New Game Dev Tool: XNA Game Studio Express

Okay, now that I've made my crack about the statement of Chris Satchell, General Manager of Microsoft's Game Developer Group, let me get down to more serious posting.

XBox 360.

Don't let my habit of Microsoft-bashing fool you: there's some neat tech coming out of Redmond that I'm interested in. I've been rather pleased with the XBox 360 that I won at the Ajax Experience conference in Boston back in October, and I have been given the opportunity to give Vista another chance on some nice new hardware (more about that later). These two are about to meet in an interesting new way thanks to XNA Game Studio Express, which I'm dying to try.

As the XNA FAQ puts it, XNA Game Studio Express, which was released only a few days ago, is “a new game development solution targeted primarily at students, hobbyists, and independent game developers”. Based on the Visual C# Express 2005 IDE, XNA Game Studio Express is an integrated development environment built specifically for indie game developers who want to build games for both Windows and the XBox 360. It comes with the following:

  • XNA Framework, a set game development-specific libraries.
  • XNA Framework Content Pipeline, a set of tools for more easily incorporaing 3D content into games.
  • A full set of documentation, how-tos, and starter kits that demonstrate how to use the framework and content pipeline.

XNA Game Studio Express is free-as-in-beer, but in order to develop and play and games for the XBox 360, you need an XNA Creators' Club membership, which sells for $99 a year. (Perhaps I can use some of my blog juice to get one for free.)

It looks as though I should get started on my reading, and one of the things I'll check out the first part of a two-part article titled The DNA of XNA, in which both Chris Satchell and game design guru Peter Molyneux talk about XNA and offer advice to budding young game coders.