This is all very exciting: given the recent launch of a number of “360” products by Autodesk – including Autodesk 360, Autodesk PLM 360 and Autodesk BIM 360 – it looks as though we’re about to enter a strategic relationship with Microsoft to make Autodesk products interoperate seamlessly with their industry-leading games platform, the Xbox 360.
It’s as yet unclear exactly what this means for the two companies and their respective 360 products, although I’m hopeful that some of the work I’ve been doing to prototype the use of Kinect and Metro with our products is going to be relevant to this effort. Some early predictions: expect to see Autodesk products downloadable via Xbox LIVE, and potentially to see Xbox technology integrated directly into the Autodesk product experience and downloadable via Autodesk Exchange.
A core participant in this effort and a good friend of mine, Christer Janson, has a long history of working with games technology: he previously spent many years working on 3ds Max before becoming a Senior Software Architect for AutoCAD. During the course of the recent 4-day hackathon event, Christer developed two games that work directly inside AutoCAD by integrating the Box2D physics engine: he created skinnable applications called “SpaceCADet” and “Grumpy Blocks” (you should be able to guess what inspired them from the screenshots :-), both of which animate – and can be customized via – standard AutoCAD geometry.
When asked about his expectations regarding the project currently codenamed “360 convergence”, Christer said: “AutoCAD has a kick @s$ – I mean state-of-the-art – graphics engine that can effectively be used to implement all manner of 3D-intensive applications. It’s really a small leap to envision running Xbox 360 games within AutoCAD – and conversely AutoCAD on the Xbox 360.”
These are, indeed, interesting times.