Make Your Own Microsoft Games

Game development for dummies courtesy of XNA Game Studio Express

Posted by Staff
Make Your Own Microsoft Games
Fancy yourself as the next Tetsuya Mizuguchi? A successful, rich, creatively fulfilled game developer wowing the masses (and the ladies!) with your latest genius game concepts.

If you are a gamer then the chances are, like many of us, somewhere in your brain you have a special list of amazing game concepts. You daydream about pitching them to a cash-rich publisher someday and thus magically hitting it big, lucking out early on in life. You could then spend the rest of your days idly playing Mario Kart with friends by the side of the olympic-sized swimming pool at your golden-paved villa in the Bahamas.

Then the daydream suddenly fades and you realise that there is one key problem with even getting over the first hurdle. You donít know how to make games.

That, dear reader, is no longer a problem. if Microsoft is to be believed. At Gamefest 2006 yesterday the company unveiled a new software suite called XNA Game Studio Express, which will be free to all Windows XP users. Whilst the software itself is free, users can pay a US$99 annual subscription fee to join a "Creators' Club" developers group where they can access loads of useful content, plus test out theirs and other member's games.

According to the Microsoft release we received earlier, XNA Game Studio Express "will democratize game development by delivering the necessary tools to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike to help them bring their creative game ideas to life while nurturing game development talent, collaboration and sharing that will benefit the entire industry."

Creators will not be able to sell games made with XNA Game Studio Express, but they may well appear on Xbox Live Arcade, so you might get some glory from the large and growing Xbox Live community for your efforts.

Peter Moore, that master of the PR soundbite commented on the initiative: "It's our first step to creating a YouTube for videogames".

The YouTube analogy is far from a casual one. YouTube users currently view around 100 million videos daily. If casual PC and Xbox 360 users can create half-decent games that they can share online via Xbox Live Anywhere, then Microsoft could well be onto something. However, it's much easier to rip off someone else's video or a bunch of old TV ads than it is to code up your own game, no matter how small.

Chris Satchell, general manager of Microsoft's game developer group, said: "By unlocking retail Xbox 360 consoles for community-created games, we are ushering in a new era of cross-platform games based on the XNA platform... We are looking forward to the day when all the resulting talent-sharing and creativity transforms into a thriving community of user-created games on Xbox 360."

Microsoft is also planning on releasing a toolkit aimed more at the professional level, called XNA Game Studio Professional, for those who wish to make games they can flog for real money. The beta of XNA Game Studio Express launches at the end of August, with the final version planned for Christmas. XNA Game Studio Professional should be releasing sometime around Spring 2007.

Comments

Ditto 14 Aug 2006 20:47
1/12
Finally.

I hate to say it, but well done and congratulations to Microsoft.
vault 13 14 Aug 2006 21:22
2/12
This is total ass. It's one more way for Microsoft to dominate the world of "electronics". F**k XNA, if you want to make a videogame, you learn how or hire some cheap overseas coders to do the grunt work and make your vision happen. All of this is going to turn out to be a glorified Make Your Own Game software kits from back in the day. It's gonna be limited (in respect to what the home user can do), so every Joe and Dave who makes a game, will make the same damn thing. Either that or people will blatantly rip off classics like Bayou Billy and Superman 64. To quote Mr. Horse. "No sir, I don't like it!"
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RiseFromYourGrave 14 Aug 2006 22:29
3/12
i think its a great idea, go indie games devs

strike one up for the little man, courtesy of MS!!
DoctorDee 15 Aug 2006 07:20
4/12
Credit where it's due. This is EXACTLY what the gaming community has needed for some time now. About 12 year, to be precise...

If you plot an innovation curve from the day the Amiga (the last easily and cheaply accessible platform wit good cheap development tools) died you'll see that innovation died with it.

Clearly, the Amiga died (approximately) the day the PSX was born, so the corpratisation of gaming may have had as much to do with it.


thane_jaw 15 Aug 2006 09:05
5/12

Apparently Sony attempted to do something similar, except their's was for the ps, came at the bargain price of $750 and failed because there wasn't a distribution system in place.

Net Yaroze was its name, oh.

I guess one could think of a hundred problems that MS aren't going to be able to fix before launch, but I'm excited and am anxiously awaiting the long nights next summer when I'll be able to start work on Ultra Space Pirates VS Ninja 3 VS Donkey. Also given MS' community outreach programs, I expect there's going to be a huge amount of support given by MS in the form of content and tutorials.

vault 13 wrote:
All of this is going to turn out to be a glorified Make Your Own Game software kits from back in the day. It's gonna be limited (in respect to what the home user can do), so every Joe and Dave who makes a game, will make the same damn thing.


