Be a 360 developer

Monday 14 August 2006
Indie developers and students will soon be able to forge their own Xbox 360 adventures, thanks to Microsoft's new tool XNA Game Studio Express. Available free to anyone with a Windows XP-based PC, the software package will feature the lauded XNA tools used by professional 360 developers.

Announced back in 2004 at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California, XNA is the name given to a set of development tools created by Microsoft for Xbox 360 game developers. By removing the need for developers to work at the extremely complicated base level of coding, it makes game creation more efficient and straightforward.

Now XNA Game Studio Express will provide these powerful tools to bedroom codies, enabling them to create games on their PCs and, by joining the 'creators club' for an annual sub of $99 (about %26pound;52), get their creations running on Xbox 360.

Across the US, 10 universitieshave already signed up to use the software - available in beta form at the end of the month - in game development courses. Hopes are high that some of these indie games will eventually find their way on to Xbox Live Arcade, ushering a wave of fresh blood into game development and design.