Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Today I happened to find a very interesting article about C++ on the Internet, entitled “Why C++ Is Not Back”.

The article is written by John Sonmez, a native coder, who “embraced the dark side” and gave C# and XNA a try.

Please read his article. It is worth reading every paragraph. All I will say about it is that I agree with him. What is more, imho, if C++ were replaced by D, we would all be currently using D.

On a side note, C# is indeed a great language, and once it gets a proper native compiler –and not a tool created to only improve startup times- it will rock.


Friday, September 28, 2012


On a year of trends to go mobile with a variety of offers to pick from, I must admit that I get sometimes amazed with alternatives that reinforce the desktop world.

One of these alternatives is this keyboard by Razor:

Man, I love the design and the concept. Some specs:

  • 4.05” touch screen able to run widget apps.
  • Track pad with gesture support.
  • 10 dynamic display keys with 80hz response time.
  • Chiclet style key caps.
  • Tri-colour backlit keys.
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling.
  • Fully programmable keys with on the fly macro recording.
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled.
  • Dedicated Gaming mode.
  • 5 additional macro keys.
  • Anti-ghosting capability for up to 10 simultaneous key presses.
  • Braided fiber cable.
  • Fixed wrist rest.
  • PC with USB port.
  • Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP.

This is really a nice, handy and interesting product. If only it supports the upcoming Windows 8 and Surface tablets it would far from perfect.

The only drawback, like in any top-notch product long before it becomes standard, is its initial retail price -currently at U$S 249.99- which may result prohibitive for many.

I would love to see future editions of this keyboard where all its keys get dynamic-displayed.

As a side note to desktops, another nice product to mention are Razor’s Blade notebooks, which integrate the above-mentioned keyboard solution, flawlessly.

Again, everything goes well until you see the prices, which start beyond U$S 2 thd., without VAT and shipping costs.

I cannot wait to see what Razor will come up with next; don’t you? Not to mention to get one of these, if I ever get to afford buying one.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


Today, prices and availability dates have been unveiled for the upcoming Wii U console.

Among its specs it is mentioned that game discs for this console will have a 25GB capacity while the internal HDD storage will be either 8GB or 32GB.

I don’t know whether you think the same, but I believe it is time for the game industry to move away from CDs and DVDs.

In spite of the improvements some consoles have introduced in order to avoid scratches (like the XBox 360), it’s really annoying and frustrating when a game disc gets eventually scratched on a relevant area for the game to properly run.

So, as we wait for a full switch to the Cloud nirvana, why not replacing discs by other hardware like flash drives? Nowadays, a memory stick can have large capacities.

I’m not talking here of empty flash drives that you can buy to then plug it into the console to save downloadable games, but drives already prepared and commercialized by publishers containing the game.

Imagine a flash drive with one read-only memory area (where the first version of the game is stored) and a protected memory area for patches (I will leave game content out of this picture, for now). It would be like going back to the cartridge era with a modern twist.

Smaller box-art and more portability for games not commercialized through the Cloud are some of the additional benefits.

So let’s hope devs of next-gen consoles -like the XBox 720- embrace this thought …


[Btw, this could be also applied on laptops, notebooks, ultrabooks and so on so forth]

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Microsoft has published the list of winners for this year’s Dream.Build.Play contest.

Winners for the XBox360 console:


Winners for the WinPhone device:


Congrats to all winners!


Thursday, August 23, 2012


What’s the dream of game developers like myself? To get an opportunity, even the slightest one, to publish your own game title on the big leagues. That game that you always dream of creating from scratch. Your masterpiece. Your 9th Symphony …

Some of us, generally “indies”, even dear dream of watching that game become a success once it goes gold. The kind of success that allows us to officially become part of the Industry from that moment and on with a critical mass of loyal gamers waiting for our next tiles with sincere smiles of joy on their faces.

For Dean Dodrill, creator of the acclaimed game entitled “Dust: An Elysian Tail”, the dream has become a reality.

For those of you who still don’t know, Dean’s game (Dust: AET) was the grand-prize winner of the Dream.Build.Play contest held back in 2009. Recently, the game went gold on the Live Arcade marketplace  for the XBox 360 console (“XBLA”), as a part of the Summer of Arcade 2012 promotion (“SoA”).

