Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

Summary: Microsoft's upcoming Gamefest conference is largely about Kinect, but also looks to offer glimpses at the next Visual Studio and upcoming SDKs for Xbox 360.


Microsoft's annual Gamefest conference kicks off in London in mid-July with (unsurprisingly) lots of sessions focused around developing and certifying games that take advantage of the Kinect sensor.

But there are some other notable non-Kinect-centric sessions on the agenda, including a few focused on the next version of Visual Studio (currently known internally at Microsoft as Visual Studio 2012 and externally as Visual Studio vNext) -- and C++ in particular. (Yes, I've been on a C++ kick lately, as Microsoft itself seems to be.)

Gamefest happens first in London on July 14, then moves to Tokyo on July 29, and finally ends up in Seattle on August 22. The content at the three venues seems largely the same, but I did notice there are a few sessions on the Seattle agenda that are not on the London one.) Here are some of the non-Kinect-specific ones that caught my eye: Visual Studio Tools for Graphics Developers

The next version of Visual Studio brings the most significant set of improvements for developing graphics-intensive applications in over a decade. Whether you are just getting started with 2D/3D games or a self-proclaimed "guru," there's something for you to like. This isn't some re-hash of old content! We will unveil for the first time in public a slew of tools integrated into VS that should make your life better. (Italics mine)

Agile C++ Game Development with Visual Studio

Productivity in the era of agile development no longer is something we can count with lines of code. Visual Studio brings together a slew of lifecycle management tools—from architecture analysis to unit testing—that dramatically improve the productivity of C++ developers everywhere. Come learn how the next version Visual Studio will help you embrace agile methodologies like never before!

Modern C++(0x) Programming with Visual Studio With a new standard (C++0x) almost complete, the largest in over a decade, C++ is poised for renewed importance. C++0x brings improvements in expressiveness and performance that are too numerous to cover. In this talk, we'll highlight mind-bending examples on the bleeding edge that give you an insight into the unique capabilities of C++ in the twenty-first century. Language geeks: join us for a lively conversation about the most ubiquitous game programming language in the world.

(For more tidbits on C++ 0x, check out this interview with Microsoft's Herb Sutter on The Register.)

Avatars Anywhere with Windows Phone

We have lived with avatars in our living rooms, but how about we can take them around in our pockets. Come explore what you can do today with avatars on your phone and also see future of avatars might look like when avatar gets powered by mobile.

(I wonder if this means Avatar Kinect will finally have launched by then?)

It sounds as if there are some changes coming to future versions of the Xbox 360 software development kit, as well:

Look Ma, No XLSP: The Future of Connecting to Web Resources from Your Xbox 360 Console

Today’s Xbox 360 titles must use the Xbox LIVE Server Platform technology set to connect to services outside of Xbox LIVE. In upcoming versions of the Xbox 360 SDK, Microsoft is providing new technology to enable HTTP and HTTPS communications to web servers. In this talk, we will review this exciting new feature, including the scenarios it will enable and the limits on its use.

One final observation: I'm starting to wonder whether Microsoft may be moving toward rebranding Xbox Live as plain-old Live. I noticed one high-ranking Microsoft exec recently used Live when referring to Xbox Live services that are moving to Microsoft platforms beyond the gaming console. There's another Live-only mention in the Gamefest session listings: "This year, the LIVE service offers several new features and enhancements such as social integration, matchmaking techniques, user generated content, providing a scalable title storage service, and more. LIVE encompasses a wide variety of experiences for drawing players together from around the world."

Topics: Microsoft, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

    Good stuff... I'm with you on the rebranding. Between the recent talks about "Live" and how they branded "Kinect" seperate from Xbox, they are adding more distinction for their platforms... and I like it. It will really help their naming schemes once they start blending their platforms.
  • LOL

    [b]we?ll highlight mind-bending examples on the bleeding edge[/b]...
    M$ is great at making bombastic hot air statements...I'll give them that!
    Linux Geek
    • You are a very immature person

      @Linux Geek TechRadar recently wrote an article about people like you who like to use the dollar sign in Microsoft's brand name:

      "14. Micro$oft

      "Are we the only ones to cringe when people use corruptions such as M$, or much worse, to describe Windows and Microsoft? Are we really so insecure in the superiorities of our beloved operating system that we have to resort to name?calling? Doing this in a Linux forum is pointless; doing it in a Windows or mixed forum is no more than antagonistic."

      "17 thing's we'd change about names in Linux"

      Go look it up.

      The last time I checked, Apple has shareholders, Google has shareholders, Oracle has shareholders, HP has shareholders, IBM has shareholders, Microsoft has shareholders, Intel has shareholders, AMD has shareholders, and they all need to appease their shareholders with $$$
      Mr. Dee
    • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

      @Linux Geek At least they're not claiming Visual Studio 2012 is 'magical and revolutionary...'

      No one would use words like that.

  • "embrace agile methodologies like never before"???

    So it has a new way to compel non-programming project stakeholders to participate in the Agile process? Will it prevent self-aggrandizing project managers from making every daily scrum meeting into an hour long ordeal? Will it provide recorded proof that a project sponsor said something so that they can't come back later and say, "I never said that"?
    • Agile is Awesome

      @ancientprogrammer I work for a small business with a web-based product that we have an agile approach to developing. It works great for us, as we have a unique relationship with our customers.

      Now, I can see how agile development can quickly fall apart once a company grows past a certain point, but the basis of it is really great.
  • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

    Recent Microsoft related news are really exciting.
    Exciting times at Microsoft.

    All I hear from Apple are crickets and Steve Jobs slowing down.
    Apple TV, Ping and iCloud are flops.
    and Microsoft are just getting started.

    Keep it up.
    • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011


      Do we really need to bring anti-Apple bias into this? <sigh>
  • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

    It's always "Xbox LIVE" never "Xbox Live". So if they remove the "Xbox" from the trademark and brand, will it become "LIVE" or "Live"?
  • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

    Whats about XNA? Are there any news about it? I think developing games for Xbox, PC and Windows Phone is a pretty nice developer story, much easier and more cost effective than writing the same game in C++ and porting it to different systems.
    • XNA

      Hi. The Gamefest agenda lists a few sessions that cover XNA as a tool for building WP7 games/apps. But that's about it, as far as I can tell. Not sure what that says (if anything) about its future prospects. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

    For me, I like to write games that can take advantage of SlimDX, but then it'd be nice to integrate XNA functionality in it, but then it does not have to include XBOX functionality, as I don't really care about porting the game to a console; much less care about XNA Creator's Club subscription. With SlimDX, it'd be nice to take advantage of DirectX 10 (and DirectX 11 once I have a Radeon HD 6450 graphics card to test the game in; it's nice to target budget gamers with low-end video cards).
    Grayson Peddie
  • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

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  • RE: Microsoft to show off new graphics tools in next Visual Studio at Gamefest 2011

    I don't care about all the bells and whistles they might end up adding. All I want is full support for all the new C++11 features and an intellisense that actually WORKS. I would also appreciate it if Microsoft could finally break out of its age-old trend of making each successive Visual Studio version 10 times slower than the previous one. Cut down on the useless crap and get the basics right instead!