Many collections of lovingly arranged zeros and ones have recently wound their way through the tubes from our private development systems onto the public servers; some obvious, others maybe less so...

  • Assuming you haven't been living under a rock this last few weeks, you probably noticed that Game Studio 3.0 is out (those of you who have been under the aforementioned rock might also be interested to know: Obama won!)

  • Xbox LIVE Community Games are open for business.

  • Dream Build Play is over and the winners announced. My congratulations to all who entered this amazing crop of games. It is people like you who make my job worthwhile.

  • After you install GS3, be sure to check out the new Platformer starter kit. Brandon did a great job with this. In the past we haven't been entirely clear about whether starter kits are supposed to be complete games, or technology demos, or educational resources, so I think we ended up trying to do a bit of all three and not perfectly nailing any of them. This time around, the starter kit is exactly what it says on the tin: a good place to start when making more interesting games of your own. What's more, it has documentation! The "Getting Started with XNA Game Studio / Starter Kit: Platformer" section in the product docs walks you through the code, including tutorials on how to add powerups and parallax scrolling.

  • Our Best Practices guide contains all kinds of good advice. Hmm, wouldn't it be a fine thing if we actually followed our own advice? With this in mind, we released a new Safe Area sample, and updated the Game State Management sample to properly track which gamepad the player is using. The changes are small but significant, centered around a new GameScreen.ControllingPlayer property. The sample also now pauses gameplay if the controlling player gets unplugged. See the sample doc for details.

  • We updated the Network State Management sample with the same ControllingPlayer logic as Game State Management, plus added support for invites and trial mode.

  • For those of you who prefer their invites in a simpler, easier to digest format, we have a standalone Invites sample too. 

  • After extensive customer research, we made an amazing discovery. It turns out that in some parts of the world, people speak entirely different languages! I'm not just talking about dialects like Scottish or Texan, either. I mean like totally different. Who knew? Anyhoo, after we picked our jaws up off the floor, we made a sample showing how to deal with these shenanigans. 

  • Updated the Client/Server sample to use the new NetworkGamer.Id property. This makes the code simpler and more robust. 

  • The sky in the Generated Geometry sample was flickering on some graphics cards. This was a precision issue caused by the sky cylinder being the same size as the near clip plane. We fixed it by changing the SkyProcessor to make a bigger cylinder. I think this sample is misnamed, btw. It should really be called the Sky sample, as it provides an easily reusable way to render any texture as a wraparound sky. I suspect the name keeps people from realizing how useful it could be.

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