Free XNA hobbyist platform plus run your code on retail 360

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Free XNA hobbyist platform plus run your code on retail 360

Post by handcircus »

Apparently Microsoft are releasing a beta of XNA Game Studio express, which apparently will (in the final release) allow you to compile and execute your own games on a retail 360, plus will have community features to allow others to share their creations.

http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/11540/Mic ... First-Time

Looks quite good value at $99 :)
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Re: Free XNA hobbyist platform plus run your code on retail

Post by persoontje »

handcircus wrote:Apparently Microsoft are releasing a beta of XNA Game Studio express, which apparently will (in the final release) allow you to compile and execute your own games on a retail 360, plus will have community features to allow others to share their creations.

http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/11540/Mic ... First-Time

Looks quite good value at $99 :)
Nice, so we might can let our ogre games run on xbox 360?
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Post by xavier »

I don't see that being the case; you can run games you make with the XNA Game Studio, though.
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Post by Jerky »

Thats kind of a coincidence. I was just looking at DAM systems today (Digital Asset Management), and started reading up on XNA. That is very cool. I hope this puts more pressure on Sony to do the same. To stop the argument before it starts, I do not consider supporting Linux the same thing as what MS is doing here with XNA. Things are going to get very interesting, IMO.
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Post by NeOmega »

very exciting. I think this is big news. :) Microsoft has really wanted a subscriber formula for a while.
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Post by sinbad »

Don't get too excited yet, although they've been a bit vague I believe this will only allow you to write Managed (.Net) code, not native code. This is definitely a good thing, but won't help most open source engines at all, unless they want to rewrite in Managed code using .Net libraries.

MS has been pushing for game developers to start writing games in .Net for a while now - it's a win for them, because it means code written this way will be specific to their platforms and move game developers even more into their grasp. people outside the business world into the same. Yes, I know about Mono, but I bet my trousers that the underlying libraries that XNA uses will not be reimplemented overnight, and there are rumoured patent issues with various .Net libraries anyway.

So, whilst this is very cool, it could also be very dangerous long term to the prospects of cross-platform development. If all these students are coming out of university only knowing how to write .Net code, where are all the other console developers going to come from? Look what's happened in the business world, do you really want MS to dominate so much in the games industry too?

Of course, I could be completely wrong about this.
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Post by SunSailor »

I may be wrong, but as far as I understand the thing, it is only dedicated to 2D games, not 3D.
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Post by Quall »

i think it might be both:
Joining Satchell on stage was Mark Frohnmayer, president of GarageGames, who showcased ports of its next-generation Torque tools and technology over to the XNA Game Studio Express platform.
Or at least you'd have an option to do 3d. it may cost some.
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Post by jomunoz »

I think too this would put pressure to Sony and Nintendo, maybe Nintendo will also make available the SDK for the "Wii virtual console". It would be really cool if it happens. :D
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Post by Clay »

sinbad wrote:So, whilst this is very cool, it could also be very dangerous long term to the prospects of cross-platform development. If all these students are coming out of university only knowing how to write .Net code, where are all the other console developers going to come from? Look what's happened in the business world, do you really want MS to dominate so much in the games industry too?
You are not wrong in this. Look at what has happened with java...many universities are now "Java only" schools. I think Joel on Software said it best. Replace Java with C# and the same argument applies.
I may be wrong, but as far as I understand the thing, it is only dedicated to 2D games, not 3D.
You are mistaken. This is more or less a glorified DirectX port (with a lot of enhancements and value-adds), for .Net. You get both 2D and 3D from it.
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Post by Falagard »

Wowie wow. That's awesome.

I'm not concerned about the fact that they're pushing managed code. I assume that it'd be possible to take Axiom or whatever incarnation that it's in and port it over to the XNA platform. It might even be possible to simple use Mogre or OgreDotNet, though I find that unlikely.

