Last weekend I happened across the MSDN Virtual Labs. Basically they have a bunch of tutorials on how to use .NET to do snazzy things. The cool thing is that the tutorial takes place by you doing ‘remote desktop’ control of a machine that’s all set up for the tutorial. This means that you don’t have to spend ages getting all the software set up, you just jump in, following the step by step guides, setting up projects, building web apps, configuring databases etc.
In a bit over an hour I followed a tutorial which had me set up a server database, a C# application which view/modifies the database, and a web app which did the same. To go from knowing nothing to having all that working in around 60 minutes is fantastic.
It reminds me a little of the film Amelie, where she leads the blind man along the street for a few moments. I’ve just been exposed to a load of information, which I can’t immediately recall, but I got a good feel for the landscape.
Lots of different types of labs are available. I didn’t see anything game related, but it’s good to know what kind of technology is out there for when you have to build other things like tools.
Ohh, plus you can enter to win an Xbox 360 if you take the survey after the lab. When I did it though, they had ‘technical difficulties’ with that part :(