Microsoft may have long-retired XNA, its .NET-based game development framework, but it’s still very much supporting games developers. Last year it released the Community Edition of Visual Studio, essentially a “full version” of its programming IDE for hobbyist and professionals alike, as well as Unity Tools for Visual Studio. Now it’s partnered with Epic, Unity and Chukong Technologies (Cocos2d) to more deeply integrate these technologies into Visual Studio.
Microsoft regularly operates in mysterious ways (Windows 8, anyone?) with one of its more intriguing — and recent — manoeuvres being the acquisition of SyntaxTree. The company is best known for UnityVS, a Visual Studio extension that allows developers to debug games created with Unity 3D in Redmond’s popular IDE. A month after SyntaxTree’s integration into the mothership, Microsoft has released an updated version of UnityVS, renaming it to “Visual Studio Tools for Unity” (VSTU), while also removing the $US99+ price tag.
Just as TechEd North America 2014 kicks off, Microsoft has officially released Update 2 for Visual Studio 2013. The big addition here is the ability to work on universal Windows apps, which can use most of their code across Windows, Windows Phone and (eventually) Xbox.
Visual Studio 2013 was released a few days ago and with it, updated Express editions for hobbyists and those who don’t require the full spectrum of features the commercial product provides. Unfortunately, VS Express 2013 for Windows Desktop shares a problem with its 2012 predecessor — the removal of the Exception Assistant.
Inevitably, preview releases break some software, and Windows 8.1 is no exception. Developers building Windows Phone 8 apps may experience problems using the emulator on a Windows 8.1 preview system, but there’s a workaround.