A little over two years ago, the .NET Compact Framework (NetCF) team demoed an implementation of the NetCF running a 3D game on an Xbox 360 console. They also showed that same game with the same code recompiled and running on a Windows PC. It was on this day that XNA Game Studio was conceived. Last year, we released the first version, XNA Game Studio Express, a product that gave hobbyist and student developers the opportunity to run their own games on both Windows and Xbox 360.
Since that first release, over 750,000 users have downloaded XNA Game Studio Express. We’ve seen hundreds of games created and submitted to the Dream-Build-Play competition, witnessed hobbyists become new stars in the game development world, and watched as hundreds of colleges and universities adopted XNA Game Studio Express as a better way to teach game development.
Never satisfied to stand on past success, the XNA Community Game Platform team is proud to announce the release of XNA Game Studio 2.0! This article will talk in-depth about the feature set for this new version.
First and foremost, XNA Game Studio 2.0 sits side by side with our earlier releases. You don’t need to uninstall XNA Game Studio Express in order to install XNA Game Studio 2.0; they can coexist inside Visual C# Express. This is critically important to ensure an easy upgrade path to the new version. While the vast majority of APIs have not changed, there is new functionality, and some of it will break existing code.
We are also supplying an Upgrade Wizard to migrate your existing XNA Game Studio Express projects to XNA Game Studio 2.0 projects. The wizard is available for free from the XNA Creators Club Online website. While it won’t fix the API differences, it will convert all of the Visual Studio 2005 projects to the new formats so they will load into XNA Game Studio 2.0.
On the Xbox 360 console, both the original XNA Game Launcher and the new XNA Game Connect screens are available for development. XNA Game Launcher lets you keep debugging and deploying your games to Xbox 360 from XNA Game Studio Express. The new XNA Game Studio Connect screen is a streamlined version of our existing launcher application for Xbox 360.
All of the functionality needed to set up a new connection to the Windows-based computer is available on this screen, and XNA Game Studio Connect is always listening for debugger/deploy connections, removing the multi-step key exchange process that existed in the first release.
Installed side-by-side, both XNA Game Studio Express and XNA Game Studio can still deploy games to the Xbox 360 console. The XNA Game Studio 2.0 games now appear as actual games right next to the Xbox LIVE Arcade games you have downloaded. It was one thing to write games for the Xbox 360 and run them on a retail console, but it’s really cool to see your games sitting side by side as peers with Xbox LIVE Arcade games!