Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express Released

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!

XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2 is out!

Saw over at both LetsKillDave and Gamasutra that XNA Beta 2 has been released. As with the previous release, VC# Express needs to be installed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do much of anything with Beta 1, but I’m hoping to play around a bit with Beta 2. Definitely going to need to learn C# though. Just another language to add to the growing list of languages I’m familiar with.. :)

There are also a few sites dedicated to XNA development. Check them out :


XNA Spot

XNA Resources

GarageGames has also been working a bit with XNA and their Torque engine and they’ve ported it over to XNA. It’s going to Beta on November 6th, but should be released around the same time XNA is officially released. Of course, release dates slip so don’t take my word for it.. Exciting stuff!

Gamefest 2006 Content & XNA

I noticed over at Let’s Kill Dave that the content for Gamefest 2006 was released and is available for download. Head over to Dave’s blog to check it out!


Also, XNA Game Studio Express is out. Go get it. You’ll need Visual C# Express as well, but the complete package looks pretty slick. Time to learn yet another programming language!

Microsoft takes a step towards user content

Gamasutra has some news about Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio Express, a game development tookit geared towards the amateur/hobbyist developer. From the article :


The details of the new tech are as follows: XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to anyone with a Windows XP-based PC, and will provide them with what’s described as “Microsoft’s next-generation platform for game development.” In addition, by joining a “creators club” for an annual subscription fee of $99, users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360, as well as access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress.


So it looks like Microsoft is taking the first steps towards making the need for modchips obsolete! Maybe. According to the article, the content created won’t be available to “regular” 360 owners, just to those who are part of the creator’s club. However, they go on to state that the content may be available via Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) at some point in the future. It’s not explicitly stated, but it looks like PC owners will have access to the content regardless of membership.

Other companies have already pledged support. GarageGames has already ported their Torque Engine over to the studio, and Autodesk has confirmed support for their FBX file exchange format. Apparently some universities and game development schools have decided to add the studio to their curriculum and will use the XBox 360 exclusively. While I’m not sure I like the lock-in to the 360 console, it is nice to see awareness and knowledge growing.

So, what does this mean for the indie developer? Well, in short, it gives access to a pretty powerful console. And since it’s officially sanctioned by Microsoft you can expect mailing lists and forums dedicated to development. Ownership of a 360 isn’t necessary either as the studio runs on a Windows XP PC. It may also mean a revenue stream as well. If Microsoft opts to allow content to be available on XBLA, they may also allow the developer to charge for downloads. I’m sure Microsoft will get their cut, but this could mean some serious cash for the young developer.

Overall, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Despite what you and I may think of Microsoft, I think they’re doing something right here. Only time will tell how it turns out. I’ll definitely be downloading this when it becomes available on August 30th.


UPDATE : Maxconsole dug up the official FAQ direct from Microsoft. This is different than the FAQ on the XNA site. Looks like you’ll have to sign up to get the beta :


A beta of XNA Game Studio Express will be released on August 30. To receive a notification on when the Beta is available, please go to and select “Available Connections.” Then choose the XNA connection and follow the link to sign up for the XNA Game Studio Express Beta. (Note: A valid Windows Live ID is required, if you do not have one, you will be given the option of creating one.)


It looks like the beta will be limited to PC content only. It uses .NET technology on both the 360 and PC to create the games and according to the FAQ, it looks like it will be limited to C# code only.