On the back of Microsoft's recent announcement
that its XNA Studio 3.0 will support games for the Zune handheld music device, the company has released a Community Technical Preview of the suite which delivers that compatibility.
The update will allow creators to use XNA Studio 3.0 to create 2D games for all currently-released Zune units. Wireless play (local, ad-hoc) is also supported. Games created using the tools can access the user's stored collection of (non-DRM) music for integration into the game.
The other announced upgrade to XNA Studio 3.0 is an improvement of the sound effect API, which allows simpler integration of sound effects into the content pipeline.
The CTP of XNA Studio 3.0 does not include Xbox 360 development capabilities. According to Microsoft, users wishing to develop games for the Xbox 360 platform should continue to work with XNA Studio 2.0. Windows development is, however, supported.
Also of note is that Visual Studio 2005 is not compatible with XNA Studio 3.0; users interested in this preview will have to upgrade to a version of Visual Studio 2008.
The Zune is currently only available for sale in the United States; according to Microsoft's figures, two million units have been sold since the product line's introduction. Though it goes on sale in Canada next month, its release outside of these countries is not yet confirmed.
Those interested in downloading XNA Studio 3.0 CTP should visit Microsoft's download site