Wow!! As it becomes usual, the beta of Silverlight 5 has been released for MIX and it comes pretty loaded with awesome features.
First we have 3D using the XNA 3D Graphics APi which is awesome, just go check the demos and don’t forget to check what Einar Ingebrigtsen has done with his library Balder at http://www.ingebrigtsen.info/post/2011/04/13/Silverlight-5-and-Balder.aspx and also, using his library and some of his own projects, checking René Schulte is too a must here: http://kodierer.blogspot.com/2011/04/silverlight-5-3d-slartoolkit-augmented.html and there: http://kodierer.blogspot.com/2011/04/xna-for-web-silverlight-5.html . Also do check Andy Beaulieu for some physics applied to the 3D here: http://www.andybeaulieu.com/Home/tabid/67/EntryID/216/Default.aspx.
Also, on the not so 3D side, we have interesting advancements on the 2D with the new DrawingSurface. There we don’t have XNA’s SpriteBatch but Bill Reiss is actively working on that, as you can read here: http://blogs.silverarcade.com/silverlight-games-101/13/silverlight-silverlight-5-takes-2d-silverlight-game-development-to-the-next-level/
Apart from that we have some already mentioned capabilities – if you remember past 2th of December, the Silverlight Firestarter? – And some other brand new.
We have improved tooling which is called XAML debugging but I’d like to remember as XAML databinding debugging, on the Media aspect we have low latency sound where we can use XNA class “SoundEffect” directly and also “TrickPlay” that enables to change the playback speed with audio pitch correction so we are not hearing the “smurfs” when going quick..
Layout of text has been improved, DataBinding has been feeded with Steroids and, apart from the debugging capability, we have implicit DataTemplates for a concrete type over all our application, custom MarkupExtensions and more… Additionally, we have multi window support, more trust for our applications so they now can access whatever we allow them to (with appropriate permission of course).
Apart from this, you can expect an incredible increase in performance on startup & render, we can now do vector printing, 64bit plugin support, COM interop for in-browser applications, P/Invoke and, oh, an improved pivot viewer control already included on the Silverlight 5 SDK.
You can read more at Tim Heuer’s fabulous post here http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2011/04/13/whats-new-in-silverlight-5-a-guide.aspx or go straight and download the bits http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight-5-beta/ where you have also at your fingertips and for free awesome training video material from Pete Brown.
Well, have fun!