As soon as the game got released, it received (and still does) lots of positive reviews, articles, kind words from buyers, a zizillion of tweets and FB posts, and ratings varying from 8.5 to a perfect-10 score.

Most of them, like this interview with the guys of IGN’s  Podcast Unlocked (which I recommend listening to), focus on the story behind the creation of the game and the game itself, from the perspective of gamers.

So, since the game was fully developed with C# and XNA, being a strong supporter of both technologies for years, I decided to try luck and interview him from the perspective of an indie XNA'er.

Well, … guess what? Dean kindly answered all of my questions, so be prepared to read his responses after watching the launch trailer of his game.

Ok, we’re back. Before posting the interview I want to thank Dean publicly for accepting the interview and taking the time to answer all the questions.

Now, enjoy the reading …

Q: Are sells going as you expected? I mean, I don’t want to know the figures; instead, I want to know whether they have reached a point where you can continue developing games professionally (you know, to continue living the dream) or not (= it contributes to make you family’s life better for a while but it is not enough to go beyond).

A: It’s a little early to determine how well sales are going, but I do believe the game will allow me to continue game development, at least at the scale I’m currently working on.

Q: How was it like using the XNA framework –from and artist viewpoint, given your lack of programming experience? (I mean, pros and cons) Which features do you love for C#/XNA to have built-in (I mean, that lacking feature that forced you use a workaround or take a programming detour)?

A: Since I’ve never programmed with anything other than C#/XNA I can’t really compare it to other languages. I will say that I found it fairly easy to pick up, and since much of my code resulted in some sort of visual feedback in the game, iteration was fun. Garbage collection on the 360 was always a hassle, but I loved many XNA specific niceties, such as SpriteBatch and streamlined gamepad support. I also love XACT and how relatively easy it was to work with audio and effects. If I could help I would continue working with XNA exclusively.

Q: Which features of the extended XNA APIs for Live Arcade did you use? Again, how was it like using them?

A: I did have to use the XNA extensions for XBLA, and admittedly most of that was a hassle. The biggest issue is that most of it is poorly documented, and there were always certification issues which were inherent of XNA. Integrating Leaderboards and Achievements was one of my least favorite parts of the process. I definitely got the feeling that XNA wasn’t created with XBLA in mind.

Q: Given that you got a contract with MSFT, do you still own the IP rights of Dust: AET? Did you receive financial advantages, like not having to pay for (re)certification) and or dev/test kits? (if you can comment on it, of course)

A: I do own the IP to Dust:AET, but of course have signed an exclusivity period with MS. MS helped with testing and localization, and assigned me an excellent producer who helped push the game through the system (as well as offered valuable design suggestions). It’s a mutually beneficial agreement, otherwise I can’t go too much into details.

Q: Are you planning additions/extensions to the game? Say, now that you met the deadline for Summer of Arcade, you want to add that feature that stayed behind and would have loved to develop for the release by “unlocking some extra time”?

A: I haven’t given much thought to anything like DLC. Thankfully I didn’t have to cut anything to meet the SoA deadline, it was just a matter of compressing the schedule down and working VERY hard for a few months. Given more time I would have liked to polish a bit more, but that’s the curse of any project I’m sure. I do have plans for future games in this universe, but nothing to announce at this time.

Q: Are you planning to port the game to other MSFT platforms like WinPhone8, Win8 and the Surface? (for instance, by using Monogame or ANX).

A: MS and I haven’t discussed anything outside of XBLA at this time. I was honestly so busy focusing on the XBLA release that I hadn’t considered a port. If anything pops up I’ll be sure to announce it, but XBLA remains my focus as of this writing.

Q: Thanks in advance for reading, your response and for such a great XNA game which serves as a great inspiration for us, indies.

A: Thanks for the interview, Pete.

Game Description:

Immerse yourself in a gorgeous hand-painted world on a search for your true identity. As the mysterious warrior, Dust, your action-packed journey will take you from peaceful glades to snowy mountaintops and beyond. At your disposal is the mythical Blade of Ahrah, capable of turning its wielder it into an unstoppable force of nature, and the blade's diminutive guardian, Fidget.

