Silverlight games: Joy in a time of depressing news

image Oh happy days, unemployment going up, stock market going down, GM going bust, and what the heck is going on with AIG.  But the outlook for Silverlight Games, looks bright!

Let’s review a bit of the history of games as I see it.  There may be games that I talk about that you have never heard of, if so, take a look at the links.

1. A tale of two games:

There were two games that started at the same time, 1999: World of Warcraft and Allegiance, likely you have heard of WOW, and never heard of Allegiance.  WOW is most likely the brightest star of internet games, people PAY to play!  The interface uses XML for presentation and Lua (Loo-ah) for programming or scripting, which is similar to the XAML and Code Behind used by Silverlight.  Allegiance, which was started by Microsoft Research for use by academics never went far in comparison to WOW, although there is a small but loyal following.

WOW was successful because of a strong community and interesting, some say addictive, game play.  Allegiance in comparison, although completely open source, the game play is difficult to learn and not compelling because it didn’t follow a common glossary of game play.  Conclusion: WOW won because the game play was fun, the ability for the end users to build scripts using Lua and XML most likely helped with it’s success.


2. No-Charge Game Engines, these are not based on Silverlight, but if you are thinking about spending time design a game engine with others, you will need to look at them.  I will investigate these more deeply on my blog, here are my thoughts about these online game engines:


Game Play/Quality


Mech Commander



·         Game play is legendary

·         Commercial grade software

·         Good for the beginning programmer to see how the code is written

·         Designed to work with XNA

·         Plan on taking a bunch of time to get this working: I uninstalled existing DirectX and then added the down versions of DirectX, installed Mech Commander and then installed the later version

·   Uses XNA

·   VC++

·   Installation has

o   DirectX version issues

o   Takes more than 30 minutes to get it to work

·   Use WinZip to get the MSI out of the executable file that you download.  Vista extraction won’t work with the downloaded file

Dark GDK

·         Game play: None basically you got to build it

·         Uses XNA

·         Uses VC++ unless you purchase the C#/VB toolkit for around $30


·         Game Play: Lots of it

·         Great community, as long as you stay on XBoxLive (a good thing)

·         Net Rumble is a  good example of a game

·         Works with Silverlight, but limits the use of Silverlight to Windows, requires that the large XNA redistro be downloaded


Also, XNA is no cost and full featured using XNA Game Studio and C# 2008 Express!

Azure Based Games (no hyperlink)

·         Doesn’t exist, but could, are you  ready?

·         Silverlight, XNA, and so forth

·         This is neat!

Popfly Games

·         Lot’s of fun

·         No code on your machine required

·         Quick to get started

·         Community modified avatar’s and game pieces cause problems with using initial help files

·         Live ID sign in can be confusing




·         Game play difficult, but compelling

·         Game pieces can require several players

·         Think about this:

o   World of Warcraft and Allegiance started in 1999

·         Give it a shot, check out the code, the community seems to be making modifications like live chat






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