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View Full Version : Microsoft plans "community-powered arcade"(Microsoft to let players design own games)


heavyness
08-14-2006, 06:48 AM
http://www.joystiq.com/2006/08/14/microsoft-plans-community... (http://www.joystiq.com/2006/08/14/microsoft-plans-community-powered-arcade-with-new-xna-tools/)

XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to anyone with a Windows(r) XP-based PC and will provide them with Microsoft's next-generation platform for game development. By joining a "creators club" for an annual subscription fee of $99 (U.S.), users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360(tm) and access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress. This represents the first significant opportunity for novice developers to make a console game without a significant investment in resources.


so... who wants to make a game?

almux
08-14-2006, 09:25 AM
This could be a good move. Microsoft could develop games only and leave busyness and professional stuff to more secure OSs!
lol

NeOmega
08-14-2006, 10:39 AM
Saw this in businesss news, hopped straight over here because I knew there would be a link. Very exciting.

Chango
08-14-2006, 11:18 AM
This is great! - Game development for all! - I hope to see some cool game ideas in action
from students and the community in the future for 360 *need-programming-skills-now-today*.

ScottC
08-14-2006, 12:22 PM
I hate to say this, but I think this is probably brilliant, and yet another nail in the PS3 coffin.

Gentle Fury
08-14-2006, 12:28 PM
I'm sure there is some hidden agenda fine print like

**microsoft owns all rights to all software and games produced using this pack and may market and distribute as they see fit with no compensation to the artist

Or something along those lines......but I'll try and think positively and try to believe that this means that M$ is interested in allowing people do author to their console at a minimal expense.....but their track record highly dictates this prospect!

Sonk
08-14-2006, 12:33 PM
I hate to say this, but I think this is probably brilliant, and yet another nail in the PS3 coffin.

Not really, homebrew is support on the PS3 thru Linux OS being pre-installed on the HDD. ;). All the next gen system(Wii, PS3, 360) support some form of "homebrew". The level of support in terms of software varys from platform to platform though.

RobertoOrtiz
08-14-2006, 12:51 PM
Quote:

"Microsoft wants to do for video games what YouTube has done for video: open it up for do-it-yourselfers.

The first step toward that goal, to be announced Monday, is the release of a free set of game-development tools called XNA Game Studio Express on Aug. 30. Prospective do-it-yourself game developers can download the program (from www.microsoft.com/xna (http://www.microsoft.com/xna)) to their Windows PC and create games for PCs and for Xbox 360 systems.

Then during the holiday season, Microsoft will launch a "Creators Club" membership on its Xbox Live online service ($99 annually) allowing fledgling game developers to test their creations on their Xbox 360. Eventually, Microsoft plans to allow independent game makers to demo and sell their games on Xbox Live. "We want to be able to get consumer hobbyists to create games that run on Xbox 360 with an interface as simple as drag and drop," Microsoft's Peter Moore says."

>>LINK<< (http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20060814/tc_usatoday/microsofttoletplayersdesignowngames)

-R

thoughtlesswhisper
08-14-2006, 12:58 PM
bloody brilliant!! although this does mean more competition. evryone and their dog is going to be making computer games. im sure theyre already doing this on xbox live. isnt that what 'cloning clyde' is??

great stuff. its like dragons den. you just need one good idea, and bang, your a millionaire...

Iysun
08-14-2006, 02:24 PM
awsome I have been waiting for something like this to come along.

Apoclypse
08-14-2006, 03:08 PM
I see the xbox getting more community support than the ps3. The reason being that top developers were having issues programming for the thing, imagine some kid in his basement trying to do the same. Sony doesn't really care how easy their hardware is to program for because that hasn't mattered in the past. Developers still develope games for the ps2 even after all the complaints they had about how hard it was to program for. For the average joe this might be a tall order. Well lets see what happens.

cosmonaut
08-14-2006, 03:24 PM
This sounds really cool, sign me up once I get my 360 in a few months...

hotknife
08-14-2006, 03:54 PM
The PS1 had a low budget dev kit called the Yaroze for homebrew developers, but this does look like a step in the right direction.

sheppyboy2000
08-14-2006, 04:04 PM
And yet the true "happy spot" for this kind of support would be for the Xbox Live Arcade area of the market and this aspect happens to also be the most tightly regulated and hard to break into section. Doesn't matter either way. Since Sony is interested and Microsoft has given me a "piss off" response to my game design, I'm just going to get a playable demo up for PC and then see which one is willing to invest in the game design.

