I've heard the XNA vision articulated as "enabling the YouTube of Games." XNA has opened up the XBox360 game console to enthusiast developers and designers, who can build games using .NET code that works not only on the PC, but also on the 360 console.
To step beyond toy tutorials (but not quite take on Halo), I needed to set a "big bold goal," so I tried to re-implement Mind Balance, a game that was originally written in .NET and Managed DirectX using an engine called Symphony, which I worked on as architect and lead developer before I joined Microsoft.
As you can see from the screenshot, the week's work was a success. The game is running now on my XBox360 at home, as well as on my laptop, controlled not with Mind Balance's original brain-computer interface, but instead with a rumbly XBox controller providing your character's balance feedback.
Along the way, I've joined the XNA Animation Components project on CodePlex, which is being led by a very enthusiastic and talented guy called David Astle.
And I also got the thumbs-up from Phil McDarby, creator of the original Mind Balance characters, environment, sound effects and background music. He also stars as the voice of the tightrope-walking Mawg.
XNA doesn't allow network access or external inputs on the XBox360, so I wasn't able to re-create the original brain-computer interface on that platform. But everything else is in there!
I had a LOT of fun. And I have heaps to say about the experience, and so over the next few days, I'm going to tell you about my first real foray into the land of XNA.
It's about time!