I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how hard it is going to be to test the full 8 player teams that AOTZH 2 supports. Unfortunately once AOTZH 2 is released on the Xbox it will be a full 7 days before Microsoft will allow us to submit a patch. This means that if anything major crops up, it will be a very painful week before we can do anything about it. There isn’t a great deal we can do about this other than to be 100% sure the game runs well and is well balanced with teams of all sizes upon release. It is in that light I’ve been thinking more seriously about a limited PC beta test for AOTZH 2 and as part of that process I’ve been looking into using MonoGame. MonoGame is Open Source implementation of the XNA Framework (the framework used for building AOTZH 1 & 2).
The big advantage to it is portability across multiple platforms, nearly everything is covered from PC to Mac to Linux to mobile. The downside however is there are a few gaps in it’s development. It lacks it’s own content pipeline and there are issues around sounds and the way they port across platforms. It is that sound issue that will probably hold me off doing a full port to MonoGame for the moment as there are other more pressing jobs I wish to tackle right now. It is an interesting option for the future including a potential port onto the Windows 8 store (and probably the next Xbox).
So keep an eye out here and on our twitter for announcements about a closed PC beta test of AOTZH 2. There is a lot of work to be done to make it happen as we have to use a different networking framework to XNA’s built in one, but it feels like it may be worth the effort to ensure we get the best possible game out there for you (and us ) to enjoy.
If you want to make sure you are part of any beta, just pop a quick email to email@example.com mentioning AOTZH 2 Beta in the subject line and as much of your PC and operating system spec as you can.