the future of directx and xna

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fireside 141 Nov 30, 2011 at 03:46

Just saw this:

http://ventspace.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/directx-and-xna-status-report/

Kind of depressing if true.

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necroside 101 Nov 30, 2011 at 23:15

Sad enough, but also A reality.
I was interested on XNA at first (I mean XNA 1.0). It’s sad to see that this is dying.

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alphadog 101 Dec 01, 2011 at 15:14

I dunno. My impression is that DirectX is not and will not get a lot of marchitecture/press loving, but it’s still there and evolving into DX11.1 then 12. To use DX, my understanding is that you’ll need to write native C++ code and run it over WinRT, which will also then allow you access to the Windows appstore. (Or stay “old school” and go through Win32, but no app store.) Games that need a performance edge will go this route over time.

Some rumors are floating of an XNA 5 for Win8, but admittedly haven’t talked about it much to others. The reason you won’t see the current XNA in Win8 essentially has to do with DirectX9 and how that would be a massive port for ARM devices. Given that the next Xbox will likely be a DX11 device, if there is XNA or an XNA-like layer for Win8/vNext, it will be a different beast than the current XNA, and will be appstore-friendly. Just my guessing right now as the silence is deafening. :)

Actually, it’s the appstore that I find most worrisome (esp. to indies) and a radical departure, if you want to deliver Metro (style? themed? sexual?) games. I’m currently quite confused by the various ways you can put APIs (and devices, notably ARM devices) together and possibly include/exclude yourself from the appstore. It’s a mess. Can you figure it out eventually? Sure. But, it’s really inelegant.

Anyways, lots will change…but slowly. Look at how slowly Win7 is being adopted and it’s not radically different, except for end-users having to chase down files and buttons placed in different places. This is a radical change for Windows, and will surely lead to even slower adoption rates than Win7 has.

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TheNut 179 Dec 02, 2011 at 02:05

DX will continue to evolve no doubt, but I won’t shed a tear if they decide to toss XNA one day. Although I can’t see that happening anytime soon due to MS tightly integrating XNA and Silverlight into their mobile platform (and soon to be / or already released for XBox). Meanwhile, MS is putting a lot of focus on the mobile market with their WP and upcoming Win8 tablet. There will be bumps on the road, but I can’t see anything major.

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rouncer 104 Dec 02, 2011 at 02:28

maybe they are running out of ideas how to improve writing directx apps.

look at displacement mapping - what a big deal they made about it but it didnt really catch on because you can just about make a textured model look just as good anyway. (look at rage for example, which has no normal mapping or displacement mapping)

With CUDA or OPENCL havent they basicly totally destroyed all limitations now? and you can almost write a from scratch rasterer - your own personal accellerated direct x… (or maybe raytracer makes more sense) with the video card.

The only thing direct x really does is open up the possibilities for parallel processing on the video card, I actually would prefer a completely empty api which simply does that, I dont need code written for me, or id probably use an engine if I did.

Maybe the future will lie in simplifying the api, not complicating it or adding more features, none of it is really needed.

If its not entirely impossible, id actually be interested in alternate gpgpu strategies other than the dx11 way (stream output geometry shaders, complex pixel shaders with lots of texture lookups- just the basic way you twist dx11 to do what you need - to get the needed video card performance)

I think maybe dx11 could be recoded with gpgpu as the head factor involved, I actually think its invention did confuse the api a little - no direct x isnt necessarily just for games, and you can accellerate more than just rendering triangles, but CUDA is basicly this no? I dont think alot of people would have thought of gpgpu, these days voxels are just as easily accellerated as triangle engines, but I remember back in the nasty old days people didnt think of that - even Ken Silverman I remember said “pity only software is allowed for voxels.” but its not true.

GPGPU is the future, and maybe there should be a new api similar to CUDA or OPENCL, maybe with more user friendliness in mind? - I have to admit accessing the 3d(!!) core arrays is a little confusing in CUDA, maybe theres some easier way to go about abstracting the video card (which isnt necessarily just for video computations, so even that is a poor term these days.) into a programmable language.