Ogre as a cross platform rendering engine is great, since Ogre might be used for things other than games, which require running on Linux or Mac. However - games have to focus on a market. If you're creating a small game that will end up being sold on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and possibly on a casual games site for Windows, the fact that it won't run on a PS3 or on Mac probably isn't much of a big deal. I guarantee that we won't be seeing AAA games written in C# anytime soon.

I normally wouldn't write game code in C# even though I'm comfortable with the language. However, opening up the 360 to homebrew games - that's pretty big. Big enough that I'd consider wrapping my own engine in managed code if it could run on a 360 by doing so.

I wonder if managed C++ can be used...

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Post by Falagard »

A few more details found in the FAQ here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/faq/
Q: Can I use the XNA Game Studio Express or XNA Framework to build a commercial Xbox 360 game?
A: XNA Game Studio Express will enable you to create Windows and now Xbox 360 console games much more easily. These games are limited to non-commercial scenarios for 360 titles created with XNA Game Studio Express. However, XNA Game Studio Express may be used to create commercial games which target Windows. We will be releasing XNA Game Studio Professional next spring which will allow developers to create commercial games for Xbox addition to Windows.

Q: Isn't managed code in the XNA Framework interpreted and therefore slow?
A: No, it is not interpreted. The IL is just-in-time (JIT) compiled into native code when it is initially loaded by a process, prior to execution. This allows hardware-specific optimizations unique to the PC and Xbox 360 architectures.

Q: Why isn't there any Xbox 360 support in the beta?
A: Microsoft does not release beta software on the Xbox 360 for security reasons. Thanks to the design and implementation of the XNA Framework on both Windows and Xbox 360 however, games developed using the XNA Game Studio Express beta starting August 30th will be easily adapted to run against the Xbox 360 retail console upon availability of the finished tools later this holiday.

Q: How exactly can I share my 360 game to other 360 users? Will my game only be available to people with the XNA "Creators Club" subscription? Will it be available to all 360 users that have an Xbox Live account?
A: There is currently no supported way to share binaries on the Xbox 360. Currently, there are four requirements that must be met in order to share a game targeting Xbox 360 which is developed with XNA Game Studio Express.
1. The individual you are planning to share the game with must be logged in to Xbox Live and have an active subscription to the XNA Creators Club
2. The receiving user must have downloaded the XNA Framework runtime environment for the Xbox 360
3. The receiving user must have XNA Game Studio Express installed on their own development PC
4. The game project, including all source and content assets, must be shared with the receiving user. The receiving user then compiles and deploys the game to their Xbox 360.

Q: Can I store my XNA Game Studio Express game on my memory card and share it with a friend?
A: No. Games developed using XNA Game Studio Express cannot be shared through a memory card at this time.

Q: Do I need a hard drive to run XNA-based games on my Xbox 360 console?
A: Yes. The XNA Framework runtime environment for Xbox 360 requires that a physical hard drive be present on your Xbox 360 retail console.

Q: Can I create non-gaming applications (such as a Media Center/Player) with XNA Game Studio Express?
A: On Windows this is possible, but the initial release on Xbox 360 is tuned to writing games. This is an area we are actively looking to the community for feedback on the types of applications they want to write for their Xbox 360.

Q: Does the XNA Framework include the ability to use Xbox Live?
A: The initial release of the XNA Framework on the Xbox 360 will not have any support for networking. We realize this is a big area of interest for game developers and are actively working on a solution for the next release.

Q: How can you debug XNA-based games running on the Xbox 360?
A: Debugging on the console is supported through a remote debugging connection from a Windows desktop running XNA Game Studio Express.

Q: How will the XNA Framework be available to developers?
A: The XNA Framework will be made available to Windows game developers via a free download. In order to develop for the 360, developers will need to join the XNA "Creators Club" which includes everything a developer needs to build non-commercial games for an Xbox 360 retail console.

