It’s a rare moment when Microsoft can get me excited about anything they do, but I have to admit that this XNA Game Studio Express looks pretty damn cool. A free platform to build PC games and, for a fee, XBox games. It actually makes me want to get a new Mac Pro and a copy of Parallels (What? You thought I was going to buy a Dell? Yeah, right), and learn C#.
I do have a problem that my games would probably only be playable on a Windows machine and no other game consoles other than XBox, but I’m sure some clever soul on the Internet will figure out some way to convert code. But even if no one does (or if Microsoft prevents it somehow) XNA will still be a step in the right direction for independent games.
And that’s why I’m so excited by this. It’s a great chance for an amateur to make games on the same level as a real game studio. I mean, I doubt I’ll ever make the next Halo by myself. But given some free time and dedication I can at least make the next Geometry Wars and share that game with potentially tons of people. It also gives students a chance to work on a platform they might use in the real world. And I imagine that if people are willing to share all types of open-source code for applications and scripts they will also be willing to contribute codes for XNA produced games.
This really has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.