Thanks to a very helpful user of the gadget (goes by the name of Dave), I have been informed that animating the avatar within the gadget may be possible. Apparently, the Xbox Live site currently hosts the animated version of the avatar in a Silverlight plugin and since gadgets are merely glorified, miniature web apps that live on the desktop, using Silverlight in a gadget is completely possible and opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the gadget. However, since gadgets are slowly being fazed out with Windows 8’s new “metro app framework”, this gadget will likely not see any significant revamping other than to add animation to the avatar.
On the bright side though, if there is enough support, I will consider writing a new Windows 8 dockable app that may be able to serve as a logical evolution of the Xbox 360 Avatar Gadget. I’ll have to see what the final version of Windows 8 holds and how the new app ecosystem develops. I’m curious to see how the current Windows 7 Gadget Platform will change (or if it doesn’t) for Windows 8 and what the usefulness will be for having gadgets live on the “old” desktop that will be overshadowed by Windows 8’s new Start/Home Screen.
Anyway, I’m currently working on writing a new version of the Xbox 360 Avatar Gadget that will utilize Silverlight (which can leverage XNA libraries to animate and control the avatar in many useful ways). The new version of the gadget will likely be remarkably different so I will not simply replace the current unanimated one with the new animated one, just in case some people have problems with the animated version.