How To Play World of Warcraft in Visual Studio. Not.

How To Play World of Warcraft in Visual Studio. Not.

Infoworld managed, somehow, to make this magical feat into a terribly exciting story.

Problem is, it’s not that exciting. In fact, it’s a little misleading. Take the opening paragraph:

A top official from Microsoft’s developer division showcased an array of new development technologies on Tuesday, including a demo of the game World of Warcraft running within the company’s Visual Studio integrated development environment.

Running inside Visual Studio? What the hell does that mean? In the words of Boromir, one does not simply run games in a programming IDE. Let’s read on a bit more and pray to God for some clarity.

WarCraft, a popular online role-playing game, uses a programming language called LUA. The Microsoft presentation showed a developer using the familiar Visual Studio environment to code in LUA and create some extensions for the game.

Ah, so all Microsoft has done is add LUA syntax highlighting to VS? That’s not news. You can do that yourself with any half-decent IDE (including VS, with a bit of patience). Actually, I’m pretty sure Notepad++, a freeware text and source code editor, has native support.

“Not only does Visual Studio give you line-of-business productivity, but you can also triple-kill your opponents,” [Scott]Guthrie joked after an onscreen character coldly dealt death to a trio of hapless game characters.

LUA add-ons don’t help you kill things. They can help you keep track of how many things you’ve killed, but the limited interaction between the client user interface and the server means you won’t be manipulating combat in any way. Essentially what I’m pointing out here is that there’s no description of what the add-on does.

According to the InfoWorld story, it will be available on CodePlex at some point in the future. So stay tuned for when I pull that apart.

The rest of the story talks about the release of VS 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 (I’m happy with 2.0, but hey), so just stop reading after the WoW stuff. Or don’t read it at all.

I know it’s news for enterprise and SMB, but heck, would it hurt to do a bit of research?

World of Warcraft, meet Visual Studio [InfoWorld]


  • What Scott Guthrie did was a small LUA addon that played the triple-kill sound effects from Halo whenever he killed 3 opponents in a row. Natur’s Enemy Cast Bar has this feature as well (only with Unreal Tournament sound effects). So there was nothing groundbreaking going on. The sole point of the demonstration was to show how you can develop LUA addons with Visual Studio 2008. Just like you guessed. Nothing more, nothing less.

    And as for .Net Framework 3.5.. just like 3.0, it’s basically a set of new assemblies that add new APIs and some new programming techniques like LINQ. Everything you do with 3.5 compiles back to CLR 2.0-compatible MSIL code (assuming you have the 3.5 assemblies available). I wouldn’t try to compile source code made for 3.5 with a 2.0 compiler, though.

  • I saw a demo of the VS2008 LUA editor extension at Dev Connections conference a few weeks ago. The extensibility of VS2008 goes beyond mere syntax highlighting. The female microsoft employee who demo’d the LUA editor showed that it had intellisense (code completion) as well as a WYSIWYG editor.

    I can’t wait until this comes out, with tools like this that expose the LUA API I’ll be able to develop my own mods without sifting through hundreds of AddOn development forum posts.

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