Microsoft's Visual Studio Express Edition products, including Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, will offer developers a low-cost tool to explore game "modding" on Windows. Hobbyist developers will also be able to learn more about how to create modifications for "Half-Life 2" on Microsoft's Coding4Fun Web site, which features a new "Half-Life 2" Mod Corner. Microsoft Visual C++ Express Edition, currently available in beta, is due to ship this fall and will be compatible with the next release of Valve's Source software development kit (SDK).
"Windows gaming is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing areas of computing today," said Brian Keller, product manager in the Developer Division at Microsoft Corp. "By working with content and technology creators such as Valve and releasing the Visual Studio Express products, we can provide great opportunities to the game development community. Valve and Microsoft share a vision of providing aspiring developers of all ages with the tools they need to get started with software development and pursue their passions."
Microsoft Visual Studio Express products are low-cost, lightweight and easy-to-learn. They include Starter Kits and other introductory features to streamline programming for the nonprofessional developer. With the Express products, hobbyist, novice and student developers can build dynamic applications, whether they are building new games, creating modifications for games such as "Half-Life 2" or pursuing other software-related hobbies such as robotics or home automation. Valve's SDK is available as a free download for "Half-Life 2" customers, which provides specialized tools and code that allow developers to build modifications to, and completely new games around, Valve's powerful Source engine.
"Visual C++ 2005 is the development environment our engineers are using to create our next generation of products," said Gabe Newell, founder and president of Valve. "Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition is a great, low-cost tool that opens the door for the mod community to leverage a robust version of that same development environment in the creation of its Source-based games."
This week at Tech•Ed Australia, Team Dystopia representatives will demo their modification for "Half-Life 2" in the keynote presentation. They will provide more details in a session titled "Gaming With Microsoft Development Tools: Special Session Developing Atop the Source Engine." Tech•Ed attendees will also have an opportunity to talk directly with the members of Team Dystopia about how they created their mod during a cabana session titled "Gaming With Microsoft Development Tools — Chat With the Dystopia Game Developers." These sessions offer developers an opportunity to see firsthand how they can create game mods with Visual C++ and the Source SDK.
Developers can download beta 2 of Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition today from Microsoft's Web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/express. The updated version of Valve's Source SDK will be available soon and will enable developers to use Visual C++ 2005 and Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition to build and compile modifications based on the Source SDK. Microsoft's Coding4Fun Web site will also feature a new "Half-Life 2" Mod Corner at http://msdn.microsoft.com/coding4fun. Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition is priced at $49 (U.S.); the Source SDK is available for download at no additional cost to owners of "Half-Life 2."
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