Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express (Beta 2) Available Now!

This second beta of Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express makes creating great video games for Windows-based PC’s even easier with the inclusion of the content pipeline, full Windows functionality and Xbox 360 project system preview.

Press Release


Upgraded software toolset available as a free download offers highly sought features that make game design even easier

Microsoft has released the second major iteration of its XNA Game Studio Express beta, upgraded with full functionality for Windows and third party toolset support, allowing hobbyists, academics and independent game developers to more easily integrate game content into their creations. The pioneering technology has already opened the doors of game development to numerous audiences, and promises to ratchet up indie game development yet another notch with an expanded set of features.

Whether you’ve been tinkering for just a short time with XNA Game Studio Express or are completely new to the software, today’s update maintains Microsoft’s goal to empower the masses through offering easy-to-use and affordable tools enabling them to bring their creativity to life by offering:

The addition of XNA Framework Content Pipeline, a feature set that makes it simpler and more straightforward for game developers to use 2D and 3D content in their game projects from third party digital content creation packages like Autodesk® 3ds Max®, Autodesk® Maya® and SOFTIMAGE®|XSI®.
New content importers for .X and Autodesk® FBX® 3D asset format in partnership with Autodesk.
Xbox 360 project system gives game developers the ability to preview game design specifically for the Xbox 360 and pre-compile games starting today, giving developers a head start in preparing their games for the XNA Creators Club availability in December.
Improved game component architecture updated with a simpler design, adding increased usability based on community feedback.
Overall performance improvements and optimizations – XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2 is a near final version of the tool.

In addition, the release of XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2 is occurring simultaneously today with a closed beta of GarageGames’ Torque X, a toolset designed specifically for XNA Game Studio Express that combines Torque Game Builder, Torque Game Engine and Torque Shader Engine into one package on top of the XNA platform, giving even non-programmers a great set of tools and technology to easily create games using drag-n-drop interfaces. More information on the Torque X beta can be found on the GarageGames website at http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque/x/.

On top of these improved and added features, XNA Game Studio Express continues to gather a following among academics and hobbyists. The list of leading universities adopting XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula has grown to more than 30 worldwide. There have been 150,000 downloads of XNA Game Studio Express Beta 1, over 30 new XNA communities launched, 100 user generated tutorials shared online and more than 60 independent games already in development or completed.

The latest major adopter of XNA Game Studios Express is Giant Campus, a major provider of technology training, consulting, and staffing services to youth and education markets, the U.S. Armed Forces and the federal government. They will be featuring XNA Game Studio Express in their game design curriculum to be made available next summer.

Novice game creators can download the updated software today from http://msdn.com/xna to develop games for Windows, at no charge. Furthermore, games built using Windows can be migrated to Xbox 360 console systems when the final version of XNA Game Studio Express is released. The XNA Creators Club membership will launch simultaneously with XNA Game Studio Express and be available for purchase on Xbox Live Marketplace allowing users to activate their personal retail Xbox 360 console to create, test and play XNA games on Xbox 360. A one year membership is available for 99 € and a four-month trial is available for 49.00 €.

Look for the final version of XNA Game Studio Express to go live on December 11 of this year, with XNA Game Studio Professional available in summer of 2007

Click here to download the beta

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drewdrakes6412d ago

For all those who used the first, be warned that those beta 1 XNA files arent compatible with XNA beta 2.

BIadestarX6412d ago

Actually the files are. They didn't change anything related to the .net or C#. They only change the name of certain components and remove some interfaces from others. Most of my classes stay intact; some events were removed since they are no longer needed. But for the most part all it takes is for you to add you existing files to a new project. It took me 5-10 mins to update my game project. It's not that bad. It's all worth in return of the CONTENT PIPE LINE!

drewdrakes6412d ago

Yes im sorry, i should have clarified. You cant load the project, but you can make a new one and add the .cs files to the new solution. Thanks for pointing that out :)

FeralPhoenix6412d ago

This sounds very interesting....I wonder just how user friendly this will be....can someone like me, who's never done anything besides play games just take a good idea and really design/develop a home brew video game?...hey can anyone explain what exactly XNA beta 2 will allow me to do?

drewdrakes6412d ago (Edited 6412d ago )

You have to have a basic knowledge of programming. You can pick up a lot of it with basic programming knowledge, there are tutorials. But its much harder to make a game then you think. Even tetris would take a day or two, depending on who's making it. Tetris is a good game to begin with, but it will take you much longer then a few days, because you have to learn how to do everything. Also, you have to have a good knowledge of object oriented programming to make a game thats efficient.