Q: How exactly will I be able to run a game built with XNA Game Studio Express on my Xbox 360?
A: On Windows, you'll be able to develop, test and distribute software created with XNA Game Studio Express for free. When you sign up for the nominally priced annual subscription to XNA Game Studio Express for Xbox 360, you'll be able to write a game on Windows, then send it to your Xbox 360 to test and enjoy. Eventually, you'll be able to distribute that code to other Xbox 360s, opening up a unique publishing avenue which will democratize game development on consoles.
And more tidbits here:

http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk ... post711831
he beta released at the end of the month will be just on the PC. The release version (at the end of the year) will let anyone with a "creator's club" membership ($99 per year) create builds on their PC to run on their Xbox 360. You'll basically take your Xbox 360 on the same local network as your PC, set it to listen for a code dump from your PC running the Game Studio Express, and then on your PC you hit the 'ol "compile and run on 360" thing. Very similar to the actual pro development environment, only it works on retail 360s (on the same local network, provided you have a creator's club membership activated on that console).

You can share your games to anyone else in the creator's club. Just send the XNA project to them in email, on a memory key, put it up on your site for download, whatever. They load it up on their PC in their copy of XNA Game Studio Express, and send it to their Xbox.

The goal is that, in the future, they'll have a channel for people who are not members of the creator's club to download and play the homebrew games. Like, there's Live Aracade, and there will be Creator's Arcade or some such. Anyone in the creator's club would theoretically be able to submit to Creator's Arcade and MS would examine it to make sure it's not really a pirate game or won't harm your Xbox, then they put it up for everyone to download and check out. That aspect of it is a little further out (think next year) and they're still working on details like ownership and copyright, how they'll examine submissions for safety, etc.
All in all I think this is great stuff, but there are a few things that I'd like to see sorted out, such as adding networking. I'm sure I'll be signing up for $99 to be able to play around with the 360, and I'm sure someone will port Ogre over :-)
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Post by SomeFusion »

When I first read this new I was really excited but the more I read about it the more disappointed I am with this. Just read this FAQ http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/faq/

This is from the FAQ
# The individual you are planning to share the game with must be logged in to Xbox Live and have an active subscription to the XNA Creators Club
That means if you want to play the homebrew games you have to be a member of the Creators Club. Thats the most disappointing point in the whole FAQ. This greatly reduces the reachable audience since I do not think more than a fraction of the players are willing to pay 99$ a year for playing small homebrew games.

The second thing is that its C# only. It may not be a problem with most developers, but for me it really is. Microsoft advertises the XNA framework as cross-platform, but for me its not really cross-platform when you are locked to microsoft platforms. You just leave out the potential PS3/Wii/Mac/Linux/PSP/DS audiences.
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Post by Falagard »

That means if you want to play the homebrew games you have to be a member of the Creators Club.
True. Even worse, from the FAQ it sounds like you'd usually be sharing the code with other members and they'd have to compile the project (have XNA studio express installed, have a PC and a LAN) and then push it onto the 360 from your PC. You're not going to be sharing your games with regular users this way.

However, you might have missed my post. It seems that Microsoft is working towards letting game makers share their games on Xbox Live Marketplace.

Also, here they've stated:
In spring 2007, Microsoft will release the professional version, the only way to sell games created using the toolset. The pro version will feature "new capabilities more geared toward professional game developers" and a higher price, said Scott Henson, the director of platform strategy at the Microsoft Game Developer Group. Henson declined to reveal the amount. All the various methods of selling games--digital distribution, Xbox Live Marketplace, and boxed retail games--will probably be available to gamemakers, but the details haven't been decided, he said.
I'm guessing that they're working on the system that allows people using XNA to share their games but they may have to purchase the professional version before they'll be sharable, and it'll probably take a year or so before the system is in place.

I'm still very stoked about this.
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Post by walaber »

my hope is that Sony and Nintendo will take note of this, and release a similar solution for their respective consoles. I believe the Wii is basically an OpenGL-type interface, so that would mean lots of open-source projects could conceivably be ported quite easily.

It's about time the consoles opened up to the indie/freeware community more...

