Is Sunburn Going Native?

If you listened to the podcast this week, you noticed we did things a bit different for our sponsored segment.  Instead of discussing features of the XNA game framework, we speculated what it would be like if Sunburn was a cross platform framework.  Currently, Sunburn is cross device, supporting PC, Xbox 360, and WP7.  The landscape of Indie games is rapidly expanding, and a developers are looking to maximize time and money invested in their chosen framework.  Support for iOS devices, Mac, and even Linux is critical and the successful game development frameworks will be the ones that support all devices seamlessly.

This is a rumor post.  I have no facts I can link to, so I’m going to clearly outline what is the rumor and what is Mike’s speculation.  The rumor is that the big brained freaks at Synapse Gaming have created their own C# compiler.   It’s a little fuzzy if it’s a true compiler (meaning it spits out object code for a linker) or uses a C# to C++ step and then uses the native compiler of the target platform to get the final binary.  The distinction is academic however, the result will be developers can use C# and Sunburn to reach multiple platforms and devices.

Now my speculation is that this means Sunburn will be able to target not only PC, Xbox, WP7, but also add WinRT (Windows 8) as a native Metro application.  This I see as the first stop as WinRT runs DirectX and XNA can be thought of as a managed layer on top of DirectX.  I also expect native PC games as well – no longer will your game install require the cumbersome pre-requisite of the XNA framework.

From here it gets interesting.  If the Sunburn compiler maps to OpenGL then the doors are open to iOS, Mac, and Linux.  Given the evolution of MonoGame this doesn’t sound that far fetched.  Bastion is an XNA/C# game ported Chrome by using MonoGame as a middle step so this isn’t a new process even for the frameworks involved.

One thing is clear – even though Microsoft seems ready to abandon managed game development, the community is not!


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