In the face of escalating game development costs, expanding teams and ever more complex hardware technologies, Microsoft Corp. today delivered a pre-release version of the first XNA Studio tools and unveiled the XNA Framework to attendees of the Game Developers Conference 2006 in San Jose. Microsoft also announced that the company is opening its Xbox Live Server Platform to game developers and publishers, allowing them to innovate and extend the Xbox Live experience in their titles.
This community technology preview (CTP) represents the first public opportunity for game developers to get their hands on key components of XNA Studio. Included in the CTP is a pre-release version of XNA Build, which delivers mechanisms for orchestrating, debugging and optimizing the game build pipeline. XNA Build also provides studios with a foundation that helps them easily identify game asset relationships and dependency information to unlock a wealth of benefits, ranging from incremental content builds to assistance in identifying orphaned or unused content. Tools such as XNA Build enable game developers to spend less time building and maintaining their internal tools infrastructure, and more time creating great game experiences.
The XNA Framework contains a custom implementation of the Microsoft. .NET Framework and new game-development-specific libraries designed to help game developers more easily create cross-platform games on Windows and Xbox 360 using the highly productive C# programming language. Using the XNA Framework, game developers will benefit from the ability to re-use code and game assets in developing multiplatform titles, without sacrificing performance or flexibility.
In addition to XNA Studio, Microsoft today announced further enhancements for extending Xbox Live services with the Xbox Live Server Platform. Using this platform, developers can create their own back-end servers to run alongside Xbox Live. Developers will get firsthand experience with this update which provides easier-to-manage and more scalable technology on Xbox Live in the next Xbox Development Kit, expected in May.
By opening the Xbox Live Server Platform, Microsoft provides developers and publishers with the tools and environments they need to create all-new online game experiences, and delivers the benefits of an open platform for innovation while providing the solid foundation of the full-featured Xbox Live service. Developers will be able to tap into real-time Extensible Markup Language (XML) feeds to update things such as weather, rosters or other changing information. The Xbox Live Server Platform can also be used to support the creation of massively multiplayer online game worlds. In addition, it will serve as the enabling technology for game developers to unleash their creativity to bring a steady stream of fresh ideas to the Xbox Live gamer community.
Read the whole pressrelease here.