And to post 3, XNA is geared towards C#. Its one of the easiest languages, as it manages garbage collection for you. And you have to be a member in order to play others games, so you will have to pay the fee aswell.

BIadestarX6412d ago

drewdrakes is right. Even later when the XNA mature to be like flash, you will have to go under the hood to do more advance stuff. As a gamer you probably qualify than most programers out there. It is harder to be creative and to know what it takes to make a game fun than to just code. Programing is not as hard as many people think; the reason why there arent more programers is because people think is hard; give it a try; if you stand by it and don't quit you will be programming in no time. Thats how I learned it; I didn't go to school at first for it. Also, wherever you learn with the xna you will be able to use it for other things, thanks to the .net framework and C#. It wouldn't be that hard to start making web pages, software or even server applications.

Waffle-boy6412d ago

...but i think you have to have knownledge within programming (You can get that by using it, though), and im pretty sure you need to know C or C++ or maybe BASIC. Not sure.

I am looking forward to playing XNA games, though.
Must one pay 99% to download and play them, or..?

BIadestarX6412d ago (Edited 6412d ago )

C# is more like C or C++ than Basic when it comes to syntax. Eventhough programming languages may look very different in code, they all try to do the same for the most parts.
Take this for example:

string a = "hello"; // C#

Dim a As String = "hello" ' vb.net

The 2 line of code (above) a writen differently but accomplish the same thing (create a place horder in memory to hold strings(alphanumeric) data and assign "hello" to it.
This is not far from human language, no matter how is sounds or writen the concept is the same.
Ofcourse one language may have an advantage over another, (i.e. C# is the only language supported by XNA for now.).
Last time I heard you may have to pay the fee to download games of the market place. But the source (person that works for xna) said they price, cost modal is not final and things can change. We don't know if game can be excuted of the computer or from CDs; which means that people will post their games over the internet for people to download. We have to wait and see, to see how things will unfold.

drewdrakes6412d ago (Edited 6412d ago )

I like the comparison between the two languages, but can anyone guess which one this is?

zonetrooper56412d ago

I would like to try this out and learn some coding, is the version for Windows free and if you wanted to port it over to the Xbox 360 then do you have to pay a fee or what?

drewdrakes6412d ago (Edited 6412d ago )

Lol this is my last comment on this thread, so i hope you appreciate my answer :), but its free to download, and you can make games. They will work on windows and everything is still free. When you make a Xbox 360 game you will have to pay in order to put it on your 360 and play it.

So quick recap, download Visual C#.net and XNA beta 2, these are both free, and you MUST install visual C#.net first (it doesnt matter if you have visual studio 2005, you still have to get Visual C#.net, which is stupid). You can start making games for Windows (XP and Vista) right away. Youll have to wait for the full version of XNA to be released, then you have to pay to put games on your 360 to test. Also, your membership also allows you to download other peoples games and play them.

FeralPhoenix6412d ago

Hey, I appreciate your comments....I'm definitely going to give this a try, if for nothing else but to humor myself or frustrate the hell out myself....I hope the later will be true, we'll see?

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Gears of War for Windows? No says Gamerscoreblog

Gamerscoreblog , a blog run by members of Microsoft's Games Global Marketing team, hopes to put the GoW for PC rumors to rest.

From the blog:

"Yes, Microsoft provided the image that is published in the Games for Windows cover story in the Holiday issue of PC Gamer magazine.
Yes, this image contains what looks to be box shots of Gears of War with the Games for Windows branding bar on the box art.

