Back on the gaming trail

A lifetime ago, I used to write computer games on my Atari ST. Then I went to university, got a girlfriend, got a job, and suddenly I didn’t have the time any more. I didn’t think I missed it much; now and then I’d get a bit nostalgic, but I’d moved on.

Then last week my old sparring partner showed me XNA.

I’d played with DirectX back in the late 90s. It was a horrible blend of Windows ugliness and C syntax, full of explicit casts and pointers. I’d put a couple of demos together, wrote my Masters thesis in it, and got some crude lightsourcing going, but basically it was back to the same old problem: no time. Certainly when most of the time was spent fighting incompatible Windows APIs. Even simple things like co-ordinates were represented differently…

So when I saw Ben’s shoot-em-up, and that it was basically 50 lines of code on top of some standard boilerplate, the bug bit me again. And bit me hard. Especially when you find out that XNA offers (for a fee) the ability to upload your game to XBox 360 Marketplace, and manage the revenue share for you.

Upshot: I’ve spent the last 2 days of commuting time converting my last project from C++ into C#. Watch this space for in-game screenshots.

I’m not usually a Windows Fanboi. This time last week I was on the verge of wiping my laptop and putting Ubuntu on it. No longer.

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