XNA Game Studio 3.0 Beta

Today the XNA team released the 3.0 Beta version of the XNA Game Studio.

This new version includes a number of important new features and works with Visual Studio 2008 (it will NOT work with Visual Studio 2005 so you will need to install Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition and higher with C# language support or Visual C# 2008 Express Edition).

There are a number of important improvements in this version such as:

  • Enumerate and play back media on your Windows computer or Xbox 360.
  • Simple sound effect support on Windows computers and Xbox 360.
  • Support for Rich Presence (lets friends know what’s going on in your game).
  • Support for Invites (ask your friends to join you in a multiplayer game) and Join Session In Progress (after you see what your friends are doing, you can join their current session with just a couple of button presses, even if that’s a different game to the one you are currently playing)
  • Compress your content and save space with the new content compression features!
  • ClickOnce packaging support for distributing your XNA Framework games on Windows.
  • Upgrade your project from XNA Game Studio 2.0 using the Project Upgrade Wizard!
  • Take screen captures of your game running on Zune through the XNA Game Studio Device Center.
  • Support for .NET language features like Linq
  • Create multiple content projects and leverage cross project synchronization in Visual Studio
  • FBX importer improvements: read materials containing multiple textures, and export custom shader materials directly out of Max or Maya

XNA 3.0 Beta also supports creation of games for the Zune (3.0 firmware version). Unfortunately the devices are currently only available in the US and Canada and hopefully we’ll see them in the rest of the world soon.

It is worth noting that “You will not be able to develop on the Xbox 360 until our final release”, which means that you can use this beta version to test the conversion of 2.0 project but will not be able to run the games yet!

If you are already making an Xbox 360 game using XNA Game Studio 2.0, you may either:

  • Convert the game to a Windows game project in XNA Game Studio 3.0, continue development, and then convert it to an Xbox 360 project when XNA Game Studio 3.0 reaches its final release.
  • Continue using XNA Game Studio 2.0.

Why downloading the new version then? Xbox LIVE Community Games will require that your game be created in XNA Game Studio 3.0 so you need to download it to test this out.

In any case, XNA Game Studio 3.0 and Visual Studio 2008 do not interfere with XNA Game Studio 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005, so even if you decide to continue your project in XNA Game Studio 2.0, you may safely install this Beta and try it out without interfering with your work in progress.

Find all the details in the XNA team’s blog and download it from the creators club site. Once you have done it, use Microsoft Connect to send us any feedback and bug reports to help us make it a great release.

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