Im Stunned!

Feb 20, 2008 at 8:59 PM
Edited Feb 20, 2008 at 8:59 PM
Two major announcements:

  1. HAvok is now free for PC non-commerical development (that includes us I assume?)
  2. And from GDC:
"It was just announced at GDC that we are introducing a new, open distribution service for games created by the community. Games created with the XNA Game Studio will be available over Xbox LIVE. Later today, seven games created by the community will be available for download (for free) over Xbox LIVE. I will have a video up on Inside Xbox as well that shows you how to download the games. " Major Nelson Blog

I want more info on the distribution, but if it works, wow!

And plus, Microsoft Dreamspark:

Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition
SQL Server 2005 Developers Edition
Expression Studio
XNA Game Studio
XNA Game Studio Creators CLub 12-Month Sub
Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition

All now free to students!

What a week!
Feb 20, 2008 at 9:12 PM
Wow, I didn't hear that announcement about Havok!

The Xbox Live Community Games announcement is intriguing. The peer review system seems kind of flaky, but I'm definitely anxious to see how it works out.

I'm wondering how Dreakspark differs from MSDN Academic Alliance. I've been able to get all of that software plus much, much more from Microsoft for free through my school's MSDNAA program for years now.
Feb 20, 2008 at 9:17 PM
Don't hate me, but I'm actually more excited about the Havok announcement than the Community Games announcement!
Coordinator
Feb 20, 2008 at 10:22 PM
Edited Feb 20, 2008 at 10:23 PM
I am more excited about Havok as well, I know more about Havok than Ageia, and I know it performs well without a PhysX card. Which would perform best with our engine, is Havok even an option for a wrapper, or is it freely available for download. I'm not a student anymore, I won't benefit from Dreamspark. It is cool XNA will be downloadable over the 360, somewhat.

Lets not forget the Havok 5.5 was also announced today, which things like Cloth physics:
http://kotaku.com/358266/havok-gets-cracking-fluttering
Feb 20, 2008 at 10:28 PM
A Havok wrapper will definitely be in order, come May, and after I play around with it outside of .NET first. I'm excited to learn it's API.

There may be licensing issues those. It seems like its only free for non-commercial use, so we'll need to advertise that fact if it we create a wrapper for it.
Coordinator
Feb 21, 2008 at 12:11 AM
Isn't the use of Ageia under the same non-commercial agreement?
Feb 21, 2008 at 12:55 AM
Nope, Ageia changed their licensing a little less than a year ago. It's free for commercial and non-commercial use on Windows/Linux.
Feb 21, 2008 at 7:12 AM


shawmishrak wrote:
A Havok wrapper will definitely be in order, come May, and after I play around with it outside of .NET first. I'm excited to learn it's API.

There may be licensing issues those. It seems like its only free for non-commercial use, so we'll need to advertise that fact if it we create a wrapper for it.


Why does QS needs Havok? Look at these videos: http://www.ageia.com/physx/videos.html Isn't PhysX good enough? Or is the plan to add every physics's library outthere into the engine?
Feb 21, 2008 at 12:12 PM
It wouls be nice to have a wrapper for the two most prominent phys engines out there. This way we can prove that our Object Model works nomatter which engine you use.

But I agree that it doesn't have the highest priority atm and maybe that part of the code should be placed under sample, then we wouldn't have to force the same guidelines on it.
Coordinator
Feb 21, 2008 at 3:56 PM
I agree it would be nice to have both. Because XNA games are free to play on the 360 now, I wonder if that is considered non-commercial. I don't want to throw Havok in if nobody can really use it except for fun.
Feb 21, 2008 at 5:18 PM
Uhm, we're talking about the Windows version of Havok. :) Even if we could get the Xbox version (not going to happen), there's no way to interface with it in .NET.

As far as I understand it, free games are non-commercial. So as long as you don't charge for the software, you're good.

PhysX would still remain the "official" physics backend on Windows, and JigLibX on Xbox. Commercial use is fine with these. JigLibX will be the only universal physics backend, since its the only one that works on Windows and Xbox, but I'd rather stick with PhysX/Havok on Windows. To be blunt, they are just several leagues above what JigLibX provides in functionality, performance, and ease-of-use. Nothing against the JigLibX developers, but .NET just isn't a great platform (currently) for high-performance numeric computation.
Feb 21, 2008 at 6:33 PM
I mostly agree with sturm. We need to suport Havok, as its one of (if not the largest) physics engine out there. As for the MSDNAA, not all schools have it, and mostly you have to take the course. Dreamspark lets any student, in many major countries have them. Thats why Im excited, as my college isnt very good with computers, so all my c# is self-taught. This will now give me access to professional tools.
Feb 21, 2008 at 10:15 PM
I'm not saying Dreamspark isn't great, I just don't see how having access to Visual Studio and the like suddenly allows someone to be able to learn programming. Free compilers exist for practically every language; especially mainstream languages like C, C++, Java, C#, Python, etc.

I would go so far as the claim any serious programmer should know his/her way around not only IDEs like Visual Studio, but also around command-line tools, Makefiles, and GCC. It's amazing how much better of a programmer you can become if you know why things work the way they do, instead of just how to do certain things.

This isn't a rant against you or anyone specifically, I'm just tired of the opinion that Microsoft tools are the be-all-end-all of development tools.