Hi Dark,

Well, that's true to a point. The fact of the matter is most software
for Windows now days is being developed around the new Microsoft .Net
technologies so .Net is an essential dependency for a lot of new
software anyway. That's why Vista ships with .Net Framework 3.0 and
Windows 7 now ships with .Net 4.0 out of the box. It is now a
preinstalled core component of the operating system. So that in and of
itself doesn't bother me. In say three to five years most of the
Windows XP systems will be most likely beginning to be
updated./replaced by newer, faster, and better 64bit systems running
Windows 7 with at least .Net 4.0. So in the long term sticking with
.Net is on a developers side as the extra dependencies that were such
a pain three or four years ago are going to no longer be an issue
since Microsoft has already made them core components for every
Windows Vista and Windows 7 system built over the last three years or

The real big issue I have with the current STFC and Montezuma's
Revenge is the DirectX components I used. Early in 2004 as part of
their DirectX 9 marketing campaign Microsoft unvailed there Managed
DirectX components all designed for .Net 1.1. I like a number of
independant software developers using C# .Net and Visual Basic .Net
migrated quickly to the new API. In 20006 Microsoft was hinting at
Managed DirectX 2.0 to ship with .Net Framework 2.0. It never
appeared. Instead a few days after Windows Vista was released
Microsoft pulled a double wammy on the game developers. They announced
that as of August 2008 Managed DirectX was going to be deprecated and
that there were beginning an all new API called the XNA Framework that
was suppose to work hand in hand with the cross-platform API they were
developing for the XBox 360. Well, when XNA 1.0 hit the scene I
downloaded it expecting to switch games like Monte over to it right
away only to discover it wasn't accessible to a blind developer. You
have to use a program called XAct to create pack files containing
soundbanks which then are loaded into XAudio and played based on the
settings stored in the Soundbank. So if you couldn't see to check the
boxes to loop sounds, to enable 3d positioning, etc you were pretty
much screwed. Which I royally was. Microsoft had dropped the
technology I was using and gave me one that was far less accessible
and I was stuck. At that time SlimDX didn't exist and I wasn't about
to fork over hundreds of dollars to Firelight for FMOD Ex. I might
have been satisfied with Managed DirectX as is, but it turned out it
has a few nasty bugs that Microsoft hadn't fixed and never were going
to fix. So you see in that way my games like STFC and Montezuma's
Revenge were no better off than those being written in VB 6 all
because Microsoft had pulled the rug out from under me by promising
one API and delivering a different one I couldn't use. That's what
prompted my switch to C++.

Of course, things with .Net game development is a bit different now.
Microsoft's idea to cancel Managed DirectX and replace it with XNA
didn't go over with everyone. I can say there were a number of people
on the DirectX mailing list, most of them mainstream companies, who
were up in arms about the surprise  API change. All of us were
expecting the release ofMDX 2.0 and Microsoft happily announces XNA
1.0 which meant everybody had to rewrite substantial amount of code to
use it. People were pretty steamed over it. Out of that outrage began
an open source project called SlimDX. It is essentially Managed
DirectX under a new name and written by a core group of open source
developers who wanted to maintain a .Net implamentation of DirectX
that supported DirectSound, DirectMusic, DirectPlay, DirectInput, etc.
In other words everything Microsoft was trashing like yesterdays
garbage in favor of the XNA libraries.

Then, about that time were other open source developers who wanted to
replace MDX with LibSDL. SDL has long been favored as the open source
answer to DirectX on Mac and Linux, and so SDL .Net began. At the time
I looked at it SDL .net wasn't that good. However, now days it is
maturing into a very nice cross-platform API for game developers. Had
I the the source code for Monte or STFC I might well just yank out the
MS garbage, replace it with SDL .Net, and release it as open source.
Indeed, I'm highly thinking of SDL more and more for my games since it
is A, very small, B, they have no problems with redistributing it, and
C, it is cross-platform. I think the only hang up is I have to put
some sort of notice in my licensing info that SDL is free and open
source, but in the main that's not a huge issue considering SDL would
solve a lot of problems with companies like Microsoft changing
technologies as quickly as they change their underware. I'd at least
have a stable API/platform to build my games upon.


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