Open Source XNA for Windows 8 Metro
Written by Mike James   
Friday, 20 April 2012

The MonoGame team has been working on a port of its open source version of XNA to the Windows 8 Metro environment. For XNA programmers this is important, and it highlights the fact that Microsoft is making no effort at all in this direction.

Miguel de Icaza, the guiding hand of the Mono project, reports on his blog that MonoGame is to support Windows 8 Metro applications. MonoGame is an open source implementation of XNA, using not DirectX but OpenGL as its supporting 3D framework.

This in itself is remarkable, and makes all sorts of things possible that Microsoft dare not dream of. For example you can use it to port games to iOS, Android, Mac OSX or Linux. Later in the year, the team hopes to add PlayStation and Windows Metro support.


The reason Microsoft wouldn't want to help you do any of  this is that DirectX doesn't run on any of these platforms, with the exception of Windows 8 Metro, and for some reason Microsoft is protecting DirectX to the detriment of many of its other systems.

For example, IE9 and IE10 don't support WebGL because this would undermine DirectX, even though it restricts IE's status as a modern browser.  Microsoft's obsession with DirectX is costing it a lot.

XNA is a .NET graphics system that is available on the XBox 360, Windows Phone 7 and, of course the Windows desktop. The one big no-go area for XNA is the Windows 8 WinRT/Metro environment and in particular any ARM tablets running Windows RT. This is annoying and crazy because the WinRT environment is based on DirectX. It also means that programmers who have created XNA game for WP7 can't run their creations under WinRT and hence on tablets.

Once again we have the illogical situation of there being no transferability between Windows based phone devices and tablets - they form separate ecosystems.

The fact that XNA and .NET in general seem to have fallen out of favor with Microsoft (what it did wrong is a mystery) probably means that we will be looking to open source efforts in the future to extend its behavior and reach.

The MonoGame roadmap now reads:

  1. Stabilize 3D support, then release MonoGame 3.0.
  2. Sony PlayStation Suite support
  3. Window 8, WinRT support

and its mission statement is:

MonoGame - Write Once, Play Everywhere

a sentiment we can all agree with - with the exception of Microsoft of course.


More Information

Miguel de Icaza blog


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Last Updated ( Friday, 20 April 2012 )