ThomasMahler
08-14-2006, 06:09 PM
The PS1 had a low budget dev kit called the Yaroze for homebrew developers, but this does look like a step in the right direction.

The net yaroze was far from a deal like that - as far as I remember, it was around 1.5000 USD for the system, right?

And we're talking about 99 USD here. Everyone who'd really want to program for the system could afford that.

sheppyboy2000
08-14-2006, 06:14 PM
The net yaroze was far from a deal like that - as far as I remember, it was around 1.5000 USD for the system, right?

And we're talking about 99 USD here. Everyone who'd really want to program for the system could afford that.

And yet the PS2 variant of the very same program was only a $200 upgrade to the $300 system and was the first use of the HDD bay.

Incidently, there are a couple missing issues I have with this half story. Like.... say you create a game on your PC for Xbox 360 and you convert it. Well? How do you get in on your Xbox 360? The $99 fee is ONLY as a club membership over Xbox Live. No mention of what kind of additional equipment would be needed for this.

ScottC
08-14-2006, 06:25 PM
Incidently, there are a couple missing issues I have with this half story. Like.... say you create a game on your PC for Xbox 360 and you convert it. Well? How do you get in on your Xbox 360? The $99 fee is ONLY as a club membership over Xbox Live. No mention of what kind of additional equipment would be needed for this.

I suspect its all tied in to that Xbox Live anywhere functionality with Vista. You "develop" on your pc, then Jump thru some hoops and get it uploaded to XBL where people can download to their consoles.

Apoclypse
08-14-2006, 06:29 PM
And probably sign your masterpiece away to MS and xbox live. I need to read the fine print before I jump on this.

pixelmonk
08-14-2006, 06:33 PM
This could be a good move. Microsoft could develop games only and leave busyness and professional stuff to more secure OSs!
lol

you mean like a true Unix and not some bastardized OSX version?


lol

Crook
08-14-2006, 06:39 PM
I read a quote where you would retain all rights to your product - in the form of 'it would be cool to send a kid a royalty cheque'. Looks like you just need the perfect MP idea and bang, youre a little less poor :)

pixelmonk
08-14-2006, 07:06 PM
I read a quote where you would retain all rights to your product - in the form of 'it would be cool to send a kid a royalty cheque'. Looks like you just need the perfect MP idea and bang, youre a little less poor :)

yeah.. I'm curious to see how many games we see cropping up over the next year from this, and more importantly, which ones get some hardcore backing by some larger studios. some could say the current state of games is a bit lacking in originality or quality. Just like independent film makers getting their chance... this could work for the gaming industry, despite the big boys wanting to keep E3 a closed affair.

ScottC
08-14-2006, 07:07 PM
Yeah, it looks like theyre trying for a Steam/Darwina vibe. If theyre smart enough to do that, I have to assume theyre smart enough to not discourage people from submitting by glomming on to all their rights. But at the same time, if the game ends up being good enough for commercial distribution over XBL, I'm sure theyll get their cut.

I think we'll see a lot more "free" non-MS endorsed stuff though.

Gentle Fury
08-14-2006, 07:12 PM
Yeah, it looks like theyre trying for a Steam/Darwina vibe. If theyre smart enough to do that, I have to assume theyre smart enough to not discourage people from submitting by glomming on to all their rights. But at the same time, if the game ends up being good enough for commercial distribution over XBL, I'm sure theyll get their cut.

I think we'll see a lot more "free" non-MS endorsed stuff though.

Well the only reason i question it is because usually when something is too good to be true, it is.