Battle dozens of enemies at once with an easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master combat system, take on a variety of quests from friendly villagers, discover ancient secrets and powerful upgrades hidden throughout the massive, open world, and uncover the story of an ancient civilization on the brink of extinction as you fight to uncover your own past.

  • Take control of Dust, a warrior searching for his true purpose, as he joins forces with the mystical Blade of Ahrah and its guardian, Fidget, to save the world of Falana from an army unlike any before it!
  • Explore an incredible hand-painted world!
  • Match wits and weapons against challenging monsters!
  • Take on side-quests from a cast of colorful, fully-voiced characters!
  • Craft dozens of items and discover Falana's rarest treasures!
  • Compete against your friends' high scores in ranked Challenge Arenas!

Nice interview, don’t you think?

Not only is the game fantastic but also it may help developers finally understand how powerful C# could be when coupled with a fine tech like XNA, despite unavoidable performance differences with native bits, when you use the tech right even as a one man band (like in Dean’s case).

It’s a pity that many devs (pro and indie) still deem XNA as a tool for kids and hobbyist, only, and don’t give it an opportunity. And what is worse, it’s a shame that MSFT –at least for what is publicly known so far- won’t update it any longer

To wrap it up, Dust: AET shows off a quite enjoyable gameplay, incredible art as well as the mechanics behind its 2D environment, like skeletal animations, particle systems, input combos, shaders, to mention just a few.

So, what are you waiting for? Go and buy it now!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The list of top-40 finalists for this year’s Dream.Build.Play contest has been published.

Top-20 finalists for the XBox360 console:


Top-20 finalists for the WinPhone device:


You can read on the page, the following:

The games received for this year’s competition were phenomenal.

It could be, but imvho, compared to previous years, and at least for the 360, there is no game that stands out that much this year visually like The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, Dust: AET, among others, did in previous compos.

I always wondered why this game was never awarded a prize on DBP 2011. If they had submitted the game again for this year’s compo, they would have run for the 1st place. Its gameplay video looks fantastic:

I hope MSFT eventually gives these guys a chance to get an XBLA-publishing contract even if they didn’t win or make it into the final round.

Having said that, congrats to the finalists of DBP 2012!


Monday, August 13, 2012


… is that the question? … not really.

From time to time I dare ask technical questions to experts in the fields of native+managed worlds so as to better understand the differences, performance-wise, between code originally written with a native language like C++ and “native images” of code written with a managed language like, as of today, C#.

Due to the novelty around the resurge of C++ due to revision 11, in one of my latest Q&A adventures, I dared ask Alexandre Mutel about eventual penalties –if any, of calling a wrapped operation in C# once the assembly gets compiled ahead of time with NGen (or its Mono equivalent, AOT compilation). Like, say, the following:

public static extern int SomeOperation(int h, string c, ref SomeStruct rStruct, uint type);

[For those of you that still don’t know him, Alexandre Mutel is the creator of, inter alia, SharpDX: “a free and active open-source project that is delivering a full-featured Managed DirectX API”, which is currently leveraging the DirectX-side of projects like Monogame and ANX, among others; being imvho the perfect choice for those of us who don’t want to go back to C++ and once embraced the old ManagedDX solution that then was called off by MSFT in order to give birth to XNA a few months later].

I won’t dare claim that Alexandre posted this impressive article because of my email question (or my prior request of DirectMath support in SharpDX due to SIMD), but I must admit that it vanishes any doubt I might have had in the past in that regard and leads me to concur that .NET must die.

In his article, Alexandre mentions an interesting detail, or fact if you’d mind, when speaking of a managed language:

… the performance level is indeed below a well written C++ application …

… and also that:

… the meaning of the “native” word has slightly shifted to be strongly and implicitly coupled with the word “performance”.

He also references two articles about the real benefits of better Jittering:

And a finding on Channel9 forums, indicating that MSFT is hiring to create a unique compiler to be used on both, C++ and C#.

So, after reading all of the above-mentioned material, if you have reached a point in you programming life where you do search for performance over safeness, is still the real question whether you should go native?

Imvho, the question has then turned into “how”.

