In the last couple of days I’ve finally found myself sucked into the Xbox 360 indie game development haven dubbed the XNA Creators’ Club.
XNA is a framework developed by Microsoft to be used in conjunction with the C# programming language; it’s extremely easy to get to grips with and mind-blowingly simple to debug and run applications on an Xbox 360 using the Connect application that establishes a connection in a similar way to Windows Media Center.
If you take the plunge into a 12 month Creators’ Club membership you might initially find it somewhat expensive at £65 but where the XNA Creators’ Club really shines is in its partners. The excellent Torque X engine and accompanying application the Torque X Builder are available free to members in addition to a handful of content creation tools. The free software benefits can only grow from here on so it will be interesting to see what Microsoft throw our way in a bid to support the indie community and coax more developers over to their platforms.
XNA at version 2.0 is still very recognisably in its infancy, it works with 2005 editions of Visual Studio and Visual Studio Express with the 3.0 edition being targeted for Visual Studio 2008. Another sign of XNAs infancy is a quite severe lack of command abstraction built into the framework, if you take a look at Blitz it bends over backwards to make it easy to produce games whereas XNA has not quite got to this stage.
Still with Torque X to play with and plenty of other engines and code examples from XNA developers the world over I can’t really hold XNAs growing pains against it.
Stay tuned into Gagetoid for further details of my experiences with XNA, Torque X and other partner applications.