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The Kiwi's TaleWitchBlasterDerelict Blow Stuff Up


Yikes, it has certainly been awhile since I last posted here.

Over the last couple of weeks or so I have been quietly tinkering with C# and the XNA framework. Today I finished the 2D tutorials from the Creators Club, and got some much needed tuition from some friends who are far more versed in C# than me. Now I am really starting to enjoy it, and I know this sounds incredibly fickle given my previous failures with C++/Ogre, Unity, UDK etc etc, but I think I may have finally found my migration path away from the Blitz family.

I think the reason why I am not struggling too much with XNA, whereas I never made much progress with either Unity or UDK, is that XNA is purely code. I struggle a bit with working in a 'wysiwyg' type environment and have better success when dealing with hard coded absolutes. (Even in some of my Blitz games I procedurally generated meshes in code that could have easily been made in a 3D modeller!)

I had to get myself an XBox 360 controller for Windows and got a real kick out of the Force Feedback function. I can't quite explain it, but after messing around in Game Development for over a decade there was something magical about having a piece of hardware move in response to a line of code I had written for the first time.

That said, I haven't liked everything about the XNA framework. I prefer things to be as simple as possible with the bare minimum number of lines used. About five lines of code are used in the tutorial for simply finding out whether or not a particular button had been tapped, in Blitz3D a simple 'keyhit()' function would have sufficed. Also apparently there isn't a built in solution to gimbal lock (Being able to rotate freely on all three axes) without using quaternions, which was one of the major reasons why I ditched DarkBasic for Blitz3D. And of course, it doesn't have a built in solution for heightmapped terrains, which I like to use for most of my games set outdoors.

So, I am quietly planning to build a library to resolve these issues, with the basic goal of bringing everything I love about Blitz3D toXNA. Other then that, my ideas for XNA projects include a port of Witchblaster (Just to get comfortable with the framework, though a silverlight port would be nice), a port of Blow Stuff Up, and ultimately a port of Derelict. Hopefully on the XBox Live Arcade!