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Sponsored Feature: Games for Zune with XNA Game Studio 3.0
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Sponsored Feature: Games for Zune with XNA Game Studio 3.0


May 2, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3
 

Audio

Obviously, Zune excels when it comes to audio playback. The game has access to the music libraries and can present menus that enable you to pick the music you want to hear with the game. You also have the option of leaving the “music” channel alone. This means whatever music you were listening to before the game will continue to play during the game! You can whip up your own favorite playlist for a game, start playing the playlist, and fire up the game while you listen. The game will mix in its own sound effects with the music from your playlist. Zune sound effects are much easier to play than they are on Xbox 360 and Windows. Since the XACT audio engine isn’t available on Zune, the simplified Zune sound API replaces the audio capabilities available through XACT. We modified the content pipeline to take a number of audio formats and convert them to single sound effects that the game can just fire and forget, using the new API.

The good news here is that the new audio API eventually will be available on Windows and Xbox 360. This means you can build the same game on Windows and Xbox 360 as you built for Zune—and it should just compile and work across platforms! Maintaining cross-platform compatibility is a big deal to the XNA Game Studio team. You could build a 320×240 Windows application that doesn’t use the 3D API and uses the new audio API, and it would recompile and run on Zune just fine.

Storage

The Zune devices all have a fair amount – 4 GB at least – of offline storage available for games, saved games, levels, and so on. Even so, as a game creator, you probably don’t want to grab too much storage because the player very likely will use Zune for media playback as well. Once again, keep in mind these storage APIs look and feel exactly like their Windows and Xbox 360 versions.

Networking

Since every Zune has built-in wireless, it would be tragic indeed if you couldn’t use this to play multiplayer games against other people with Zunes. To avoid this tragedy, we provided on the Zune the exact same network APIs that we built for Windows and Xbox 360. You can write multiplayer games for the Zune that use the equivalent of SystemLink. Then you can discover other games running nearby, create lobbies, add/remove players, and build a peer-to-peer or client/server multiplayer game as easily as you can build it for Windows or Xbox 360. Of course, there are caveats to this. The first is that Zune devices connect only to other Zune devices – they cannot connect to Windows or Xbox 360 devices. Zune also has no Internet/Xbox LIVE capability built into it, which means you cannot connect to games by using LIVE. Other than that, everything else works. You don’t even have to be in a Wi-Fi enabled setting because the Zune devices will build up their own ad-hoc network as they find each other!

When?

Zune users want to know when they will be able to build games on their Zune devices. The good news is that, in mid May, we’ll be releasing a Community Technology Preview (CTP)! Be sure to check http://creators.xna.com for information on downloading it. This CTP will support developing games on any retail Zune device. The CTP is free and will also feature a sneak-peak at our support for Visual Studio 2008, which the CTP requires. Of course, we support any version, including Visual C# 2008 Express Edition.

Nearly all of the final Zune API functionality will be in the CTP, so you shouldn’t have much trouble building the game you want to build. As always, please feel free to provide hints, ideas, and suggestions for the final release. You can do this either through the forums or through the Connect database. So, if you want to make games for the Zune using the CTP, the only thing you have to pay for is the Zune device itself. And you already have one of those, right? ;)


Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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