Microsoft XNA is a set of tools with a managed runtime environment built on top of DirectX that facilitates video game development for a variety of Microsoft platforms, including XBOX 360, Windows Phone, Zune media player and Windows for desktops.
Working on the first title, we soon realized that the XNA framework was a solid foundation for game development, but some basic network, graphics, audio, and input device features were still missing. That’s why I developed the Comprehensive Realtime Framework to Build Networked XBOX-360 Online Games and put special emphasis on reusability in future games.
Between the years 2010 and 2012, me and my team-mate developed six games for the XBOX-360 and published them on the XBOX Live Indie Games market place. Let’s present some of them here!
This game is a remake of one of my personal favorite games I played in the early 1990s, called Oil Imperium, which was released for the Amiga, Atari, C64 and MS-DOS in 1989.
The goal of the game is to promote and sell oil and defeat competitors using a number of fair and unfair strategies. The game is round-based and designed for four players, either human or artificial intelligence.
The major challenge was to implement a functioning and well balanced economy simulation and artificial opponents that would neither over- nor underchallenge the player. According to the numerous and highly positive external reviews received by game testers, we succeeded in this.
World Wars – European Conflicts
This game deals with the war events between 1939 and 1945 and belongs to conflict simulation games in a broader sense. The primary idea was to create a game similar to the famous board game Axis&Allies, but to replace the lucky component of rolling dices with a top-down fighting game.
The initial release took around 12 months, including graphical design, video editing and lots of programming, resulting in roughly 200’000 lines of code written in C#.
World Wars – Pacific Conflicts
This game is the sequel to World Wars, which was great success with over 35’000 copies sold, and represents the war events in the Pacific theater during the Second World War. We implemented many new game features. The highlight was a new multi player mode where teams with 4 players could compete against each other. Since Microsoft only allowed to interchange 8 kB/s per session over their game servers, designing a very effective and efficienct network protocol to keep 8 player states in sync was quite a challenging. We also had to address network latency which we solved by introducing some quite elaborate prediction algorithms based on the previous unit movements in case latency exceeded the acceptable threshold.
On 10 different multi player maps, each one with its unique strategic ingenuity – you play one of three different playing modes. Control the strategic points on the map in Capture the Flag, find and bring back the hidden gold treasure faster than your opponent in Save the Gold or fight until last man standing in Death-Match mode.
Four Player Ping-Pong
Four Player Ping Pong is an extended successor of the very first computer game Pong. With various improvements, such as 4 player-mode, brake- and power-balls, this game gives you a very exciting gaming experience.