The fact that a native solution gives the performance level you are looking for, does not mean that you must only use the C++ language. Even with the additions found in C++11 (a few of them that could have arguably stemmed from managed languages), it still has a cumbersome and unfriendly syntax.

Or what is more, does neither mean that you won’t be able to use a language like C# to get an optimized native application for whichever platform you need (even the Web).

If in order to get native bits we should always stick to “low-level” languages, then we had never moved from both Assembler or even binary notation towards C and all of its offspring. The evolution of hardware and compilers, made eventually C++ a better choice than ASM for performance-oriented apps, given that, marginally over time, the penalty curve was decreasing to an extent that it became irrelevant for native programmers.

Therefore, what if you can get rid of Jittering (being replaced by a fully performance-oriented LLVM compiler) and still have an efficient GC for cases when manual memory (de)allocations are not needed?

Much as I hate Objective-C, due to its ugly syntax, its newest versions for the MAC (and lately, the iOS) platforms offer LLVM native bits with GC.

And what about a more friendly language like “D”, instead? Latest evidence leads me to believe that C-based languages are moving towards its direction.

My point is that going native does not necessarily mean that all  the memory management of your program must avoid a garbage collector for efficiency. Nor that you have to use languages with cumbersome or unfriendly syntax to get the most of efficiency. It depends mainly on how compilers and memory management tech evolve side by side to get the most out of the target platform, how unsafe you can go with a given language where and when needed, and how much penalty-free you can call native operations from external binaries.

For instance, even though its limitations, you can do some unsafe programming with C# (fixed, stackalloc, etc.). The problem is that this feature is not allowed for all platforms (like WinPhone7), and in some platforms the set of operations is limited (i.e.: stackalloc is not available on the Compact Framework for the XBox 360).

And again, the D language seems to provide a friendly syntax (close to C#) while offering a power similar to C++.

Personally, I feel quite comfortable with C#; let’s be real here for a moment: I won’t be creating a Halo-like game any time soon, but I don’t want to go back to C++, say, to consume DirectX11 APIs. Having said that, I really hope C# evolves in a way that arguments from “native” programmers become trivial and the industry embrace it (as once embraced C/C++ to minimize the use of ASM). Evidence shows C# will evolve in this field, but as usual, time will tell …

To wrap it up, does going native imply that .NET should die so that a syntax-friendly language like C# would survive? …

Short answer: yes (or at least, as we know it today). Long answer: read all of the links provided in this post and see it for your self ;)

My two cents,

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Finally I had got some time to go out and watch the final chapter of the Batman trilogy in Montevideo.

First of all, thanks to Nolan and all the cast for giving back the dignity into the character on the screen! (indeed, compared to everything before Nolan’s view of Gotham, his trilogy is great).

Now, I’m not going to talk here about any eventual loose ends, inconsistencies, speculations, deux-ex-machina, mythology and what not. Instead, I will mention two things: first, why I am not giving this film 10, and second what I would love to see in the future.

About my 6-out-of-10 score for the film:

  • Batman is not presented as the world’s greatest detective.
  • Batman exposes himself a lot in open spaces in the City, what goes against his ninjitsu training on the league of shadows.
  • Bruce Wayne is always doubting of his role as Batman (in the comics he knows what he has to do and never doubts about becoming the Batman).
  • There is no balance between action and quiet moments. In fact, there are many sequences with no action to unveil the plot that could have been short, and long action scenes with little interaction among lead roles (like Batman and Bane who could have got more encounters during the film, imvho).
  • Bane is presented as a bully with a nonsense purpose, whose lines sounded with a strange intonations (what is more, his plan also resembles the Joker’s).
  • No fight scenes between Talia al Ghul and Catwoman.
  • Why waiting months to destroy Gotham? It’s just equivalent to “monologuing” …
  • Supporting characters with no added value to the film.

I could go on with my list but I won’t because I like the fact that this time the films are serious about the character.

Now, if a new director shows up with a new vision, please:

1) Stop with the trend of villains with chaotic goals.

In past Superman films, Lex Luthor was presented as a madman with just a fixation with land (even if it’s alien), instead of being presented as a controversial businessman plus scientist with a double agenda for the sake of power and global domination.