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Stainless 151 Dec 02, 2011 at 09:32

Please don’t start another discussion about the future of XNA, I got involved in this one (http://forums.create.msdn.com/forums/t/91616.aspx) and you can see what happened.

As far as we know, XNA will be supported on mobile devices for some time, how long that will be is an unknown.

XNA will not be supported on windows 8, except on x86 systems, and then only in legacy mode.

DirectX is set to continue, with DX12 being supported on windows 8, at least for desktop devices (tablets …. guess, I don’t know)

The focus for all manufacturers now seems to be HTML 5 with some sort of 3D api on top, even though the only one that is currently available is WebGL, it’s not looking like that will be the standard.

In short (too late) it’s a mess.

Nobody, even in Microsoft can give a clear description of the environment we will be asked to support in two years time.

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wolfotron 101 Dec 03, 2011 at 01:40

Interesting how the most “depressing” part of the article is seemingly the “DirectX has been demoted to a standard, uninteresting Windows API just like all the others”. Well… Filesystem management is uninteresting and boring and I can’t see it being disposed of. I think this is actually great news.

I want the platform I’m developing for to be as boring as possible and as transparent as possible. That would just mean to me that the framework is mature. I don’t want my potential customers even to be aware of existence of a thing like DirectX. It’s supposed to be “Windows” for them. Don’t worry. Neither DirectX or file system support isn’t going anywhere any time soon :)

About the XNA - it’s a very neat framework for .NET games and I doubt Microsoft is going to stop supporting .NET any time soon. Unless they have something better / easier to enter up their sleeve.

There’s no reason to panic. After all, there’s still OpenGL to work with.

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Stainless 151 Dec 03, 2011 at 10:30

:)

If only..

Microsoft have already announced they are dropping .Net

I work with OpenGL all the time, which is why I miss XNA

At the moment my code has to go through a complicated detection system and either use OpenGLES 1.0 based renderer, or OpenGLES 2.0, or software.

Thanks to the lovely people at Khronos, w e don’t even have a reliable way of loading OpenGLES 2.0 shaders.

Please someone go postal at Microsoft until we get some common sense back.
:P

May you live in interesting times

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wolfotron 101 Dec 05, 2011 at 02:33

Microsoft have already announced they are dropping .Net

URL, or it didn’t happen :)

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Stainless 151 Dec 05, 2011 at 09:10

Can’t remember exactly when it was announced, it was a while ago.

However there are plenty of sites covering the issues thrown up by windows 8

.Net and Silverlight now “legacy” technologies

http://www.itwriting…/comment-page-1

Windows 8 based on javascript and Html 5 instead of .Net

http://arstechnica.c…ream-reborn.ars

http://www.infoq.com…1/06/Win8-Doubt

Take your head out the ground and look around :P

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PnP_Bios 101 Dec 07, 2011 at 16:31

Wow, there is a lot of bad information here. Lets clear some things up!

1) C#, C++, and HTML5 are all first class citizens in windows 8.

Silverlight, WPF, XNA are all being culled, mostly because they are being made redundant via WinRT/DirectX/Metro.

What they want you to do is write all your Native -> Managed glue code with C++/CLI. It doesn’t make much sense to manage 2 graphics APIs at the same time. I’m betting that the next Xbox and next windows phone will be running restricted subsets of windows 8, similar to how XNA is a restricted subset of .NET.

2) XNA is going the way of the dinosaur. Brush up on your DirectX!

Yes, it is, and that’s not a bad thing. SharpDX is a much better option than XNA, and I have no doubt that we will be seeing other solutions in the near future. MonoGame will probably be ported to use DirectX in the wake of this.

3) Try out the SDK for yourself!

Get some first hand knowledge, and don’t rely on old blog posts. Toss it in a Virtual Machine or a spare box. Get something running with SharpDX. It’s really not all that bad.

