Archive for the ‘XBLIG’ Category.

Another year, another restart :(

Well, not a complete restart at least.

What I have decided to do, is attempt to focus on and complete one game before moving on to another.  I’ve been fighting the “squirrel” battle for a long time, but I’m hoping to overcome it this year (just in time for the world to end, I know).



I’m digging up an old game that I’d started a number of times but put on the back burner since it’s a fairly big game, at least from the number of features I’m planning. I’m planning on releasing it on XBLIG (why I still haven’t figure out given it’s a virtual graveyard that’s to the mismanagement and/or uncaring of MS 🙁 ) and then probably IndieCity or possibly Steam if I’m lucky. WP7 is a dream, but I’m not sure how well it would do on that platform. If I can get enough done for the next DreamBuildPlay, so much the better.

The short list of significant features I’m planning on:

  • In-game level editor
  • Level sharing
  • “Global” leaderboards
  • In-game (and possibly out-of-game for the PC version) “store” for players to upgrade their “character”
  • 6 player multiplayer
  • Single player with AI

I’m hoping this game will be my ticket to indie game developer freedom so I can ditch the boring (although fairly well-paying) day job. I’m not holding my breath though. If I can make a decent chunk of money I’ll be happy.

I probably won’t share any more details about the actual game until it’s ready for playtest. I will be posting status updates here though for the 1 person that actually might follow this blog. 🙂

On a personal note, I did receive my MVP award again my contributions to the tech for last year. That’s 6 years in a row for anyone counting. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to maintain it with XNA slowly dying however. I guess I’ll just keep chugging away and see what happens.

Thoughts on the new XBLIG changes

So XBLIG isn’t dead after all it seems. MS rolled out a couple of changes yesterday to the submission policy that has some people cheering and some people wondering why they even bothered (raises hand).

I can’t figure out who is running things there these days. This has to be one of the biggest wastes of time I’ve seen in a while for XBLIG. Maybe I’m missing the point, but letting developers upload bigger games and giving them more slots when the system is so broken as to be virtually useless seems absurd. The main list that users browse through to find games locks up every other week it seems, which makes submitting a game frustrating since you never know if your game will even be viewable when it passes peer review. That’s assuming people even find XBLIG in the first place with the insane tile used to access it and other games.

These changes feel like MS is throwing XBLIG devs a PR bone to get them to feel good about the service. It’s not even a meaty bone through; it’s dried up and weeks old. I get that doing this doesn’t really require any significant changes to XNA GS or the App Hub, but good grief, why not fix the existing bugs first before changing things?!?

I guess with the increase in submission size we can now expect massagers and zombie rip-off clones packed full of more useless crap. Like I need an app that vibrates the controller while listening to a couple hundred MBs of soundtracks or hi-res textures pasted on top of a crappy games.

I’ve just about given up on XBLIG. Unless MS does something significant to make the service attractive to devs and stop them from jumping ship to Steam and non-WP7 mobile platforms I can’t see it lasting much longer.

Yet Another Post About XBLIG crApps

Following the link in a review begging tweet on #xna I saw the following in the Notes of an XBLIG peer review submission:

“Here’s a quick and dirty Santa flying game I threw together.”

Time to put on the Grinch costume and respond I guess.

While I realize that holiday themed games usually do a little better on XBLIG, if you don’t care enough to take enough pride in your work to do a quality job why should I care enough to review the game? Yes, you might make a few bucks on the game due to holiday theme-ness, but is it really worth it in the long run?

What’s truly unfortunate is that there are enough crApp developers that games like this get passed with relative ease. If I or other developers that really care about the platform can’t find a reason to fail these crApps, there’s little we can do to stop them from passing. This is the downside to Microsoft “democratizing game development”; they obviously didn’t expect, or didn’t care about, people submitting things like flashlight apps, massager “games”, games that take 2 minutes to play through and don’t have any replay value, etc., ad nauseum.

Hopefully other devs that care about the platform will do the same and pass on submissions like this. Maybe I need to start an Occupy XBLIG! :\

XBLIG Games in Game Developer Magazine

Wow, I’m surprised they’re still even looking at the service, but the EIC obviously sees something there. It’s a shame MS doesn’t seem to feel the same way.

Here’s the latest list:

Dead Pixels
DLC Quest
Escape Goat
Four Winds Fantasy
Last Dragon Standing
Mega Shooter 11
Sins of the Flesh
Solar 2

I still think XBLIG could be a great service for indies, but MS has a lot of work ahead of them to make it so. With the recent news of Win 8 further relegating XNA games to red-headed stepchild, along with rumors of desktop apps not being supported at all on ARM devices in Win 8, it’s become more of an uphill battle to keep XNA alive at all, let alone get it improved to allow indies to be successful when using it.

I still remember back when XNA was first revealed and touted as a tool for both pro and indie. It’s fallen a long way since then and doesn’t appear to be making much progress back up the hill. It’s like climbing Everest without half the needed equipment. MS needs to either kill it completely and put us out of our misery or make it a real game development tool that indies can use without fear of wasting their time.

Game Developer Magazine gives XBLIG some love

Just a quick post to congratulate the developers of the games selected by Game Developer Magazine as the Best Xbox Live Indie Games of 2010 (in the Feb 2011 issue):

You guys inspire me!