Microsoft XNA

I went to a .NET BC meeting at BCIT last night on XNA. XNA (no it doesn’t really stand for anything) is a Microsoft framework that meshes with .NET and provides specialized support for writing games in C#.

To be honest not really something I’ve been that interested in however it looks quite handy. If you install Visual Studio Express and add XNA studio you can be writing and running games under XP or Vista for free. For a relatively insignificant amount of money you can run your game on an unmodified Xbox360. They’ve also got support for Zune coming soon.

Pat McGee showed us how easy it is to churn out a couple of 3D objects moving around and showed us some of the sample applications that Microsoft supply – which looked pretty amazing. They also provide a number of skeleton games which you can use to build your own application on – for instance a space combat game, a role-playing game etc etc. All you need now is a bright idea!

I ran into Charlie, my old tutor from COMP2690. We had a good old natter after the presentation. He asked me how I’d enjoyed COMP2691 and we discussed the way the tutors are revising the .NET related courses. Some really good ideas coming down the pipeline for the fall or winter terms.

Oh, and get this… a lecture theatre with about 50 people in it and they had 8 items to give away in a draw at the end. The girl sitting immediately in front of me won something, the guy sitting immediately behind me won something and Charlie, sitting immediately to my left, won something. Me? Who’s usually really lucky at this sort of thing? Nothing! Ha – I guess things even out eventually!

10th July 2008 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Computers from junk

I bought an apartment when I first lived here. I still have it now and rent it out. I was over there this morning doing some work and, as I left, I saw an enormous pile of stuff stacked up beside the dumpster.

On further investigation I found a full dinner service, set of speaker stands, a PC, keyboard and LCD monitor and a dozen mice (no – the ones with buttons on silly!). It’s amazing the stuff people throw out. I took most of it to the nearest thrift store (one block away…) but brought the PC home.

A spot more investigation revealed a Sony Vaio PII-400, 1.6GB, 192MB. OK, a heck of a long way from a powerhouse but fully functioning, neat mini case and a matching and working LCD monitor too with integrated speakers.

I’ve had to up it to 256MB RAM and I’m prepping a 40GB drive to put in there. We have a PII-350 which runs Xubuntu perfectly well for casual browsing and email so I think I should be able to do the same with this one.

28th June 2008 at 5:29 pm 1 comment

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