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alphadog 101 Dec 07, 2011 at 17:00

@Stainless

Microsoft have already announced they are dropping .Net

I’m pretty sure they are not dropping .NET in Win8. They are creating a .NET Metro profile for the .NET Framework over WinRT, which obviously affects what you can and cannot do with the broader .NET environment in general. You can use C#, managed C++, etc, to work in this “silo”.This is to align themselves with the Windows app store and allow sandboxed Metro apps with easy downloads.

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Stainless 151 Dec 08, 2011 at 09:51

That’s what I thought at first, but after a lot of discussions, both on forums and with real Ms employees, I don’t think that’s correct.

The problem is we just don’t know.

One set of people I have talked to give me the impression that this is the new setup.

C# dead
.Net dead
XNA dead
Silverlight dead

DirectX alive
Development done in Html 5 and javascript with some kind of interface to directx for 3d

Which I kind of call the worse case scenario

Another set are saying

XNA dead
Silverlight dead

C# alive but limited
DirectX alive
Development c++ with gui done in Html 5 and javascript

I suspect the truth will be somewhere in between the two cases

I don’t think most people who work for Ms know yet

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alphadog 101 Dec 08, 2011 at 14:19

Hmm. Your worst case seems a little beyond extreme. Should it be true, it would be kinda doomsday for MS. But crazier things have happened.

I wonder how working on MW4 in JS is like? Is idTech6 HTML5-based? amirite? :)

I think you should listen to your “another set” people rather than thinking the truth lying between the reasonable and crazy. Many people are confusing what can and can’t be done in Metro versus the Desktop style apps. The Metro “subplatform” is new and much more limited, because of its newness and its inherent casual “appstore”, sandboxed-for-security orientation. Also, they are obviously trying to do a reasonably-paced migration from Win32 to WinRT, which will allow MS to bring in ARM.

IMO, the best way to see it is this diagram from Doug Seven.

[img]http://dougseven.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/win8-new-platform.png?w=660[/img]

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PnP_Bios 101 Dec 08, 2011 at 14:39

@Stainless

One set of people I have talked to give me the impression that this is the new setup.

C# dead
.Net dead
XNA dead
Silverlight dead

DirectX alive
Development done in Html 5 and javascript with some kind of interface to directx for 3d

Seriously, try out the windows 8 beta with the developer tools. C# is there in all it’s glory. .NET isn’t going anywhere.

Watch the vidcast by Anders Hejlsberg

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/TOOL-816T

http://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=http%3a%2f%2fvideo.ch9.ms%2fbuild%2f2011%2fslides%2fTOOL-816T_Hejlsberg.pptx

Looks to me like C# 5 is right around the corner.

As for XNA under windows 8, this is about the best information that I’ve been able to find.

http://www.giantbomb.com/news/the-future-of-xna-game-studio-and-windows-8/3667/

XNA will be supported under windows 8.

XNA will not support the Metro Interface.What remains to be seen is if it will be runnable on windows 8 for ARM. You will still be able to sell them in the windows app store.

Silverlight is quickly making it’s way to End of Line, but, and this is a very big but… Silverlight and WPF applications can become metro applications with only a few small changes to the code in most cases. IE10 / Metro won’t have Silverlight. but It also won’t have flash, activeX, Java, or any browser plugins of any sort.

Silverlight 5: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/future/ can be considered as a stop gap measure / preview into metro app development, since the API should be nearly identical.

IE10: Pluginless browsing experience http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/14/metro-style-browsing-and-plug-in-free-html5.aspx

DirectX will continue to live long and prosper.

Here is what I’ve been able to find on the java-script so far.

http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/windowsapps/Sample-Game-9303b5c6/sourcecode?fileId=45050&pathId=19893294

Here is the landing page for WinJS, the javascript interface for windows 8

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/br211669.aspx

It doesn’t look like there’s a way out of that.

Now, something interesting that I also stumbled upon is win32 and COM bindings for Metro style applications

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/br205757.aspx

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TheNut 179 Dec 08, 2011 at 18:04

@PnP Bios

XNA will not support the Metro Interface.

