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Interview with Community Games Developers


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#1 Xbox-Scene

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 02:49 AM

Interview with Community Games Developers
Posted by XanTium | February 28 20:49 EST | News Category: Xbox360
 
From guardian.co.uk:


We speak to the developers behind Microsoft's first batch of freely available community-developed Xbox 360 games. It's the revenge of bedroom coding!
Meet 'Walaber', developer of JellyCar, Brian Cable, responsible for Proximity HD, James Silva of The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai fame and Jeff Pobst and Michael Austin of Hidden Path Entertainment, creators of Culture.

What sort of technical restrictions are placed on XNA developers? Are there things you'd like to have done that the dev platform won't allow?
* Walaber: Well, the choice to go with C# brings with it some performance issues (particularly on the Xbox 360), which required me to do more optimization of my code than I would have initially expected, considering that the Xbox 360 is so powerful. Hopefully future versions of XNA will improve some of these performance issues.
* Brian: From what I hear, XNA is not quite as powerful as a graphics engine developed internally, but I'm just one person, not a company, and even if I spent several years perfecting a graphics engine the industry and XNA itself will likely have leaped ahead of me anyway, and I'd constantly be playing catch-up with my engine and not focusing on actually making games, which is much more fun and interesting to me anyway.
Also there's no achievements, leaderboard support, or the camera support, and I don't think you have full access to Xbox LIVE multiplayer either, but I haven't looked too much into that yet. Achievements are understandable, though, or else you'd have everyone spamming five second non-games and releasing them to the service giving whoever played them max achievements instantly anyway. But of course, I would like access to all of these features, which is why I would love to someday release the game through XBLA.
* James: C# does slightly underperform versus native code. Personally, I'd rather be coding in C#, because I'm a rotten C++ coder. If I were in charge of things, I would market XNA with the tagline "XNA: Giving Hope to Rotten Coders."
* Michael: There are some features (pointers, etc) turned off for security reasons, and while managed code can be convenient to use, it does run more slowly. For instance, every time you access a variable in an array, C# has to validate the index. In C++ there are no handrails, so you can shoot yourself in the foot, but it's generally faster. The nice thing is that more and more heavy lifting is done by the GPU, and so the impact of using a managed language is less than it has been in the past.


Full Story: guardian.co.uk(1) | guardian.co.uk(2)






#2 Havok

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 05:10 AM

IMHO.. they should allow acheivements... just make them worth 0 points so there is no abuse.

#3 h3xagram

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:34 PM

That defeats the purpose. I think it should be no more than 50 points per game (10 achievements maximum).

#4 AzBat

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 03:37 PM

There's a couple of ways they could do this. First, I haven't heard anything on whether Microsoft has provided this in the XNA tools, but they would need to provide developers a means to do achievements in the tools. This should include hooks to pop up the achievement, use an icon, associate a name, description and point value. Since Community Games are basically indie-developed XBLA games, they should use the same guidelines: 12 achievements worth a maximum 200 points.

Then are couple ways they could go next:

1) They could not allow those achievements and points to even show up on your Gamer Card and Gamerscore. The only way people would know you you got them is if you told them. The reason for having the achievements is personal gratification, but the developer would have them in place if the game ever got picked up to be a full-fledged XBLA game.

2) They could allow them to show up on your Gamer Card and Gamerscore, but they would be worth only zero points. I could live with this, but I still think the next option is much better.

3) They could create a separate Community Games Gamercard and/or Gamerscore that just shows those achievements and points. This would be the best, since it doesn't contaminate your true Gamerscore and people could go hog wild if they wanted.

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#5 MetalHead06

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:06 PM

Well technically you can add your own achievements to the game. No ones stopping you from doing that. You can have a simple 2D texture that looks just like the Live achievement one, and when a certain condition is met in your game, boom, it pops up with sound and all. In fact, there's a game that has achievements already. See here:

http://www.anchorcast.net/corefighter/

The point here I think is to make these achievements add to your gamer score. Obviously that would be a huge mess if every little game would add achievement points.

#6 bucko

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 09:55 PM

Did he ask him if the 50 on the 360 side was really worth it? That seems like a limitation to me! I know PC side is free but so should 360, for devs I mean.




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