Get to know your XNA MVPs – Part 1: What is an MVP?

With the recent addition of three XNA MVPs last week, we’ve decided to not only welcome and introduce them to the community, but shine some light on what it means to be a Microsoft MVP. This will be a four part series, with the following three parts consisting of the back stories for the two inductees and one veteran.

Microsoft’s MVP program has been around since the early 90’s. Its purpose is to allow for talented individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge, real-world experience, and impartial, objective feedback to help people enhance the way they use Microsoft’s technology. They also grant Microsoft the opportunity to share highly focused feedback from the community. While MVPs are independent of Microsoft, they work closely with the company as a conduit for information to be passed freely between the two parties. Their expertise spans over ninety areas of technology, but we’ll  focus on those who work in the XNA field. It should be made clear however, that they are not Microsoft employees, nor do they speak on Microsoft’s behalf.

It’s certainly a nice distinction to bear, although it won’t net you a single Benjamin (not even a Washington), as Microsoft provides no compensation to those involved in the program. As MVP Andy “Zman” Dunn commented, “Anyone who want to become an MVP for the perks is exactly the sort of person who shouldn’t be an MVP. Most MVPs would be probably doing exactly what they currently do without the perks or even the title.” Oh what’s that? You want to become an MVP yourself? Time to make your mark, as individuals are nominated for the MVP Award by their peers or by Microsoft, based on their contributions throughout the past year to offline or online technical communities. The contributions for nominees are then compared to the other candidates’ contributions for the same year to determine who will receive the award. Ultimately, MVPs are awarded the status for one year, after which they must renew their distinction.

I’ve had the pleasure of talking with two of the three latest additions to the XNA/DirectX  team, Michael McLaughlin (@Mikebmcl) and John Defenbaugh (@SigilXNA). Be sure to check back each day this week as we add interviews and information on them, as well as veteran XNA MVP, George Clingerman (@ClingermanGW), who has been an outstanding source of information on this topic.

A full list of XNA MVP’s can be found here. Unfortunately we can’t cover all of the MVP’s on that page, but if you want to get to know a few be sure to check back here. Again, feel free to contact the MVPs who have volunteered to make their information publicly available to those who would like assistance; including those not covered in the story. Finally, leave your questions or comments below as we’d love to hear your thoughts on whether or not you would like to see more pieces like this!

Source: Microsoft MVP FAQ

EDIT: Added Andy “Zman” Dunn’s informative comments

Posted on by Dave Voyles in Interviews

About Dave Voyles

Dave is located in Philadelphia, and works as a Tech Evangelist at Microsoft. He's coordinated the Indie Games Uprisings on Xbox Live, wrote the UnrealScript Game Programming Cookbook, Made an XBLIG game, and is currently doing JS / HTML5 dev for browser base games. You can follow him on Twitter, at @DaveVoyles