Tuesday, August 15, 2006

XNA Game Studio Express: Easy and cheap way to build a game

Talking about the ever rising skill and resource requirement of game development, it might seem that Microsoft might have done something right for the game industry with XNA Game Studio Express. It is free and enables quick game development on PC Platform, and might support portability and distribution channel to XBOX 360 in the near future. Good news huh? Imagine building my own game and share it among friends easily.

I think this is quite a good move, giving a free and easy tool, and creating a community and sharing of resources for faster and easier development. It kinda bring a new life to Indies game developers, and hopefully a lot of weird and innovative game titles will pop up at the Xbox Live distribution channel to add more varieties to the genres and styles of games. I believe innovations shows out most frequently with Indies developers (though might not be polished), because they want and can afford to take risk.

I still remember the days where the Tribes 2 engines is offered at only USD 100, later renamed to Torque Game Engine and it help Indies game developers publish games with the help of GarageGames. I was so tempted to buy it and build a cool games with some friends, but I guess the project is still too huge for us to handle. Perhaps XNA could reduce the challenges and effort required in order to build a fun game.

What is XNA Game Studio Express?
  • A development IDE based on Visual C# Express 2005, bundled with XNA Framework, 3D tools, starter-kits and demo for easy game development on Windows and Xbox 360.
  • You can build commercial Windows game using the express edition, but not for Xbox (you’ll need the professional edition)
  • To develop, debug and/or play games on Xbox 360, you will need to purchase a XNA “Creator’s Club” subscription (USD 99 per year).
  • More FAQ.
The effort is still at its early stage, thus a lot of infrastructure is not ready yet, but the future looks promising for Indies developers, hobbyist and most of all, Xbox 360 and Windows.

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