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Homerzinho

XNA for indie games.

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Hi guys, I have a question regarding XNA development. I have a bunch of knowledge in C++ and allegro api and I've done some basic games with that (Pong, arkanoid, tetris, etc...). As I do not work in the gaming industry, I thought making indie games and selling it on a system like steam or xbox live arcado would be a good hobby for me. Do you guys think that XNA is a good tool for doing that? Has microsoft ever spoken about XNA on their next console? Would game selling platforms like steam accept XNA games? My questions are somewhat basic, and obviously I could be asking dumb question. I hope you guys can help me getting into the indie industry. Thanks in advance, Homer.

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It most certainly is an excellent tool to create an indie game. You'll be limited to distribution on either the Xbox 360 or PC, but that's a pretty far reaching audience as it is.

I've never heard Microsoft mention anything about their next console, so no news about XNA on it.

I'm not sure about XNA on Steam. Looks like the question has already been asked here.

You also might find better answers here.

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Well, first things first. XNA is a wonderful indie toolset.

However there are snags. One snag is you can't easily get your game on XBox Live Arcade. I don't know what the requirements to do so are, but I will leave that to someone else to explain. Instead, you will easily be able to place your game on the XBox Live Indie Games portal, and all that requires is a premium subscription to XNA to get access to 360 development.

If you were developing for Windows, there would be absolutely no catches at all. No fees, no real limitations, etc etc.

As for XNA on Microsoft's next console; I have not heard anything about it. But then again, I've also not heard anything about their next console at all. I imagine they have one somewhere in planning, but that's pretty far off. I imagine there will be a version of XNA for that particular console, but it will most likely be different from the one we have now considering the XNA version we have now targets essentially Direct3D9, and the next gen console will probably be DirectX11.

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Quote:
Original post by Flimflam
However there are snags. One snag is you can't easily get your game on XBox Live Arcade. I don't know what the requirements to do so are, but I will leave that to someone else to explain. Instead, you will easily be able to place your game on the XBox Live Indie Games portal, and all that requires is a premium subscription to XNA to get access to 360 development.


Aside from the premium subscription (which is $100/yr), your game also has to pass through a peer review process before it can be put up for sale on XBLIG games. Basically other XNA developers playtest your game, and make sure it passes a set of baseline requirements.

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Thanks for the tips!

What do you guys think about this book: http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Studio-Creators-Guide-Second/dp/0071614060/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3DIAQ9YY1AYMO&colid=1II6C45Z0790P

Do you have any other recommendations?

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Doing it for a hobby shouln't determine what API you use. You should choose whatever API is most comfortable for you to develop in. As for using XNA for business purposes, your locked into the XNA paradigm. Which is to say it's very unlikely you will ever be able to publish commercial XBOX games.

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Original post by Homerzinho
Thanks for the tips!

What do you guys think about this book: http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Studio-Creators-Guide-Second/dp/0071614060/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3DIAQ9YY1AYMO&colid=1II6C45Z0790P

Do you have any other recommendations?


The reviews seem to indicate it's awesome, but at the same time it's only 500 pages and covers a lot of ground, so I can only assume it doesn't cover that ground in depth. But then, if you're new to it, I'm sure that it wont be bad. Combine that with all the examples on creators.xna.com and you'll be well off.

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Original post by mososky
Which is to say it's very unlikely you will ever be able to publish commercial XBOX games.


There are XBLA games on the market right now that use XNA. The boundary isn't the API, it's having a publisher or convincing Microsoft that it meets their standards of quality.

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I'm not saying it's impossible, of course nothing is. What I'm saying is if your going in for yourself to be an indie developer, If your priority is bringing software to the *market*, XNA may not be the best way to do that right now. If you just want to learn about making 3D games then XNA is an excellent choice.

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Original post by mososky
I'm not saying it's impossible, of course nothing is. What I'm saying is if your going in for yourself to be an indie developer, If your priority is bringing software to the *market*, XNA may not be the best way to do that right now.


Huh? Why?

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I just started back into game programming a while ago and I went with XNA. One of the things I looked at was "is it going to die in two months" kind of thing. I ran across an article that quoted someone from Microsoft saying that the XBox 360 wasn't even to the halfway point yet. So it's still going to be there for a while and one of the biggest reasons is the XBox live.

On a side note... You need to have the premium subscription to program on the 360 as well. So if I were you I would develop your game on the PC (with the 360 in mind) and then move forward. Or you could go ahead and get the premium subscription for the heck of it since it's only $100. That would be best so you're not sitting there wondering if you are doing something the correct way or not. Simply start the project and it deploys it to your XBox and runs; that simple.

One final thing while I am thinking about it. One thing you have to remember (or be aware of) is XNA is right handed coordinates and not left handed like OpenGL/DirectX. I had to learn the hard way :-)


[EDIT]
Don't forget about Project Natal!
http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/projectnatal/


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Quote:
Original post by mososky
I'm not saying it's impossible, of course nothing is. What I'm saying is if your going in for yourself to be an indie developer, If your priority is bringing software to the *market*, XNA may not be the best way to do that right now. If you just want to learn about making 3D games then XNA is an excellent choice.


You realize that indie games are sold right? That the minimum price is 80 points (roughly $1 US currency) and that the developer keeps 70% of that? Not every game is a success (many aren't worth the time it takes to download them) but many have found a good level of success -- "I MAED A GAME WITH ZOMBIES IN1T!!!" has sold more than 200k copies in like 6 months, netting the developer somewhere around $140,000 dollars. The game isn't terribly complex, its just simple, stupid fun that you can pick up and play for 10 minutes or so, and the level of polish is pretty high for what it is -- plus the crazy song. I doubt that game took more than 2-3 months to produce from start to finish, meaning the developer probably earned the equivilent of $560k/year for those 3 months.

I imagine the game will still double its sales or more on a slower burn.


As for future consoles, I can't see that microsoft wouldn't continue the program -- They have an avenue that's selling millions of games, and they're taking 30% off the top. It also grants them a chance to identify and woo upcoming talent, so even if the effort was *only* breaking even, it still serves a very important purpose for Microsoft. Not to mention that the indie XNA kit pretty much falls out of the "pro" XNA kit which they're going to have to support anyhow (managed, not native -- All Xbox development stuff falls under the umbrella of XNA now.)

The Zune supports limited XNA functionality, so they're obviously commited to XNA on multiple platforms. As long as the next platform has a CLR, there shouldn't be any issue with it supporting current XNA games since there's no low-level hardware access.

I imagine they'll update the APIs to take advantage of the new horsepower that becomes available, but there's no reason they'd loose backwards compatibility.

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With the recent announcement that Windows Phone 7 development will be done with XNA and Silverlight, I can't see any downside to jumping on board. Of course, I couldn't care less about non-MS platforms (they're just not worth the effort IMO), so YMMV. :D

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