Two Gaming Notes

I’m way behind on blog reading as well as writing, so maybe other have covered these, but I feel compelled to mention them anyway.

Microsoft XNA is an odd name (we sure have a fascination with the letter ‘X’) for a very interesting looking game development platform. You can check out the videos to see some idea of the capabilities, but trust me they’re pretty impressive (of course, they are pre-rendered – I wanna see them render in real-time on my machine). In addition to the graphics capabilities, they’re bringing Xbox Live to Windows. And the FAQ implies that the XNA will be part of the DirectX SDK & Xbox XDK, meaning that there won’t be any additional cost for it. I wonder how this toolkit will impact the non-industry programmer. i.e. can I use it to make 3D games?

I’ve blogged before about my interest in machinima – which is frankly why I’m interested in XNA. Now, Lionhead studios and Activision is coming out with The Movies, a simulation game where you get to manage a movie studio. What’s cool is that you can actually make little movies (according to the FAQ, average length is between 30 seconds and three minutes, but you can make full-length movies if you have the patience) Horror movies and westerns have screenshots, but you can make sci-fi, action, comedy, romance, thriller and romance movies as well. I don’t get much game time these days (I’ve gone back to work my way thru the original Splinter Cell before buying Pandora Tomorrow) but I know this is one I’ll get as soon as it comes out.