NO, this is not a confirmation, leak, tease, or sly viral attempt to announce, confirm, or admit that Gears of War will be published for Windows.

Here's what happened: These images were created using draft templates for the Games for Windows box art and a variety of Microsoft Game Studios cover images. Gears of War was accidentally included by the artist as one of the MGS titles used as examples to show what our retail setup would look like. This DOES NOT indicate a confirmation that Gears of Wars will be a Games for Windows title -- it was a concept image created by a concept artist, nothing more. In fact, if you look closely you'll also see that Age of Empires III and Rise of Legends are also branded Games for Windows, and this is not actually the case (Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs is a Games for Windows branded game, but not the original Age III).

We created this image around the E3 timeframe when we were first preparing to announce and show our Games for Windows retail efforts. Shortly after the insanity that is E3, we noticed the box art, and the image was supposed to be removed from circulation. When we provided the package of art assets to PC Gamer for their cover story, we zipped up a directory of our already-public E3 assets as well as more current images (many of which PC Gamer did not use). Unfortunately, we didn't realize that this image was in that directory, and it just happens to be the one that PC Gamer figured prominently in their story. Our bad.

We're incredibly excited about the success of Gears of War on Xbox 360, but we have nothing further to announce about Gears of War, or any other platforms it might come to, at this time.

Now stop rumor-mongering and get out there and start fragging some Locust!"

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THWIP6392d ago

"NO, this is not a confirmation, leak, tease, or sly viral attempt to announce, confirm, or admit that Gears of War will be published for Windows."

Fact is, Gears IS COMING to the PC....MS just doesn't want that known while the 360 version is selling so well.

Rooted_Dust6392d ago

They are not saying that it won't come to windows. They are just confirming that they are not confirming GOW for windows.

devv056392d ago

Maybe it will, after 2 years or so.. Like the first Halo, which still sucked on PC. You may as well call it an exclusive then...

Rooted_Dust6392d ago (Edited 6392d ago )

The only reason it sucked was because of lazy ass Gearbox developers.

shotty6392d ago

It will come with a year or two delay. Microsoft has created a new studio whos job is it only to port xbox games to windows. They are currently working on Halo2Vista and im sure once that ships new year its onto Gears.

It shouldn't bother xbox 360 gamers because it means more console exclusives to xbox 360 and then later showing up on pc, versus showing up on xbox 360 and other consoles.

PS360PCROCKS6392d ago

lol its coming to pc and this article is funny "oh um um someone messed up someone put GOW as cover art and we forgot to remove it" oh yea ok ;) not to mention was the box art even known during E3

CyberSentinel6392d ago

Great Exclusive Titles, both first party AND third will be the nail in Pl@y$t@tions coffin.
And the only way Microsoft will TRULY win console dominance.

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The two faces of Bill Gates

There were two Bill Gateses on stage on Wednesday at Stanford University: the philanthropist, and the hypercompetitive Microsoft co-founder and chairman.

While he spoke of prosperity not being a zero-sum game, he also espoused the need for Microsoft to outmanoeuvre rivals such as Apple, Google and Sony.

"We want to either be number one or on our way to being number one," Gates said while speaking at the third annual TechNet Innovation Summit, hosted by a membership of technology CEOs.

Gates, whose comments came during a taped interview with TV host Charlie Rose, showed he hasn't lost any gusto for Microsoft's leadership in technology, despite having announced plans to relinquish his day-to-day role with the company by 2008 to concentrate on philanthropy.

Gates, for example, characterised the success of the Apple iPod as "phenomenal, unbelievable, fantastic". But to put the Zune ahead, Microsoft built features into the media player that the iPod lacks. "We're doing connected entertainment analogous to the Xbox," he said, in the hopes of nabbing new customers and luring those ready to switch.

On Sony, Gates said that Microsoft has traded places with the PlayStation maker because it shipped the Xbox 360 a year earlier than Sony released its competing, and more expensive PlayStation 3, he said. (On its first try, with the original Xbox, Sony beat it to the punch with the PS2.)

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