I just came back from Gamefest 2007 with Mark Zielinski and I must tell you, it was cool.
Over the last year I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of you who've asked some really good questions about XNA Game Studio Express. The 2 major ones when it comes to the technology have been "What about network support on the Xbox 360?" and "Does it work with all versions of Visual Studio 2005?" These questions have been answered with the announcement of XNA Game Studio 2.0 coming out later this year. The next version will indeed work with all version of Visual Studio 2005 and you'll be able to write games with matchmaking network feature that connect over XBox Live or Games for Windows Live. That means you can even write games that allows an Xbox 360 game to play against the same game on Windows. Head over to the XNA Creators Club site (your best source of information regarding XNA) for more details and a video of the the keynote.
Another request I got very often from hobbyist game developers is what tool can I use to make my 3D models. Softimage announced the availability of their Mod Tool 6.0 that integrates in XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 and provides you with many cool features like animation. Check it out.
On top of these great technology news, the winners of the Dream-Build-Play competition were announced and a Canadian developer split the first place with another developer from the US. David Flook built Blazing Birds in 4 months all by himself and I can tell you that Mark and I spent a bit of time playing this game and it rocks. We'll have an update soon to this post with a podcast interview Mark did with David.
Mark also got a few more interviews, always asking the questions we heard from you guys.
Mark chatted with Steven about his past work with Half-Life and Counterstrike besides others, the changes in the animation industry over the years, higher level of industry specialization these days, and the barriers to entry of rookie animators in a game development team. He also tried to garner some info about Halo 3 🙂
Questions Mark posed to Mark include "What's going on now that Forza 2 is released?", "What was the size of your development team before the release to market?", "What were some of the challenges you faced toward the end of Forza development?", "What can beginning game designers do to ensure that the features that are most important to them make it to the final cut of the project?"
Some of Mark's questions included "Do you do any work with XNA?", "What games available on the arcade right now have been channeled through you?", "What kind of issues do you have to deal with to get a game published? Licensing, family content?", "What sorts of things should developers avoid or do proactively to increase their odds of having their game published?" BTW This is done while David is engaged in a fierce Halo 2 battle. Talk about dedication 🙂