Over at Games Developers Conference Michael Klucher has just given the first talk aimed at wannabe Windows Phone 7 Series game developers which Shawn Hargreaves has been live blogging through his twitter account. I have collected some of the most interesting thins announced in the session below, if you aren’t a dev you may want to look away now:
- asynchronous gaming is very important to [Microsoft/team] on Windows Phone 7 Series
- two development platforms: Silverlight for apps (and games) + XNA for games (and apps)
- new features in GS4: phone support, simplified graphics API, new configurable effects, VS2010, enhanced audio support
- C# being used for many games today, not just Xbox LIVE Indie Games but also XBLA titles and Windows Steam games
- XNA Framework is designed for gaming – three years of investment in performance profiling
- phone graphics is an evolution of our existing immediate mode rendering API. 2D and 3D
- new configurable effects: BasicEffect, SkinnedEffect, EnvironmentMapEffect, DualTextureEffect, AlphaTestEffect
- custom programmable shaders are not supported on the phone
- image scaler lets you render to any size backbuffer, and have this automatically scaled to fill the screen, lets intensive 3D games boost perf by rendering at lower than native resolution, lets the same game run on both 800×480 and 480×320 display sizes without special coding, provides automatic rotation to support portrait, landscape left, and landscape right modes and (perhaps most importantly) is free: uses dedicated hardware so does not consume any GPU
- portability not just about same game running on different platforms, also valuable to share infrastructure, knowledge, etc
- framework feature profiles: Reach (broad base of devices including phones) and HiDef (Windows/Xbox only)
- call to action: download Game Studio 3.1 now and start coding!
During this event Andre Vrignaud added a post to his blog about how developers can gain access to Xbox Live in their games. Microsoft want to preserve their Xbox Live brand and service so will only allow current partners or very worthy games to access the service, however this wont stop people still creating games for 7 Series, they just wont be able to access Xbox Live.
The little I understand of what has been announced at the talk sounds very promising and it certainly seems to me that Microsoft aren’t just taking on gaming on the iPhone but also gaming on Nintendo’s DS range and Sony’s PSP. I’m not a huge gamer however I am sure that there will be some very appealing games on 7 Series when it launches and I may well be tempted into buying some. The more I hear about 7 Series the more I want it and we haven’t even had any news from MIX yet.