Which is what can be expected from pretty much every free game java site out there, so it will force the ones who want to get their game noticed to put in extra effort and make the bestest game evar. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
king skins 15 Aug 2006 11:40
7/12
vault 13 wrote:
This is total ass. It's one more way for Microsoft to dominate the world of "electronics". F**k XNA, if you want to make a videogame, you learn how or hire some cheap overseas coders to do the grunt work and make your vision happen.


Nice one. All up in arms with your moral indignation about the evil company and there practices and then you go on to tell everyone they should exploit 3rd world labour instead.

vault 13 wrote:
All of this is going to turn out to be a glorified Make Your Own Game software kits from back in the day. It's gonna be limited (in respect to what the home user can do), so every Joe and Dave who makes a game, will make the same damn thing. Either that or people will blatantly rip off classics like Bayou Billy and Superman 64. To quote Mr. Horse. "No sir, I don't like it!"


This is a full development enviroment. It not click and play games. The only limits will be the teams imagination and there skills.

I'm quite looking forward to this, will be downloanding and trying this out on the 30th. I've wanted to do some games programming for ages.
tyrion 15 Aug 2006 13:06
8/12
vault 13 wrote:
All of this is going to turn out to be a glorified Make Your Own Game software kits from back in the day.

Well since XNA is just an API, I think this will be a bit more than a Shoot-em-Up Construction Kit job.

More likely it will be a cut-down version of visual studio with some games appropriate tools thrown in and plenty of XNA documentation.

vault 13 wrote:
It's gonna be limited (in respect to what the home user can do), so every Joe and Dave who makes a game, will make the same damn thing.

It'll only be limited by the imaginations of the people who use it. This amounts to much the same conclusion you have reached, but there will be gems in there. Just look at what people have done with on-line Flash games (Yeti Sports anybody?) and you will see the future of Live Arcade.

I have to give Microsoft props for this, I have been saying for ages that a lack of development languages for consoles has held back games programming due to no hobbyist interest.

I hope Sony follow this with their idea of a Linux on every PS3. Combined, they may encourage some kids to write games for their friends instead of just playing the ones provided by the games industry. We may actually see a resurgence in the popularity of hobbyist programming.
Joji 15 Aug 2006 13:30
9/12
Fairplay to MS, I tip my hat to you. This is a great idea and its good to see them thinking about the roots of gaming, long after Sony abandoned the Net Yaroze project. Why Sony never continued, the Yaroze project on PS2 I'll never understand.

Excellent, perhaps now we can all try out our ideas with ease.
vault 13 15 Aug 2006 16:41
10/12
I may have been a bit harsh on it and my words are already being misconstrued. This is all a way for MS to standardize gaming and PC and whatever else platforms for themselves. They're trying to make this the only option from which to program. You have to agree with me on that. The main reason they're doing this is so Microsoft can corner the market moreover. Game programmers have been doing just fine with their own engines, coders, and licensing options. I don't see them complaining or yearning for XNA. It's all the wannabe game designers too lazy to pick up a
C++ or 3D Studio book. Just like someone pointed out earlier, it's just gonna be like those crappy Flash and Java games. Only worse because of the massive distribution. Also, the fact that us gamers can actually put a price tag on our craptactular products further scares me. Where's the quality control? Who's to stop little Vinnie Deschereo (obscure Sandler reference or not?) from slapping a $20 tag on his blatant rip off of Super Mario Bros. and who's to warn us not to buy it. Not that we're idiots or anything but I think it's going to be a bad situation.

I basically see this situation like this: Walk into a supermarket and head to the bakery aisle. You have Entemann's, then you have everything else. Which one would you pick?
henry thompson 25 May 2007 22:16
11/12
I hope this isnt too complicated
PreciousRoi 26 May 2007 18:24
12/12
Yes, I think you were a bit harsh, but I don't think your words have been misconstrued at all. I think you saw something, jumped to a wrong conclusion, blasted away from the hip, then felt betrayed when someone else actually bothered to aim carefully and shoot straight.

Yer way off base. Sure, MS is a safe target to level 'the souless corporation trying to take over the world' accusation schtick at. But I rather strongly suspect that this has less to do with Machiavellian plots for hegemony, than a few real visionary individuals who thought this would be a fun thing to do and managed to convince Corporate to allow them to do it. Did the individuals in question hint to Corporate that XNA might be helpful in their quest for dominance? No doubt they did, but the form this help would take is goodwill and support (gasp! how awful!) not some kind of developmental monopoly, indeed the opposite is the case.


As to the game no one warned you about...theres this thing called the Interweb, people use it to discuss things and get information about vartious things...like the latest game downloads and suchlike.
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