It's a shame Microsoft is limiting this to C#, I was really hoping we could get Ogre running on the 360 easily!
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Post by Bekas »

Falagard wrote:I normally wouldn't write game code in C# even though I'm comfortable with the language. However, opening up the 360 to homebrew games - that's pretty big. Big enough that I'd consider wrapping my own engine in managed code if it could run on a 360 by doing so.

I wonder if managed C++ can be used...
They won't allow unmanaged code with the XNA framework, mostly for security reasons. So Ogre is out; the closest to having an "Ogre" game on XNA will be by using Axiom :?
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Post by Falagard »

I foresee Axiom being ported to use XNA instead of Managed Direct X and a surge of interest in Axiom ;-)
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Post by Jerky »

Well, Axiom use is already on the rise due to Multiverse. It may not be so bad after all.

The main benefit I see, is that Sony and Nintendo are now going to be forced to follow suit. Neither is going to want to be outdone by Microsoft, so they will have to come out with some sort of solution. Whether it effects Ogre on the Xbox360 directly or not, it may effect Ogre on the Wii or PS3, which is good news.

I loved MS coming into the console market cause it forced PS3 to get their act together. The PS2, when it came out, was not better than ANY PCs, and could not compete with PC games. Competition is good for the consumer. Great news for us, whether it initially looks like it or not.
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Post by leedgitar »

Microsoft advertises the XNA framework as cross-platform, but for me its not really cross-platform when you are locked to microsoft platforms.
When Microsoft says "cross platform", I think they mean all of their platforms :wink: `
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Post by Jovani »

leedgitar wrote:
Microsoft advertises the XNA framework as cross-platform, but for me its not really cross-platform when you are locked to microsoft platforms.
When Microsoft says "cross platform", I think they mean all of their platforms :wink: `
You stole my thunder. :)
Yes I think when MS say cross platform they mean Window XP, and Window XP service pack 1 :wink:

If the XNA is so dubious, it may even make Sony and Ninetendo to reinforce their position on not supporting any open project.
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Post by Kojack »

Hmm, I was interested in this (both personal and for my students), but now that I know it's only c# I don't think I'll bother (I don't own a 360 anyway).
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Post by Falagard »

Leedgitar, I read that you are working on RealmWare's solution. Does that mean that Axiom is going to start getting a lot more attention?
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Post by Lioric »

As posted above, "dont get too excited"

At least in the first release, you cant do anything (in the x360 side) besides looking how your game will look when running in xbox 360 (and i dont belive many developers will want to waste that incredible ammount of time just to see how it will look there)

If you want to use this framework in Xbox live or in retail, you need the XNA Professional version, but for this you need to be a Registered XBOX Developer approved by MS (XDN) and your game have to pass the quality tests

So the only real difference here is, that for Xbox Registered Developers, the XNA framework can be used instead of the XBOX SDK

And if you want to share your XNA Express game, the other part needs a PC and the dev environment installed, to compile and transfer your application to see "how it looks on xbox360"

When consoles are the devices that are true "insert and play" (and that is its main selling point), the XNA express seems to offer the oposite, where i dont see any real value
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Post by mcasaday »

When consoles are the devices that are true "insert and play" (and that is its main selling point), the XNA express seems to offer the oposite, where i dont see any real value
For people writing games with the XNA Studio in hopes of getting their games on XBLA, it will be very valuable. Those developers will be able to ensure their code runs on the 360. That may not seem like much, but consider this: you can actually talk to Microsoft with a straight face about your game being put up on XBLA, confident that the game actually runs on the 360.
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Post by Frenetic »

While I don't consider myself much of an anti-MS zealot, this deal our friends in Redmond USA are giving out, like a lot of others, leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. I'm not much concerned with the XBox anyways (I play games on my PC like Nature intended.) Nowadays packages like Ogre (yay!) sanely abstract away platform-specifics anyways, so why would I pay MS for stuff like this?*

I'm thinking this will interest younger people, mostly.


* For the sake of staying on topic, please do not answer that question ;)
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