“When building XNA Game Studio 2.0, we wanted to offer everyone the opportunity to utilize the rich gaming environment of Live used by AAA developers for titles such as ‘Halo 3’ and ‘Gears of War,’” said Chris Satchell, general manager of the XNA organization at Microsoft. “We accomplished our goal with this new toolset, and, best of all, it remains highly accessible to students, hobbyists and pros alike.”
Many of Live’s best features are supported by XNA Game Studio 2.0 with minimal to no coding necessary to activate them — features like matchmaking, which uses Live to find the best games for you to play based on your location and internet connection. Additionally, XNA Game Studio 2.0 fully supports game development with all versions of the Microsoft Visual Studio product line.
Since its release last December, XNA Game Studio has been an incredible success, with 750,000 downloads, adoption by more than 300 universities worldwide and at least nine textbooks on the tools in development. In subjects from computer science to fine arts, introductory courses to graduate and research projects — XNA Game Studio is helping faculty members and students explore the boundaries of applied gaming technology in education. Along with XNA Game Studio 2.0, Microsoft will also provide a free academic trial membership in the XNA Creators Club beginning in January, allowing faculty members and students to use XNA Game Studio 2.0 and Xbox 360 for instructional purposes.
From more than 4,500 entrants from around the world, four community games were awarded Xbox Live Arcade publishing contracts in this year’s Dream-Build-Play game development competition. Microsoft will once again challenge aspiring game developers to create their dream games for a chance to win more coveted publishing contracts. This week Microsoft kicks off registration for Dream-Build-Play 2008 with the Silicon Minds Warm-Up Challenge. Registration begins on Dec. 14 and winners will be announced at the Game Developers Conference where details of the main challenge will be announced. Run in partnership with Microsoft Research’s Machine Learning Group in Cambridge, England; Rare Ltd.; and Lionhead Studios, prizes for the Warm-Up Challenge will include the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview for an internship with one of those organizations.
“Artificial intelligence is so important to the games we make at Lionhead Studios, and we are very excited to see what the community can come up with in this Warm-Up Challenge to Dream-Build-Play 2008,” said Peter Molyneux, managing director at Lionhead Studios. “We are always on the lookout for the best talent and believe that XNA Game Studio 2.0 will be a great platform for contestants to showcase their skills on.”
More information about Dream-Build-Play 2008 is available at http://www.dreambuildplay.com.