Following recent news
from Microsoft on new independent developer and student game development tool XNA Game Studio Express, the company has announced that the software's public beta has been released for download
Aspiring game creators can download the tool today and begin developing games for Windows XP and Windows Vista at no charge. The games built on Windows can be migrated to the Xbox 360 console system beginning this holiday season as part of the XNA Creators Club, which requires a yearly subscription fee of $99, or a four-month trial cost of $49.
The final version of XNA Game Studio Express and the XNA Creators Club for building and distributing games on the Xbox 360 will launch simultaneously this holiday. XNA Game Studio Professional will be available in spring 2007.
Since it was officially announced at its Gamefest event in Seattle, Microsoft has confirmed that more than 100 schools, including Southern Methodist University’s Guildhall and the University of Southern California’s GamePipe, have requested information on how they can incorporate XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula. In addition, the company announced additional support from DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington. Through its ProjectFUN software running on XNA Game Studio Express and summer workshops starting in 2007, DigiPen plans to bring Xbox 360 console game development to thousands of children ages 10 through 16.
In conjunction with today’s release of the XNA Game Studio Express beta, XNA partner GarageGames will begin enrollment for its Torque X beta program
. Torque X includes both Torque Game Builder and a version of the Torque Shader Engine which have both been developed in conjunction with XNA Game Studio Express. The final version of Torque X will be released this holiday season.
“XNA Game Studio Express is an incredibly accessible tool for making games for Microsoft’s game platforms and will provide our university students with modern tools and console development experience,” said Claude Comair, founder and chairman of the board at DigiPen Institute of Technology. “And now with our ProjectFun for XNA Game Studio Express, we’re eager to extend our educational offerings on Windows and Xbox 360 to include young children.”