Several of the talks delivered by Microsoft employees at the February 2008 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco have been posted for download on MSDN. The .zip files available for download include recordings of the talks and the slides that were presented at the talks.
The following are summaries of the talks and links that can be used to download the presentations delivered by folks on the XNA Community Gaming Platform team (the team that works on the XNA Game Studio product family):
Playing games by yourself can be fun, but it’s far better when you can play with others, whether cooperatively or head-to-head. Creating multiplayer games using XNA Game Studio, however, requires networking support in the XNA Framework for both Windows and Xbox 360. And that support simply wasn’t there…until now! With the release of XNA Game Studio 2.0, we have augmented the XNA Framework to include support for networked games. Come learn about networking in the XNA Framework, what is supported and what’s not, and how you can enable multiplayer support in your games.
This talk is for programmers who want to understand how the XNA Framework works on Xbox 360, and the implications for writing high-performance code. The talk explains when and why the framework transitions between the Xbox user and supervisor modes, and why should you care. The talk also presents best practices for writing efficient graphics and math code, how to use multiple cores to parallelize your game, and which XNA Framework APIs can be called while doing so. Finally, the talk demonstrates what tools are available for investigating performance on Xbox 360, and how Windows tools can help you understand Xbox 360 performance issues.
Speaker: Frank Savage
This talk is for those who want to understand the inescapable performance consequences of the managed programming method: the things you cannot avoid and the things you can. Comparing and contrasting the consequences for the .NET Compact Framework and the classic .NET runtime, the talk explains the reasons for these overheads, the benefits they provide, and what practices minimize the associated costs. Additionally, we discuss some commonly occurring costs, such as boxing, that aren’t inherent to all managed code, and we offer some tips for minimizing those costs.
Extending the Content Pipeline
Speaker: Frank Savage
The XNA Framework Content Pipeline allows developers to use Visual Studio to build their art into resources for use with the XNA Framework and XNA Game Studio. This talk covers how to create new importers and processors using C# to extend the functionality of the Content Pipeline as well as how to debug these importers and processors using XNA Game Studio. We go in-depth into the creation of the code for the importers and processors and do hands-on debugging of the resulting processor and importer to give the audience a clear idea of how to work with and extend the Content Pipeline.
Advanced Debugging with Managed Code
Speaker: Matthew Picioccio
XNA Game Studio offers a robust debugging experience that can greatly enhance a developer’s ability to investigate a game as it runs. Developers of managed games have many debugging techniques at their disposal, but not all of them are self-evident. This talk covers advanced debugging techniques useful to game developers, including demonstrations of powerful IDE debugger features and other tools provided by Microsoft.
One question resounds as more and more developers discover the productivity gains from XNA Game Studio. How do you make money from the games you create? This talk offers a sneak peek into the XNA Arcade Extensions to Game Studio 2.0 along with details of how professional developers can take advantage of XNA Game Studio to produce commercial games.