ExEn open source engine will bring XNA games to iOS, Silverlight and Android

ExEn open source engine will bring XNA games to iOS, Silverlight and Android
While Microsoft is keen for iOS developers to port their titles to Windows Phone, independent developer Andrew Russell has been beavering away on something that allows games to go in the other direction.

ExEn is a developer tool designed to convert XNA games – i.e. those made with Microsoft's C#-based XNA toolkit – into code that will run on iOS, Silverlight and, in the future, Android.

In development since the end of 2010, ExEn's first public preview has just gone live, albeit only for those who have helped fund the project.

Russell has crowdfunded development with over $10,000 provided to-date and the final code will be open sourced. 

The ExEn factor

According to Russell, ExEn implements a subset of the XNA Framework API on platforms that XNA doesn't natively support.

It currently only handles sprite-based games but support for 3D graphics is planned. 

As well as making it much easier to port games, this cross platform support will enable developers to use the web to promote their games in app stores. For example, developers could chose to support an iOS version of their XNA game with a Silverlight demo, available on the web – both versions converted by ExEn.

Android next target

"ExEn is running behind schedule for various reasons, so this release is missing some features that will be in the final version," Russell notes.

"The most notable absence in this release is the Android port which, although it is making good progress, is not yet good enough for a public release."

Russell claims those who can access the public preview will be the first to get their hands on Android support when it is added to ExEn's roster. Everyone else will have to wait for a full release.

Further details about what benefits you can get from funding ExEn, including feature additions and personal support can be found on Russell's website or in the video below. 

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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