Ok, so I’m a little late, but XNA Express was released on Monday. For those that don’t know, XNA is Microsoft’s newest foray into the world of hobbyist programmers. In a nutshell, XNA gives you everything you need to write and publish games for both the PC and XBox 360.
You can read all about XNA at the Microsoft Game Technologies Center. To download XNA you’ll need XNA Game Studio Express, the XNA Framework Redistributable, and Visual C# 2005 Express Edition.
In addition to the XNA release, GarageGames has released their TorqueX game engine, based on XNA. TorqueX is free to download and try out for 30 days and is a mere $100 for indie developers. The engine looks pretty nice and it will be neat to see what developers come up with in the coming months.
Also on the XNA front, Dave Weller from Microsoft mentioned in his blog that you can code XNA games in F# now. F# is apparently a programming language designed by the Microsoft Research team. It marries together a large host of features from a variety of programming languages such as Python, C#, Scheme, and more. It looks interesting, but does the world really need a new language at this point?
At any rate, get out there, get XNA, and get coding!