Build conference coming up in a few weeks, followed by Xamarin Evolve in late April. Be sure to watch my Build keynote and get a front row seat at Evolve to learn more!

 

This announcement is huge.  Expect Xamarin technology to quickly become free and fully integrated in Visual Studio.  Expect Unity to eventually get a version of C# that isn’t from the stone age.  Put simply, expect the usage to C#, especially in the mobile space, to absolutely explode!

 

I’ve been waiting a decade for this news!  I look forward to seeing exactly how all of this plays out.

GameDev News, Programming , ,

21. December 2015

 

FNA began life as a MonoGame port to SDL2.  Since then it has been used to port nearly 40 games to Mac and Linux including Axiom Verge, Terraria and Dust.  Today the first formal release was announced.  The follow excerpt from the formal press release:

Details: After three years of development and dozens of commercially-released ports, developer Ethan "flibitijibibo" Lee is announcing the first official release of the FNA project.

FNA is a brand new open source reimplementation of the Microsoft XNA 4.0 Refresh runtime libraries for Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux. Originating as a rewrite of MonoGame's desktop platform, FNA features a complete reimplementation of the graphics and audio subsystems in addition to a dramatic increase in portability on the desktop. With a single FNA binary, it is possible to ship for Windows/Mac/Linux without having to recompile for each individual target.

FNA is also a complementary library to the MonoGame project; while MonoGame intends to succeed XNA 4.0, FNA intends to preserve XNA 4.0 with accuracy and preservation as the project's top priorities. With XNA-compliant code and content, a game can be running under FNA with nothing more than a new project file.

Demonstrated as production-ready through over three dozen released titles, FNA has enabled critically-acclaimed titles such as Axiom Verge, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Hacknet, Rogue Legacy, Apotheon, Terraria, and more to be deployed across desktop platforms with confidence. Along with XNA games, a handful of MonoGame titles have also made the move to FNA, including Wyv and Keep, Bleed, Wizorb, and the upcoming 1.12 update for FEZ.

HIGHLIGHTS:

- FNA is now officially released
- A free, open source reimplementation of XNA 4.0
- Windows, Mac, and Linux support with a single binary
- Already ships in dozens of games for Windows/Mac/Linux
- Developed by professional video game porter Ethan Lee

 

FNA source is now available on Github or binaries can be downloaded here. A much longer release blog is available here.

GameDev News ,

15. December 2015

 

Back in October I had the following Twitter conversation with Nat Friedman of Xamarin.

image

 

It appears that this process has begun, at least for a limited time and for published developers.  From this announcement at Xamarin:

Christmas comes early for indie game developers

Because we love seeing indie games succeed, Xamarin wants to support indie game developers all over the world in bringing their games to billions of mobile gamers. We want every indie game developer to enjoy the power of C# and Visual Studio, so we have an amazing special offer this December:

Free, community-supported subscriptions of Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android, including our Visual Studio extensions

Indie game developers only need to have published a game in any framework on any platform to qualify. We’ll use your published details to verify your indie status:

This offer is limited to independent game developers who have published a game on or before Tuesday, December 15, 2015 in any reputable public store for indie games, such as Steam, Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Windows Store, Xbox Store, PlayStation Store, or Nintendo eShop. No more than one subscription will be granted to any given publisher. This offer expires on December 31, 2015 at 9 pm ET.

 

The published title restriction is a bit of a mind twister for me…  isn’t this a matter of preaching to the choir?  Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to try and attract aspiring developers instead of a group that already committed to the .NET ecosystem?

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