The same happens in Nolan’s trilogy with everything related to The League of Shadows, the Joker and Two face. They all seem to have something to prove but in the end they are just breaking havoc.

In short, not everyone has to go mad or become a freak to be a villain in a movie.

For example, The Penguin could be a can high-society mobster that trains birds for deadly tasks, whose umbrella is just a gun in disguise (like a blade inside a stick).

Btw, I would love to see actor Jonny Coyne (Alcatraz’s warden) as The Penguin:

2) Let the Batman be the World’s Greatest Detective.

Besides the incredible gadgets, his strong spirit, determination, and his fighting skills, Batman is the world greatest detective. He moves in the shadows avoiding open scenes.

And please, as a side note, find someone with a voice that does not have to force it to sound fierce.

3) Stop with that line that everyone can be Batman.

Bruce Wayne is the one and only Batman. Period.

Many can wear the cape for a brief period of time even in Comics, but none gives Batman the right touch of presence and solemnity.

Why not adding more characters like Nightwing?

Ok, I can give it that Robin could make things less realistic and prone to guess who the man behind the mask is, easily. Unless you don’t treat them as fulltime sidekicks of Batman but independent heroes them-selves.

4) Write a storyline that can lead to a Justice League film.

If the original Batman is dead, how can this impact on an eventual Justice League film? In particular, what about the legendary friendship between Clark and Bruce? They are not just co-workers. They are friends -despite their different approaches to fight crime for the sake of justice, who trust each other (please, do not remind me of the kryptonite bullet here).

5) And stop with unnecessary roles.

Focus on the lead characters and real supporting ones. Avoid wasting time adding roles that do not add relevant value to the storyline (like Deputy Commissioner Foley and or Bane’s wingman; I am not talking about the actors here –who are great- but the roles them-selves).

Ok, enough words.

To wrap it up, I enjoyed the film and the trilogy but I didn’t fall in love with it. In fact, even with all the flaws one can find in The Avangers movie, I still like it more than TDKR …

My two cents,

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


In the last few days there have been tons of news regarding the upcoming Windows Phone 8.

I am thrilled with two of them, especially:

  • The addition of new markets, and
  • Marketplace pre-compilation of apps.

New Markets

For years I have been sending comments and suggestions to Microsofties (including TPTB), so as to open the AppHub (both WP7 and XBLIG) to devs in countries outside the list of supported ones. Ditto for XBLive services and marketplaces.

As a dev living in one of the unsupported countries, it was quite frustrating that the only two ways to get your app/game to the AppHub were either opening a company in, say, the US, and or talking to a publisher. Being both solutions, cumbersome.

Recently, MSFT announced that for Windows Phone 8, this is finally becoming a reality. So, at launch, over 180 countries will be added to the WinPhone8´s Marketplace (consumers) and its related AppHub (developers).

Please, allow me getting it off my chest: FINALLY!!!

Marketplace Pre-Compilation

On March, 2010, I had submitted a suggestion to the XNA Team through the Connect site entitled “Native Image On-The-Fly” (edit: I am afraid it got lost in the last database purge, so the provided link won´t work).

My suggestion was pre-compiling all approved apps/games to be published on the XBLIG channel to native images. Given the similar architecture of the XBox 360 consoles, this should be a straightforward process to be done once per app/game on the server side, with low-to-none chances of image corruption as target hardware would not change, saving the customer from waits stemming from Jittering during execution.

The benefit, simple: faster start-up and running times of games since the console would be executing native images of assemblies instead of the (MS) intermediate-language versions of them (please note that memory would still be “managed”).

As a result of one of the new features introduced to WinPhone8 devices (that is, support of native code), there was no reason why the above-mentioned rationale would be kept away from the upcoming product.

Well, … MSFT also announced that the Apphub will introduce a new service: pre-compilation of assemblies.

So, if you build with managed code, the assemblies you submit to the AppHub will be compiled by the servers to native code before they make it into the marketplace.

Please, allow me again getting it off my chest: FINALLY!!!

Both news are a huge step forward. Let us hope MSFT eventually extend them to the XBox360’s AppHub …


Thursday, June 21, 2012


Microsoft is letting a very interesting group of cats out the bag these days. First the news of its tablets (Surface) and now the news related to a new phone: Windows Phone 8.

