XNA Framework Networking and LIVE Requirements

XNA Framework Networking and LIVE Requirements

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Michael Klucher
Program Manger - XNA Community Game Platform

One of the biggest features in the upcoming release of XNA Game Studio is the ability to create networked games over Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows® - LIVE. We thought we'd take some time to explain what you can do and what you need to do it. Before we dive into exactly what you can do with networking, let's define a couple of commonly used terms:

  • System Link: This form of networking uses your local subnet to find and join other game sessions and can use local profiles (not Xbox LIVE gamertags) to accomplish this.
  • Xbox LIVE/Games for Windows - LIVE: This form of networking uses Xbox LIVE matchmaking to find and join other game sessions and uses your Xbox LIVE gamertag to accomplish this.


Let's take a look at the common things you might want to do:

"I want to create a game that uses networking between my computer and my Xbox 360 console."

This requirement is no different from what need to run an XNA Framework game on the Xbox 360. All you'll need is a LIVE Silver Membership and an XNA Creators Club Membership. On your computer use a local System Link profile, while on your Xbox 360 console use the System Link option when creating and searching for game sessions.

"I want to create a game that uses networking between two of my Xbox 360 consoles."

This would require that you have two LIVE Silver Memberships and two XNA Creator Club Memberships. Again, this is no different from what is required to run a non-networked game on multiple Xbox 360 consoles at once. As above, use the System Link option when creating and searching for game sessions.

"I want to create a game that uses networking between my Xbox 360 console and my friends’ Xbox 360s consoles."

This scenario has slightly different requirements. Because you are now using Xbox LIVE to connect your console and your friends’ consoles, you must both have LIVE Gold Memberships. This is the same requirement for any multiplayer Xbox LIVE game on the Xbox 360 today. In addition, you and your friend both need to have XNA Creators Club Memberships. You can use the Player Match option to create and find game sessions.

"I want to create a game that uses networking between two of my Windows-based computers."

First, note that you would need two computers to do this, as we do not support simultaneous instances of a networked game on a single development computer. No membership of any kind would be required for this. Just create a Local Profile on each computer and you can run your multiplayer game! Use the System Link option when creating and searching for game sessions.

"I want to create a game that uses networking between my Windows-based computer and my friend’s Windows-based computer."

If you plan on using any of the Xbox LIVE functionality, you need an XNA Creators Club Membership on a gamertag on your computer. In this scenario, you and your friend need the same memberships as you would for the Xbox 360 console to Xbox 360 console scenario. That is, LIVE Gold Membership plus an XNA Creators Club Membership.

You may be wondering why we don't allow users to use Games for Windows - LIVE without having an XNA Creators Club membership? We have a strict requirement to keep the servers both secure and make sure that XNA Framework games aren't preventing other users from enjoying all that LIVE has to offer. If we allowed everyone to use the Games for Windows - LIVE servers, we would compromise the quality of service for those who use it with Game for Windows LIVE titles.

Hopefully, from the scenarios above you can see that almost everything has the same requirements as it did before. We did a lot of work to make sure that the most common method (computer to Xbox 360) works without you needing additional LIVE Memberships or XNA Creators Club Memberships.

For more information about your options around networking over Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows – LIVE, check out the XNA Game Studio documentation, where we continue to expand our coverage. If you have a concern or question, leave a comment and we'll try to address it.

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  • PingBack from http://xbox.x7g.net/2007/11/16/xna-framework-networking-and-live-requirements/

  • What a bunch of crap!  You people know damn well that your servers are secure and scaleable.

    The truth is that you just want to monitize your investment.  I don't have a problem with that, but at least be honest about it.  This whole security and quality bit is a total lie and everyone knows it.

  • This is even worse than just requiring Gold subscribers to play on windows.  They have paid for a gold account so you can't even use the cost excuse.

    Here I was thinking this was going to be the best thing that ever happened to Live for Windows and you have DELIBERATLY cripled us.  What the heck?

    Talk about a total tease!

  • Well it could go either way. The capability to do all this (especially if it succeeds even marginally) will increase the cost of upkeep of the entire Live service by a huge amount.

