Following Microsoft's announcement
regarding its XNA Game Studio Express, which will allow students and indie developers to join a XNA Creators Club in order to share and develop Xbox 360 and PC games, the company has released an online FAQ
explaining the service.
The overview explains: "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 360 in addition to Windows."
Particularly interesting is information concerning how Xbox content will be shared among users. Microsoft has clarified how the distribution of user-created content will work, by noting that "there is currently no supported way to share binaries on the Xbox 360", explaining “...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.”
These requirements include that the intended recipient of the content must be logged in to Xbox Live and have an active subscription to the XNA Creators Club, must have downloaded the XNA Framework runtime environment for the Xbox 360, and must have XNA Game Studio Express installed on their own development PC.
Following this, once receiving the content, including all source and content assets, the project must then be compiled and loaded onto the recipient's Xbox 360 in order to be viewed. The FAQ also reveals: "Games developed using XNA Game Studio Express cannot be shared through a memory card at this time."
In addition, it's noted that full Xbox 360 support will not start with the August Beta of XNA Game Studio Express: "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."
The full XNA FAQ
has much more information regarding technical specifics on the new XNA tools rolling out throughout 2006 and 2007.