You may be probably thinking that is not a new phone after all but a whole rebrand of an existing phone packed with a future update. If that is the case, you would be wrong. So wrong in fact, that you missed the lines that explain/claim that:

  1. The phone will be bundled with a new OS, which require a more powerful hardware than the one existing on WP7 devices,
  2. Windows Phone 7 devices will NOT be receiving this new OS but an update (to version 7.8), which will help to reduce the UX-gap between phones, and
  3. The new devices will allow devs to use native code and do native calls. Yes, C/C++ …

Let us talk about each of these points for a moment. Shall we?

(I) The new OS

To keep the story short: if Windows 8 will be out soon, what else could you expect?

Now, the long explanation …

Microsoft is trying to extend the success around the XBox 360 console –yes, despite the RROD problem- to other platforms in order to unify the user experience on the multimedia front to compete with others big players for their marketshare, like Apple and Google. And the new OS is a step in that front.

A broad set of hardware will be powered by the Windows 8 OS in the near future (PCs, tablets, …, consoles?), which in turn will help MSFT to position as a strong provider of a unified multimedia experience. So, providing a new OS branded with the number “8” for window phones is something one could have been expecting some time ago.

Will its strategy succeed? Well, that leads me to the discussion of the second point.

(II) The “Old” Phones

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned the doom of a device that seemed promising by the time it came out: the Zune HD.

Let me be clear here. The first Zune devices had nothing to offer against their “i” counterparts. But that was not the case for the Zune HD: neither in hardware, nor in software.

The Zune HD device opened the door for the Windows Phone and also influenced, to some extent, the look’n’feel of both, the current 360’s dashboard and the UI of the “8-based” OS. And yet, it was left behind in the dust …

Now, if the “old” 7 phones will be receiving an update in order to let users experience a taste of what the new OS will offer, why mentioning what happened to the Zune, then?

Because users (customers and devs) could deem this behavior as a tendency, as if the were treated as mere beta testers of MSFT’s experiments with mobile hardware: Zune, Zune HD, the infamous Kin, developer WP7 devices, and eventually retail WP7 devices.

Not to mention that this may represent a slap in the face to one of its newest and major partners, Nokia, which recently released into the market a new line of WP7 devices!

One can understand that a new OS may require new hardware to enjoy the full set of features it might offer, but rushing and or pushing things into the market this way, in a track-record of “no-more-support” deeds in a short period of time, could only become eventually a winning move if MSFT shows a strong commitment from now on to support its upcoming devices, for a reasonable minimum number of years.

Make no mistake, I am a MSFT supporter, but it does not prevent me to chime in and do a wake-up call when I see a warning signal.

As usual in life, time will tell …

(III) Native Code

“Developers, developers, developers …”

Allowing native code on a Windows Phone is a fantastic move!!!

But stating that by allowing native code it would be easier to port existing frameworks to the windows-phone environment is, imho, vague. It depends on a combination of factors: how many platforms you want to support, the techonologies you use to develop apps, and or how sensitive you are to fragmentation of code (since this feature will not be available to WP7 apps), to mention just a few.

Now, does this mean that you must use native languages for WP8? The answer is “No”. You can still use managed ones like C# (specially if you want to create apps and games for both, WinPhone 7 and 8 devices).

Does this mean you can still use XNA to produce games for WP8 devices? In spite of the fact that more and more it seems that XNA will be no longer updated –and no other official managed solution would take its place, the answer is “Yes”.

However, the answer for XNA-based games seems to be “No” for other platforms like the new “Surface” tablet and Windows 8 on ARM (on desktop mode you could still use it), unless you switch to unofficial solutions like Monogame or ANX.

Personally, I do not care whichever languages/techs a dev picks to develop apps and or games. But I do care about using the same languages/tech for the most amount of target platforms out there to economize resources. That is why solutions like Unity3D are so popular these days …

So I hope MSFT eventually returns to the dream of “The N Screens”, allowing for all its devices with the less amount of key differences (that is, on what can be used/called/consumed), both, native languages and also native calls from managed code, so that devs can pick the right combination for their needs and or preferences …

To wrap it up, some may be in favor, some may argue about pros and cons, and some may complain, but let us be honest and recognize that interesting times lay ahead.

