This week I heard a number of people on the C# team talking about the hot new gaming technology for Windows and the Xbox called XNA. The big news is that a beta of the XNA Game Studio Express is available as a free download.
XNA is a game framework tuned for development with C# and the .NET framework. It has a simple migration path from DirectX and will supersede the Managed DirectX layer. The XNA Game Studio Express is designed to make it easy for students and hobbyists to create applications that use the XNA framework. The XNA team blog contains a good deal of useful information for those who are getting started with this technology. Along with more useful bits of information, the XNA FAQ points out the very Zen-like fact that XNA is an acronym that doesn’t stand for anything.
Game Studio Express must be run on top of the free Visual Studio Express. If you have another version of Visual Studio 2005, such as the pro version, you will still need to go ahead and download and install the express version. It should coexist happily with your current version of Visual Studio.
When XNA Studio ships in a “Creator’s Club” or pro version, you will be able to use it to create games that run both on Windows and on XBox 360. With the beta, however, you can only target Windows. This limitation exists because the XBox 360 is not meant to host beta level software. You can read about the very reasonable pricing for the Creator’s Club and pro version in the XNA FAQ.
I’m becoming familiar enough with life here at Microsoft that I should soon be able to give you some status reports regarding ongoing C# team projects. For now, however, I’ll just state the obvious, and tell you that everyone on my floor, and most of the folks in this building, are heads down over their computers working on Orcas. Luke Hoban even gave us some good demos of fresh LINQ bits. I hope we can show you some samples from those demos in the coming weeks.
Let’s turn to what the team and our extended Microsoft family has been writing or talking about in the last weeks.
Hot in the C# Blogs:
Articles and Videos of note:
That’s all I want to cover in this post. I will write more next week.