Evaluation and Extension of an XNA Game Library used in Software Architecture Projects
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For most young people growing up today, video games have been a part of their life on the same level as music, films, and other entertainment. They regard video games as a fun, exciting, and absorbing source of entertainment and stimulation. Transferring these properties into an educational context can prove to be very valuable and motivational. In this master thesis, the introduction of video game development with the XNA game development platform in software architecture projects at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is evaluated. This includes an evaluation of a 2D XNA game library used in the projects. In addition, we present an assessment of the effort and time spent required to grasp the necessary 3D concepts and techniques involved in producing 3D games with XNA. We also describe our improvements and extensions of the game library to support and include 3D features, based on the evaluation and assessment. The students of the course had the choice between the traditional project (a robot simulation) and the new XNA project. We find that the students who chose the XNA project were more motivated, struggled less, and thus required less assistance. On the other hand, the XNA students admitted to over focusing on the gameplay of their game, at the expense of the software architecture. This should even out when more learning material specific to the XNA project becomes available. 40% of the XNA students used the game library in their project. Overall, they were satisfied with the usefulness and usability of it, but did not think it helped them focus less on technical matters and more on the architecture.