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JPulham

How to become a 360 developer

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Whats the best (and by best I mean cheapest :P) way to become an XBOX 360 developer? I was thinking of trying to release my game(s) on 360 and wondered what you have to do to get your hands on an XDK. Could I submit my 'team' and split the cost? (I presume you can) What would I have to do to qualify?

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1. the cheapest way is/will be XNA Game Studio Express. Aimed at hobbyists, students, etc. AFAIK no restrictions on: game genre, quality, etc. Distribution is limited to other people with XNA Game Studio Express (i.e. no DVD, no Live!).


2. next cheapest is Xbox Live Arcade. Aimed at smaller, indie companies, and larger companies who want to do sidelines in smaller products. Restrictions on: download size, pick-up-and-play game genres that don't require instruction manuals and an hour to get into, and has to go through the same TCR/submission process as any other commercial Xbox 360 game. Distribution is limited to Xbox Live Arcade (i.e. no DVD).


3. finally, full registered developer. Aimed at companies who have signed publishing & distribution deals with publishers. These go through the full TCR/submission process to ensure minimum quality requirements are met (stability, frame rate, etc). Distribution primarily on DVD, with demos and extra content on Xbox Live.


4. More details on 2&3, including contact email addresses at: http://www.xbox.com/en-us/dev/default.htm. Be realistic about whether you fit in with any of the above programs, you won't get a reply if you send 'ideas' expecting devkits or can't point to evidence of being able to finish commercial quality product.


5. Having a sh*t-hot, (near-)finished, DirectX 9 PC game that supports the MS common controller (XInput), meets all the quality bar items for the "Games for Microsoft Windows" Logo programm, etc will help your case immensely if you think you're ready for applying for Xbox Live Arcade for example.

It's also a damn sight cheaper to develop the majority of your game on PC, then spend a couple of months afterwards sorting out the console specific stuff (HDTV/tiling, Live handling, extra TCR items regarding controllers, colour/gamma balancing, etc) when you have a devkit (you can get away with less devkits too). Multiple SKU release also means more potential $$ [smile]

Almost all the APIs on Xbox360 are identical or very similar to their Win32 counterparts (I can't go into details, but the stuff I develop at work shares a lot of code between the two platforms).

Quick tips: go easy on the assembly (including shaders!); wrap your frame update and any offscreen rendering code; be threadsafe if you want to rock the box; beware unportable middleware; endian-ness isn't as bad as you think; check out the Gamefest presentations - a lot of previously NDA-only information is now public.

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many thanks for that reply.
I'll look into it, maybe If I get a full game first... like you said. I'll have to start work then! ;D get my games into a full release state (rather than scattered bits of source code )
cya and thanks again

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Note in the above post where he talked about being realistic when evaluating if you can produce a quality finished product. That means that you should be realistically able to sell tens of thousands of your PC version of the game.

Otherwise...

>> Whats the best (and by best I mean cheapest :P) way to become an XBOX 360 developer?

Get a job at a game studio.

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