GDC: Mobile-friendly XNA version 4 announced

Microsoft hopes to integrate online services within PC, 360 and mobiles
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Microsoft has gone to GDC this week to stage a first look at XNA 4.0, the latest edition of the firm’s development toolset.

Version 4.0’s central new feature is support for Windows Phone 7 Series, adding to its Xbox 360 and PC platforms.

Crucially, those platforms will be integrated within one another, according to a blog post from XNA lead program manager Michael Klucher.

“Through the Gamer Services API’s you can pull in a user’s Gamertag and 2D Avatar as part of the game experience, unlock achievements on the platform, and leverage notifications for asynchronous turn based gaming,” he said.

Along with a cluster of graphical improvements, the XNA update also provides dynamic audio output as well as microphone input support.

An outline of version 4’s additions can be found below.

New platform
- Windows Phone 7 Series

New features

- Integrates with Visual Studio 2010
- Dynamic audio output
- Microphone input
- BasicEffect has four new siblings: SkinnedEffect, EnvironmentMapEffect, DualTextureEffect, AlphaTestEffect

Improved portability and usability

- Collapsed graphics caps into just two profile levels: Reach and HiDef
- Many graphics API improvements
- This involves some breaking API changes
- Split Microsoft.Xna.Framework.dll into several assemblies, to make it more obvious which pieces are available on each platform