The fine print at Atom Films is that they own everything you submit and can use it at their discretion for anything they want with or without your permission...and if they make a compilation of shorts from the site....you don't get a dime of the profit.

Gotta be careful with the giant corporations offering good oppurtunities.

heavyness
08-14-2006, 07:33 PM
you know, most people who are willing to make games on their spare time are happy enough when people dl them and play them. while it would be great to make money by selling the game, most people work on mods and games just so they can get their foot in the door at a studio or get financial backing.

project offset (http://www.projectoffset.com/) is a prefect example. they just got backing and now hiring people to make the game. Valve's Portal (http://storefront.steampowered.com/v2/index.php?area=game&AppId=922&) was a student project (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narbacular_Drop) and now they all work at Valve. then there are people out there like Orisinal (http://www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal/)who seem just fine making the games and sharing them with everyone.

i'm not saying forget the money and make games to share for free, but not all success is measured by money. i would love it if a game i made was being played by millions.

anyways, it is way to early to know how this service will work and what hoops you must jump through to get working. once my dev co-workers get back from the Microsoft Gamefest, i'll see if they can spill some more beans.

heavyness
08-14-2006, 07:40 PM
also, Microsoft just published a FAQ about all this...

http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/faq/

switchblade327
08-14-2006, 07:54 PM
First, I think this is GREAT news. It really seems like MS is making all the right moves in the next-gen arena while Sony has lost the plot a bit. I also don't think it's too good to be true because it's to MS' advantage to get as many people developing for xbox as possible. They've already demonstrated with their hardware that they're willing to lose money in order to better compete with Sony.

And as mentioned before, even if Sony does introduce a similar program, how many basement developers are going to be able to exploit 8 symmetric processors when professionals are struggling with them? MS definitely has the advantage in the indy arena because the 360's architecture is simpler (not simple but simpler) and more important, they can fully integrate fully with Windows, the O/S that most computer users use. Now if Nintendo does something like this, that could be very interesting...

As far as this program causing a flood of games in the market, I don't think so. Solid mod tools and low-cost game engines have been available for years for free and yet there aren't a whole lot of good, finished and polished mods and certainly no overload of indy games. Because free or not, making games is not *easy* and everyone and their mom has a "really cool game idea". How's that quote go? "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration".

The fact of the matter is, if someone really wanted to make their game idea come to life, in most cases, they've had the means for years. The introduction of the real possibility of profit to the equation could definitely help but I think the biggest obstacle is most people don't realize just how much work is involved in making a design doc into a reality.

ParamountCell
08-14-2006, 07:56 PM
also, Microsoft just published a FAQ about all this...

http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/faq/

I seem to remember something about this in a past issue of Edge magazine, (a uk games industry mag) I think it is a good idea all the same, pretty soon we may well be seeing some pretty legendary homemade games.

Array
08-14-2006, 08:40 PM
From the FAQ:

Q: What’s the difference between XNA Game Studio Express, XNA Game Studio Pro and XNA Studio?

A: XNA Game Studio Express and XNA Game Studio Pro are related products targeting non-professional game developers and established professionals respectively. Both products integrate with Microsoft Visual Studio. XNA Game Studio Express is intended for the hobbyist/small development group and therefore designed to help create non-commercial games. XNA Game Studio Pro will include additional functionality such as libraries supporting Xbox Live (Achievements, Leaderboards, Multi-player) needed by professional game developers wishing to create commercial, signed titles. XNA Studio will implement enterprise wide solutions aimed at the production pipeline and process by which games are developed in large AAA studios.

Bleh...so how much is this Game Studio Pro going to cost? It sounds like you cant sell your game on xbox live unless you buy the Pro version.

switchblade327
08-14-2006, 09:01 PM
From the FAQ:


Bleh...so how much is this Game Studio Pro going to cost? It sounds like you cant sell your game on xbox live unless you buy the Pro version.