XNA doesn’t support any UI, you have to program one :) Although MS recently bridged XNA with Silverlight for use in WP 7.5, so only MS knows what’s going on there.
@PnP Bios

but, and this is a very big but… Silverlight and WPF applications can become metro applications with only a few small changes to the code in most cases

Silverlight is primarily C# + XAML. Since both are supported in Win8, I imagine the effort to port will be minimal. Although I think moving forward companies are going to invest in HTML 5 due to its capabilities and platform independence. The “future of Silverlight” question has been raised since its inception and has never been quashed.
@alphadog

I wonder how working on MW4 in JS is like?

Well, someone rendered Rage in WebGL, so the possibility is there ;)

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Stainless 151 Dec 09, 2011 at 09:21

PnP Bios, I think what you are missing is the fact that windows 8 will still support various technologies **in legacy mode**

As far as I can see legacy mode is a bit like running win32 apps on windows 7, you can do it, but you are flagging the app as ancient technology

Now who in their right mind is going to develop a brand new game and immediately label it as ancient technology?

On top of that legacy mode does not exist on arm based tablets, so if you want to hit that market, Html 5 and Js is your only option.
I’m not even sure directx will be available on that market.

I have seen a lot of the links you posted, but then I have talked to people in Ms. I don’t think even most of Ms employees know where they are going.

As far as I can tell, someone in Ms has seen the sales of tablet devices and decided that this is the market Ms want to be in, even if this comes at the cost of screwing up the laptop and desktop market.

Wether that is brilliant clairvoyance, or a massive mistake only time will tell.

For me I have basically dropped all windows development and moved into a cross platform environment. ( www.antixlabs.com )

After the best part of 25 years dealing with Ms’ sudden changes of direction and buggy code I have given up

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PnP_Bios 101 Dec 09, 2011 at 19:13

Stainless, I think you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

As far as I can see legacy mode is a bit like running win32 apps on windows 7, you can do it, but you are flagging the app as ancient technology
Now who in their right mind is going to develop a brand new game and immediately label it as ancient technology?

Win32 is not legacy on windows 7. http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/windows/desktop/ee633449

Win32 + The COM APIs are still the defacto method for writing applications in native code under windows 7

All your favorite games, from Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, and so on, are all still being written in Direct3D and win32.

On top of that legacy mode does not exist on arm based tablets, so if you want to hit that market, Html 5 and Js is your only option.
I’m not even sure directx will be available on that market.

Metro, .NET, WinRT, and DirectX will be available on all windows 8 devices. Win32 will not be, this has never been in dispute. Your assumption that HTML5 and JS are your only option is the result of an inability to read, faulty comprehension, or just plain ignorance.

Direct X will be available for ARM, primarily because it’s the low level rendering API for the entire stack. Just as a reminder as to why this is technologically possible, remember that windows phone 5 and 6 also supported direct 3d. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa452478.aspx So DirectX on a tablet isn’t exactly a fresh concept.

I have seen a lot of the links you posted, but then I have talked to people in Ms. I don’t think even most of Ms employees know where they are going.

I have friends that work at Microsoft too. Unless your friends work in those departments that produce this software, their speculation is as good as ours. I wouldn’t count forums gossip as Microsoft endorsed speech either.

As far as I can tell, someone in Ms has seen the sales of tablet devices and decided that this is the market Ms want to be in, even if this comes at the cost of screwing up the laptop and desktop market.

This is again, ignorant of the windows 8 developer build that has been freely available for some time now. You continue to offer commentary on a product you do not use.

After the best part of 25 years dealing with Ms’ sudden changes of direction and buggy code I have given up

If this is surprising to you then you haven’t really been developing with Microsoft products for 25 years. The introduction of COM, MFC, ActiveX, Visual J++, Windows Mobile, etc…

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alphadog 101 Dec 09, 2011 at 22:33

Actually, since I posted that image, it seems that there is some debate as to whether WinRT sits alongside and is similar to Win32, or sits above Win32.The issue is that there seems to be some dependencies between WinRT and Win32, but personally, I think that it’s just for convenience at having to build a whole new stack. As more stuff gets written for WinRT, I expect Win32 to be quietly retired.