View Full Version : Microsoft To Enable User-Created Xbox 360 Games

08-14-2006, 03:15 PM

BREAKING: Microsoft To Enable User-Created Xbox 360 Games

Talking on the eve of its Gamefest event in Seattle, Microsoft has revealed XNA Game Studio Express, a new product which will allow indie developers and students to develop simultaneously on Xbox 360 and PC, and share their games to others in a new Xbox 360 'Creators Club'.

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.

In an official statement related to this major announcement, Microsoft suggested that the new product "...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."

The games created with XNA Game Studio Express will not initially be available to regular Xbox 360 users, although there is hope that successful titles made with the package might go on to debut in enhanced form on the universal Xbox Live Arcade service, and a longer-term goal is to create a less restricted distribution market using Xbox Live. In the meantime, a second XNA toolset named Game Studio Professional, originally scheduled tentatively for an early 2006 release, is now due in spring 2007, and is intended to cater more directly to professionals aiming for Windows and XBLA game releases.

Microsoft has enlisted the help of several partners for this major announcement - indie publisher/developer GarageGames, technology provider and creator of Marble Blast Ultra, has migrated both its Torque Shader Engine and new Torque Game Builder 2-D visual game designer over to the XNA Game Studio Express platform, and Autodesk announced that game developers and enthusiasts can now more easily incorporate content into XNA Game Studio Express via Autodesk's FBX file exchange format.

In addition, more than 10 universities and their game development schools — including University of Southern California, Georgia Tech College of Computing and Southern Methodist University Guildhall — have already pledged to integrate console game development and XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula for the first time, and Xbox 360 will be the only console at the center of all coursework.

The XNA Game Studio Express beta will be available Aug. 30, 2006, as a free download on Windows XP, for development on the Windows XP platform. The final version of XNA Game Studio Express will be available this holiday season.

Microsoft's general manager of the Game Developer Group, Chris Satchell, commented on this major announcement: "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.

I will post my own opinion as the topic rolls on. What do you guys think of this? o_o

08-14-2006, 03:23 PM
Awesome opportunity for folks interested in game design, as well as the 'indie' developers and students. As it said in the article, this doesn't really affect the normal user much, as they won't be seeing the hundreds of games that will be made. The better ones will be coming to the Arcade, so Microsoft will filter all the junk so we don't have to.

The fact that it's open free means that pretty much anyone can download it and start coding. This is something that an aspiring Game designer can put on their resume, that they made a game with this system. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of this.

08-15-2006, 06:56 PM
Dream Cast did this. It flopped. Not to mention unless they are careful with licensing they will go the route atari did in 84.


08-15-2006, 07:03 PM
I am not too worried about this. The amount of programming and time required to make a game will turn many off. I don't imagine this will have bundled engines in such as the Havok engine or the SOURCE developmental tools and crap. Providing those types of things would make it easy. With out that kind of up front power it would overwhelm many.

08-15-2006, 07:10 PM
Is this going to be full access to the Xbox 360 or something gutted like the Net Yaroze for the PS1.

If it's the former, then piracy ahoy!

The latters been done.

08-15-2006, 07:35 PM
It's a stripped-down version of the current Xbox development tools.

I think this will be good for those small group of programmers that want to show off their skills.

08-15-2006, 07:50 PM
Dream Cast did this. It flopped. Not to mention unless they are careful with licensing they will go the route atari did in 84.

I don't think this will 'flop', as it were. The Xbox Live Arcade on the 360 has generated a lot of 'indie' interest already, so making tools like this readily available to the masses could expand their appeal to independant developers immensely.

This kit will include 'how-to's and 'starter kits' so that the uninitiated can in fact do something with the system. I'm sure it'll still be pretty daunting, so that 12 year old kid who wants to make a side scrolling Naruto game will be SOL. If someone is really serious about making a game with this, the tools and instructions are all there to get you started.

Official and informative FAQ here. (http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/faq/)

About the licensing thing (which is vaguely alluded to with the Naruto game), i don't think a huge amount of these games will actually be published and sellable. There will likely be a strict set of conditions your game must meet (like licensing issues) before it is even considered to be a retail game. However, in the 'Creator's Club', you can trade and play other peoples' games.

09-01-2006, 01:49 AM
It was released, and I've downloaded it. It's definitely not for one who is afraid of coding, but it has an extensive tutorial on how to do it. They walk you through a process of making a simple game. If you're dedicated enough to read through the branching tutorial to learn a little code, you will be able to do it.

Unfortunately, I ain't feelin so dedicated right now.

09-01-2006, 06:55 AM
I read about this on wikipedia a few months ago. I think they have been planning this for a while.

Markus. D
09-01-2006, 08:09 AM
a rather interesting but done concept.