For a free dev studio, that seems pretty fair to not be able to sell it. What I want to know (on top of the price of pro, considering commercial game engines run from $99 to a quarter million and up) is how interchangable will the two be? Could you start your development on the cheap version and easily swap it over to pro when it comes out? Or would it be like Maya PLE where the formats aren't interchangable?

Also, I didn't see any answers to the question of usage rights on that page.

Array
08-14-2006, 09:05 PM
For a free dev studio, that seems pretty fair to not be able to sell it. What I want to know (on top of the price of pro, considering commercial game engines run from $99 to a quarter million and up) is how interchangable will the two be? Could you start your development on the cheap version and easily swap it over to pro when it comes out? Or would it be like Maya PLE where the formats aren't interchangable?

Also, I didn't see any answers to the question of usage rights on that page.

I would imagine it would be interchangeable. C# will allways be C#. I'm concerned as to whether or not the free version will limit the size of your textures, models, and audio files.

ScottC
08-14-2006, 09:30 PM
Well, the Faq answered my most burning question :

Q: What does XNA stand for?
A: XNA’s Not Acronymed

If I'm not mistaken here, MS just made a funny. My world is upside down.

Cronholio
08-15-2006, 03:57 AM
I would imagine it would be interchangeable. C# will allways be C#. I'm concerned as to whether or not the free version will limit the size of your textures, models, and audio files.

There should be no limit other than what the physical hardware limits you to and whatever arbitrary limits MS places on download size. The big difference I can see is that you will be restricted to working in managed mode which could hamstring you a little bit if you were looking to leverage the latest graphics technology. This means programmers will be restricted to a fixed function pipeline, which could potentially lock them out of using certain the features of the graphics hardware, and will probably limit them from using some of the trickery programmers have developed for fully programmable pipelines.

Most people honestly probably won't care, because they'll get nearly all of the speed and the vast majority of the features people want and expect to see in modern game graphics, but it's going to be frustrating for people who want to push the envelope a little bit. The ceiling is going to be a lot lower for developers using this free enviroment.

salmonmoose
08-15-2006, 04:34 AM
I would imagine it would be interchangeable. C# will allways be C#. I'm concerned as to whether or not the free version will limit the size of your textures, models, and audio files.

It looks to me more like the free version will be missing certain XBL libraries, your games will be fully functional at a local level, but won't be able to tap into XBL.

This is OK, but it looks like it's preventing multiplayer, which is a shame there are bound to be some concepts that will only work in a multiplayer environment.

Anyhow, this looks like it's going to be a lot of fun, .NET is a joy to program in, and it'll be great to be able to put stuff onto my 360 to tinker around with. Glad I made the choice to work with MDX/C# when I started building my own game a few months back :)

almux
08-15-2006, 06:48 AM
you mean like a true Unix and not some bastardized OSX version?


lol
Free to you! ;o) If this is your needed step towards a mature and fully functional OSX... ;))
lol lol !!

But anyway better for Linux or Mac fans is this sort of stuff: http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/10539/

deepcgi
08-15-2006, 08:35 AM
Visually speaking, the trend in game development is toward free tools in the long run, anyway. It's only a matter of time. Not long ago high poly counts were the exclusive domain of million dollar engines, where as now polys grow on b-trees. I got a free 3d engine (with High Dynamic Range Rendering) when I opened a checking account at my local credit union last week. They threw in Precomputed Radiance Transfer with my ATM card.

I guess it will all come down to good ideas. And the current crop of games that we find so impressive for the "realism" will be judged by the core concepts - which are almost all ripped off from some older film genre. I suppose we may look back and say "that looked really good for its day", but I'll wager the real acclaim will still go to Tetris and Robotron.

All software may be free sooner than later. All except the OS, of course.

almux
08-15-2006, 10:02 AM
Visually speaking, the trend in game development is toward free tools in the long run, anyway. It's only a matter of time. ... ...
All software may be free sooner than later. All except the OS, of course.

Ooh! You mean all those scripters, ui graphists and developers are going to be sponsored by big busynesses? They'll have to eat and pay their rentals... And in this case, will they be free to transmit their own ideas or will they have to follow Dark Wador? 8?

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