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Sponsored Feature: What's New in XNA Game Studio 3.0
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Sponsored Feature: What's New in XNA Game Studio 3.0

November 19, 2008 Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

[In this sponsored feature, part of Microsoft's XNA microsite, the company's Savage documents the new features in XNA Game Studio 3.0, its crossplatform indie, hobbyist and academic tool for making Xbox 360, Windows, and Zune games.]

As we prepare to sign off on the release of XNA Game Studio 3.0, once again I am honored to talk about what's new in our latest version. In this article, we'll look at the improvements, and the added features and functionality of Game Studio 3.0 to prepare your games for submission to the Xbox LIVE Community Games pipeline.

Visual Studio 2008

This latest version of Game Studio is based on Visual Studio 2008. This includes all versions of Visual Studio 2008, including the free C# Express version. Visual Studio itself is full of new features.

XNA Game Studio 3.0 takes advantage of many of these new features. Some of the most obvious and immediately useful features available in Visual Studio 2008 are the C# 3.0 language features. This includes things like the LINQ syntax you can use to drive queries of game data loaded into any game's object model.

Extension Methods enable you to extend the existing XNA Framework with additional functionality. This functionality can be specific to your game or it can be shared as a general purpose library by your game community. Lambda Expressions, Expression Trees, and Partial Methods are included as well as implicit types and anonymous types.

Windows, Xbox 360, and Zune all provide these features; cross-platform functionality continues to be a cornerstone of Game Studio development.

Speaking of cross-platform development, we now support cross-platform project synchronization with Visual Studio 2008. With a simple menu command, you can create a new project that targets another supported platform, and have the new project share all of the source and content of the first project.

For example, you could take an existing Windows game project and, using the same source and content, create a project that targets both the Xbox 360 and Zune from within Visual Studio. All three projects will be in the same solution. Converting from one platform to another and keeping all three in sync is a breeze with Game Studio 3.0.

Figure 1: A cross-platform game solution in Game Studio 3.0

For Windows developers, we now provide complete support for the ClickOnce functionality in Visual Studio 2008. This feature builds a setup package for your Windows game, a package that includes all the dependencies needed to install the game correctly on someone else's machine.

Also, it can point to a Web page where you can store updates so that whenever someone plays your game, he or she is notified of new versions available to download and play. It's never been easier to share your Game Studio games on Windows.

When you upgrade your existing games from Game Studio 2.0, the project upgrade wizard that ships as part of Visual Studio will now automatically and correctly upgrade your Game Studio 2.0 games to Game Studio 3.0 game projects.

Please be sure to do a complete rebuild of your game after the wizard executes. This cleans up all of the old built code and content from Game Studio 2.0, which in turn enables you to avoid errors when you compile your game with Game Studio 3.0 for the first time.

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