Now, those of you with long memories will recall that XNA is a C# game development framework that is a great way to teach how to program by writing silly games. It was released way back in 2006. I've used it in our teaching ever since, written three books on the platform and I even spoke at the launch event in the UK.
You could say I rather like it.
Unfortunately, not everyone at Microsoft does (or did) and it was recently "sunsetted" or whatever the trendy name is for "made not really around any more". This was sad, but it would have been even sadder if that had been the end of the story. Fortunately, because of those wonderful folks at MonoGame, the framework lives on in a form that makes it possible for programmers to take their XNA skills and use them to make iPhone, Android, Playstation Vita, Windows Phone and Windows 8 games. And that's where the story was until today.
Microsoft UK have just done something very interesting. They've put together a package of hardware, software and educational materials that makes it very easy to set up a course that teaches programming and game development using XNA on real console hardware. And the fun thing for me is that they are bundling in all the XNA teaching materials that I've written over the years.
You can find out more, and sign up, here. (although I must admit the website mystifies me at the moment, as I've no idea what a "Microsoft Volume Licence Agreement Number" actually is). However, Lee Stott will be able to help I'm sure. If you just want my XNA book you can find it here.
As a kind of celebration I've dug into my copious archives and found the first video of a set I made ages ago for a local video game webzine. It is a little bit out of date (Visual Studio 2008 anyone?), but still mostly valid. If you want to see the rest of the series (it's worth watching just for the animated titles - in XNA of course - and the catchy theme song) then let me know and I'll transcode and upload them. Enjoy.