    It could be viewed that the requirement of the Creator's Club membership pays for the extra cost of the upkeep, or you could say that the social nature the web is evolving towards should justify Microsoft paying for this out of their own pocket in order to increase the market share of XNA (vs the Wii indie development and the PS3's Linux environment).

    I definitely see where they are coming from, but I think I would tend to agree with you. Maybe a fee is necessary, but surely not $100/year just to play the games.

    Then again, this could all be a preliminary pricing plan to see if it takes off, at which point they may batch in the actual 'playing' with the Gold account, and reserve the Creator's Club subscription for the actual creators.

    Only time will tell...

  • While I agree generally with what Bryan is saying, he perhaps didn't make the point I would have done.

    In my opinion, the price for the Creators Club is acceptable for the ability to 'create and deploy' to the 360, but not so much on the PC side. The argument seems to be that the Creators Club fee is somehow the deterrant against nefarious uses of the networking API, when in fact gold subscription is already there.

    As I see it, the logic (appears) to go like this:

    Someone, presumably willing to put at risk their Gold XBL account (£40 a year) and repeatedly buy new ones in order to keep attacking the LIVE network is going to be put off doing so by paying ~£30 for a short creator's club subscription...

    Are we to believe that if someone starts breaking the terms of service and attacking the LIVE network using XNA (somehow) they'll only have their CC subscription revoked and not their gamertag also?

    The only point I might make in defence of CC for Live on Windows is that there are enough 1 month trials for Gold that someone might have 3-4 lying around.

  • Michael Klucher has released some more information on the Networking systems that are going to be available

  • For one, I'm glad that we have ANY support for networking in the next release.  I have been very worried that ANY XBox Live support would require some sort of separate agreement with Microsoft.  To this date, access to LIVE has only been permitted after serious srutteny of all packet data.  

    And just as an open please to Microsoft, please don't miss this prime opportunity to trounce all other consoles.  If you don't open XNA up beyond Creators Club members, you are going to kill serious market potential.  Open compiled XNA code to ALL subscribers, not just Creators Club members.  Allow posting code to an XNA marketplace and public access to the marketplace on the XBOX.

    Also, I'm a bit mistified why I should ever have to use my computer to access a URL displayed on an XBOX.  If this is truly a connected device, show all related content and not require a computer to access the Green X promotion.  Why do I have to go to XBOX.Com to read the latest news when I have the most powerful gaming platform on the planet?  

    XBOX 360 is not the extenions of a computer system, it is an entire gaming system.   PROVE IT!  Post XNA developement to a public space, all content to the 360 should be self contained.

  • like Dataman I'm happy networking is included in 2.0, at some point I was afraid it would only be available in the 'Pro' version of Game Studio (what happened to that version, by the way?).

    Everything looks good for what I want to do (PC tools and x360 game talking together), but I don't think anybody is going to buy a CC to play amateur PC games, seriously.

  • Wow, confusing...

    I understand the need to pay something for access to xbox live however can't you just have 1 subscription scheme with everything rolled in?

    Like a gold account which will let anyone run amateur games on their xbox and gain access to the creators club.

    On your end there'll be less to manage, explain and develop and more people might take an interest.

  • In diesen Tagen gaben die Amerikaner ein paar Details zum bevorstehenden XNA 2.0 bekannt. Genauer gesagt zur neuen Netzwerk-API des XNA Frameworks, dass es Ihnen ermöglicht Multiplayer-Spiele zu entwickeln. Zwei grundlegende Verbindungstypen stehen für

  • XNA V2 will provide network gaming functionality for both the Xbox 360 and Windows. This means you will

  • XNA V2 will provide network gaming functionality for both the Xbox 360 and Windows. This means you will

  • Ed Dunhill, Academic Developer Evangelist, answers just this question in his blog and links you to the

  • Ed Dunhill, Academic Developer Evangelist, answers just this question in his blog and links you to the

  • XNA TeamブログにXNA GS 2.0における ネットワークサポートについての投稿 がありました。元の投稿では各シナリオについて細かい説明がありますが、ここではできるだけシンプルなルールを書いていこうと思います。

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