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Microsoft's Satchell Talks Zune & XNA Gaming Possibilities

Talking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview posted today, Microsoft XNA exec Chris Satchell has been discussing Zune community gaming, including a tech
Talking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview posted today, Microsoft XNA exec Chris Satchell has been discussing Zune community gaming, including a tech demo of Wolfenstein 3D and plans to make Zune development a "major part" of the next XNA Game Studio. First announced as part of Microsoft's GDC 2008 keynote, the addition of Zune portability to the XNA Game Studio gives developers new opportunities to more easily move their games into the handheld space. While Satchell admits that the Zune "was never designed for gaming," he adds that after some tests, the Microsoft team were "super surprised at how well it worked." "We ported a Wolfenstein [3D level]," reveals Satchell, "and you turn the Zune sideways and use it to slide around the level. That's pretty cool as well." We asked Satchell, given that there are various versions of the Zune that have already hit the market, if XNA games will be limited to specific devices, as with recent iPod gaming trends. "Well, obviously, there are probably [new] Zunes coming out this year," said Satchell, "so I think the first few generations will work. The interesting one will be if it ever had any discontinuity. Imagine if you put 3D acceleration in the Zune." "3D acceleration for mobile devices is super-cheap now," he continued. "There's some amazingly cheap graphics chips; actually, you get an all-in-one, processor and everything. It would be really interesting to see 3D acceleration. Of course, I'm a bit of a tech-head." Finally, Satchell said that Zune development -- which he said in his keynote will include multi-player gaming over the device's wifi connection -- will be a heavy focus for XNA Game Studio's evolution in coming months: "[XNA Game Studio 2] came out in December. It had a number of upgrades, but the biggest upgrade for two was the platform," he recounted. "You could do networking, and you could do Xbox Live for matchmaking, etcetera. That was really the big deal with Game Studio 2, and then this year, we're doing Zune development, so that's one of the big, major parts of the next major version." Read Gamasutra's full Gamasutra interview for more from Satchell on the company's major XNA push for hobbyist and independent developers across the Xbox 360, PC, and Zune, and a host of other topics.

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