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So XNA epic failed/pwned me last night.  So I wrote my great Pong game and am building an installer (which is essentially an HTML page with links to the other installs) when I learn, via Creators.XNA, that since I use the GUID namespace to create new saved games the player is required to install Visual C# Express 2005 or have full VS 2005 pre-installed.  This means, over the 3-4 already required redistributable packages, you also need to install 2 quite large components that basically install a whole development environment on a players computer.

I know the XNA dev team are hard at work on 3.0 and such so I can't imagine this getting in anytime soon (since 3.0 hasn't mentioned the redistributable including GUID).  I haven't asked for a lot from XNA other than a few nice features that weren't necessary, but this has turned me off of XNA development for the time being.  I'm sure it's all complex on the XNA team's side so I don't blame them, although this is a necessary feature that I think should be in the redistributable, at least somewhat.

Here's a programming questionnaire I grabbed from a fellow geek blogger:

How old were you when you started programming?

I was in my senior year of High School taking my first programming class as a slacker way out of advanced math.  Probably around 17-18 years old (~5 years ago).

What was your first language?

Visual Basic 6.  Then went to some web with HTML and then C# when I got to college.  Then learned C++ on my own as well as a few other unused (personally) languages.

What was the first real program you wrote?

The first program I wrote was a RPG game called Neverworld written in VB6.  It was a WinForm with drop downs and buttons used to select your attack.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?

Oh definitely.  I probably would have started game programming earlier considering I've been game programming as long as I've been programming.  I probably would have followed the same language path as well, I feel that was a good progression and constantly recommend it to new programmers. 

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?

Constantly keep learning.  The more you learn, the better programmer and overall person you will become (as long as you aren't cocky about it!).  There are a bajillion different areas of development to learn about so there will never be a point where there's 'nothing to learn'.  That and, start small, keep an achievable project scope when programming something.  This is really understood by experience but the learning tip mentioned above will really help out.

What's the most fun you've ever had ... programming?

Recently I built Pong in XNA and the AI I built was probably the lamest, most simple Pong algorithm known to man but when I was testing it there were times where the game would constantly score on me and I'd yell, "This game is cheating!"

Programming-wise, probably any time I can start a project, finish it, and look back over it.  It's amazing how you literally start with nothing and after writing a bunch of lines of text (code) you can have a fully interacting program.

Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:45 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: XNA Epic Fail & How I Started Programming

# re: XNA Epic Fail & How I Started Programming
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There's a click once installation package coming for the 3.0 framework that was announced at Gamefest. So that should make distribution for Windows a lot easier for you.

And of course, if you go the 360 route, distribution is incredibly easy there.
Left by George Clingerman on Jul 31, 2008 11:18 AM

# re: XNA Epic Fail & How I Started Programming
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Yeah that packaging is sounding nice and I like how they're improving the 360 stuff.

For someone like me who doesn't own a 360 and builds the Windows game just for a portfolio piece it is a lot for potential employers to install unfortunately.

Granted, I should've read up more in detail about GUID when I first started.
Left by Matt on Jul 31, 2008 12:37 PM

# re: XNA Epic Fail & How I Started Programming
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Hey - I'd love to go back and forth with you a bit more on the ups and downs of XNA. Actually - more generally, your thoughts on some of the must haves for engines, game dev, and distribution. Seems like you've got a lot of thoughts here!

We're coming out with a brand new free web-based 3D game engine plus surrounding community site with the hopes of solving some of the current challenges.

In the meantime - I'm loving connecting to people like you who would have a TON of great thoughts on features that are good, features that are bad, top concerns, motivations, etc.

Let me know if you wouldn't mind sharing some of your thoughts and dreams for an engine.
Left by Shanna Tellerman on Aug 05, 2008 11:05 PM

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