You've heard the rumors, now hear it from the source... This morning we announced the Microsoft XNA Framework. The XNA Framework will bring a unified set of game development class libraries to Windows and the Xbox 360. This means that game developers can write games which shares a great deal of source code and even source game assets (sound, models, etc) between the Windows and 360 platforms. Oh, and did I mention it's all managed code? That's right, we are building a custom implementation of the Common Language Runtime for the Xbox 360 as well.
I remember when I first joined Microsoft four years ago I was talking to some people from the Xbox team about the possibility of getting managed code to work on an Xbox. At the time it was sort of kicked around as a really fun idea we would have loved to enable, but nobody ever thought it would be a reality. I guess we were right - we aren't delivering a managed code runtime for the Xbox. We'll be delivering one for the Xbox 360 instead. <g>
More details at our Web site - http://www.microsoft.com/xna - including a link to the press release which went live this morning. It's admittedly sparse on details at the moment, but we'll be sharing many more details later this summer at our Gamefest event. This is just the beginning...
I'm pleased to announce that the first public pre-release of XNA technology is now online for you to download. This is the March 2006 Community Technology Preview of Microsoft XNA Build. XNA Build is designed to help game studios manage their game content builds. It is built on top of MSBuild as the core engine, and offers such features as dependency tracking, incremental build, a visual designer for editing build projects, and various ways of querying asset dependencies. The XNA team has been working very hard to get this together in time for GDC, and I'm very pleased with the way it came together in time.
Here are the relevant downloads associated with this release:
Microsoft XNA Build March 2006 CTPThis will install the XNA Build March 2006 Community Technology Preview. Please install this into a non-production environment (read: this is our first pre-release, and it might impact other applications you have installed).
Microsoft MechCommander 2 Shared Source Release (Note: 1GB download)
In order to showcase how XNA Build can be used to build real games, we wanted to get the source code and assets for an actual game so that you could try it without needing to model your own game in XNA Build right away. Courtesy of Microsoft Game Studios, this release contains all of the source code and source assets for the original MechCommander 2 along with the original tools used to build the game. The only thing we did to prepare it to be built with XNA Build was convert the original .BAT files used to build the game into an XNA Build project file (which is fundamentall an MSBuild project file). Of course, if you just want to fire up MechCommander 2 and play the game you can do that, too!
XNA Overview Presentation March 2006
This is a presentation I recorded which is essentially the same talk I'll be doing at GDC this week. In this talk I give an overview of what XNA is, how we got here, and where we're headed, in addition to spending a lot of time introducing XNA Build. This presentation includes a few demos, too.
XNA Build Advanced Presentation March 2006
This is a great presentation by our XNA Build program manager, Mel MacMahon, where he delves into some of the advanced features of XNA Build such as the Asset Relationship Management (ARM) system for storing and querying rich asset dependency information. This should give you a better taste of where XNA Build is headed and some ideas for how it can help you in your studio.
XNA Build March 2006 CTP Tutorials
After you download and install the XNA Build CTP these are some tutorials you can use to help get acquainted with the release.
Since this is our first public pre-release of XNA Build we are excited to get feedback you might have about this release. The XNA Build Forum is monitored by the XNA product team and we would love to hear from you. Please stop on by and share your thoughts or pose your questions. And if you're going to GDC, please stop on by Booth #416 and come to our talks on Wednesday!