The only news left behind –at least, for now- is related to the rumored XBox 720. But who knows? Maybe we will receiving some official words from MSFT sooner than we expect …


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Microsoft has recently presented its own line of tablets powered with the soon-to-come Windows RT and 8 Pro operative systems: the Microsoft Surface –branded with the new logo.

Two major hardware specs will be available, which will depend on the OS flavor that comes with the tablet, but on the overall the product looks promising.

A flood of comments and opinions has covered the Internet since then, but personally, I believe it is a very interesting product. All I hope is that this time, MSFT gives this line of products a very different fate than the one the Zune (HD) devices had …

Enough words, so here’s the presentation video:

Something tells me that the mouse era –and the keyboard´s, as we know it- is coming to an end.


> Link to Spanish version.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Lately, I haven´t got enough time left to take a break … not even to post something on my blog. But I think this one really deserves it!

I have been a superheroe comic-book collector since I can remember who has changed throughout the years from regulars to graphic novels.

As a huge reader of Marvel’s, I was expecting The Avengers movie with scrambled feelings since not all the previous movies that drove us to this one have been that great, imvho of course.

The first Ironman movie was incredible, the second one was (almost) ok. Captain America´s wasn´t that great but got the job done. Ditto for Thor. And Hulk has been trying to find the place it deserves on the big screen with mixed results.

For those in the US that are waiting for its opening night, let me tell you that it is really safe to go to the theather with your expectations high since you won’t get dissapointed. In fact, I believe the movie will surpass your expectations!

No pictures and videos that you have found on the Internet will prepare you for you are going to enjoy. Except for the 3D fxs –that were only ok for me, the film delivers everything you can expect from a superheroe movie that well that you don’t see actors playing the roles but the characters themselves. And the latter in film with several potential lead roles is a hugh task that luckily, for the film, ended superb.

The storyline is balanced. All characters have their due time. Action and FX are present only when and where needed. And humour touches are smart and welcome.

Again, you won’t be paying attention to the actors since you will buy that the ones you are watching on screen are the heores and villains themselves. Btw, hats off to Mark Ruffalo who had some challenge before him –specially, after the second Hulk movie- and played, imho, the Bruce Banner I always wanted to see. And as for the Hulk, … well … you will have to wait and see ‘cause I don’t want to spoil anything!

One more thing, stay on your seats when the movie finishes for a final scene where you will know The Being behind Loki´s strike on earth (and yeap, it was the one I was expecting for years!). This will open the door for future movies and hopefully, if the Avengers was Epic, the one that shows off this creature in its full potential will be for sure also epic but in a cosmic scale!

To wrap it up, The Avengers is one of the best superheroe movies ever that deserves a place on the blu-ray shelves of any collector once it gets out. What is more, it raises the bar high for the TDKR … gloves off!

Here’s the link to an excellent (translated) review for the film.

Enjoy the movie, guys!

> Link to Spanish version.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Last month, a new book about XNA 4 hit the shelves worldwide:

XNA 4.0 Game Development Example - Visual Basic Edition

His author, Kurt Jaegers, is the creator of a well known site that covers lots of XNA material: XnaResources.

The book is based on its C# sibling –from same author, and I personally deem it as a great introduction to XNA 4.0 for devs that use Visual Basic as their primary language.

Targeting beginners, the author introduces useful concepts and techniques applicable to both, game development per se and XNA 4.0, through four games:

  • A puzzler,
  • A space shooter,
  • A multi-axis shoot 'em up, and
  • A jump-and-run platformer.

All code presented in the book is fully explained by the Author on a clear and simple way, what makes each chapter easy to follow.

So if you are a Visual Basic geek that want to enter the word of XNA, then this is your chance to take your first steps!

You can buy a print and or digital copy of the book either from Pack Publishing or Amazon.

If you are intertested in getting a free digital copy of it –provided by Packt Publishing, then write a comment on this page stating why you deserve the copy and the person that gives imo the best comment gets it!

My two cents …

> Link to Spanish version.