Microsoft has officially launched its XNA Game Studio Express and the XNA Creators Club, allowing anyone with Windows XP to sign up and create, build and play game content for the Xbox 360.
Following on from the recent Beta 2 release
, this final release version of Game Studio Express, a software toolset based on Visual C# 2005 Express Edition and Microsoft .NET Compact Framework and aimed at PC and Xbox 360 homebrew programmers and students, XNA Creators Club is now live.
Creators Club is available for purchase on Xbox Live Marketplace for $49 for a four-month subscription, or $99 for an annual subscription, providing aspiring game developers access to thousands of game assets from Microsoft and key supporters such as Turbo Squid Inc., as well as "white papers, specialized starter kits, samples and technical product support to help turn [your game] into a reality."
As previously explained
on Gamasutra, games created with Game Studio Express cannot yet be shared with all Xbox 360 users, but "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.
In addition, to celebrate the worldwide launch of XNA Game Studio Express, the company announced an upcoming "Dream-Build-Play" contest, which will be open to XNA Game Studio Express customers on Windows as well as those on Xbox 360 through the XNA Creators Club membership.
The contest will offer a chance for the winner's game to be published on Xbox Live Arcade, and the full Dream-Build-Play contest will be launched on its official website
Finally, to coincide with the release of XNA Game Studio Express, XNA supporter GarageGames has launched an open beta for its Torque X platform, including Torque Game Builder. Based on the XNA Framework, the Torque X tools "bring drag-and-drop game development to Windows and Xbox 360." Final availability of the Torque X platform is scheduled for early 2007.