A day of XNA with Rob Miles
On the 25th of May Microsoft and the Hogeschool voor Kunsten Utrecht organized the XNA Gaming Event 2010 at the HKU faculty in Hilversum. Around 170 students participated in a day filled with interesting lectures, showcasing of games and interesting discussions. Guest lectures were done by Rob Miles, Alex Ries and Mark Overmars. As an MSP I had the pleasant job of looking after Rob Miles during his stay. The day started early when Brian and Jan picked me up from Delft at 7.30. Despite all the traffic jams we managed to get to Schiphol just in time to pick op Rob Miles. Rob is a lecturer in C#, Embedded and XNA programming at the University of Hull. He also is a Microsoft MVP and regularly gives talks on events like TechEd or DevDays. Fortunately he managed to free a day in his agenda for our event. We spent the morning at MSFT HQ showing Rob around the building, having a little chat about recent XNA and Windows Phone developments and doing a little interview (which will be up on our YouTube channel soon). Rob, sometimes referred to as “the nutty professor from Hull”, is a very inspiring conversation partner when discussing crazy ideas for little applications. The upcoming launch of Windows Phone 7 later this year is a big opportunity for all developers wanting to make some money out of app development. Being one of the first delivering all those popular little apps to the WP7 marketplace might just give you a very lucrative edge. After having a little lunch we drove to Hilversum to build up the event. The HKU arranged a very colorful room with all the technical stuff we needed. After a little introduction by Maarten-Jan Rob could start his keynote shortly after 14.00. Traditionally he started by taking a picture of the audience “While they are still smiling” Rob spent his 45 minutes talking about getting started with XNA and the little effort it takes porting XNA games to Xbox, Zune or Windows Phone. If you ever happen to be bored and drunk with a group of people be sure to have “Hide the gamepad” ready, just because it really is one of the most useless games ever written. Be sure to find it on verysillygames.com Alex Ries took the floor after a little coffee break with a more technical-oriented talk on XNA. Alex is a consultant at Avanade. Like always he spent most of his time doing live coding, showing how it is done is the best way to go. The last guest lecture was given by Mark Overmars. Mark is a professor at the Utrecht University specialized in game development and design. He talked us through some interesting developments in game design research like how to make path finding realistic and how to show convincing emotions in game characters. The event ended with some drinks and the opportunity for students to showcase their own XNA projects. At around 18.00 we had to leave Hilversum to get Rob to his plane. A few hours and railroad problems later i got home. Tired, but satisfied after a long and nice day. I would like to thank everybody for the great day. Some pictures and a movie will be up soon and don’t forget to catch up on Rob’s blog at www.robmiles.com
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