XNA Game Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) designed to make it easier to develop games for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and Windows based phones. XNA Game Studio extends itself from Microsoft Visual Studio with support for the XNA Game Studio Framework , which is a custom code class library that contains features targeted specifically at game development. XNA Game Studio follows the .NET Framework in its design, and it includes tools for adding graphic and audio content to your game. With XNA Game Studio, you can use both the XNA Game Studio Framework and the more general .NET Framework for game development.
Introduction to Coding
Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0 System Requirements
XNA Framework games require a Windows operating system computer with a graphics card that supports at least DirectX 9.0c and Shader Model 1.1, however, it’s recommended that a graphics card that supports Shader Model 2.0 is used. As for debugging XNA Framework games created for a Windows phone, you’ll need a graphics card that at least supports DirectX 10 and has a WDDM 1.1 driver. To develop XNA Framework games for Xbox 360, you need a hard drive installed on your Xbox 360 console.
On top of all of the above, it’s also important that you meet all of the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 system requirements. Some but not all of the requirements are a 1.6 GHz processor, 1 GB or 2 GB of RAM, at least 3 GB of hard drive space, 5400 RPM hard disk drive, a DirectX 9 capable video card, and at least a 1024 x 768 display.
XNA Game Studio App Hub
Arguably the best part of Microsoft XNA Game Studio is that Xbox 360 games can be written with it! Once you’ve created an Xbox 360 game with XNA, if you have an App Hub premium membership – which costs $99 a year – then you can submit your game to App Hub where it will be subjected to a peer review by other creators. If it passes this review process then your game gets listed on the massive Xbox Live Marketplace where millions of gamers around the world can buy your game!
Once your game is accepted by the App Hub, you can set its price at 80, 240, or 400 Microsoft points, which is the equivalent of $1, $3, or $5 US dollars. You get paid 70% of your total revenue from all game sales and Microsoft gets the rest. Microsoft also distributes a one year free premium App Hub subscription for educational establishments through their DreamSpark program and MSDNAA. These accounts allow students to develop games for the Xbox 360, but developers still need a premium Xbox Live account to submit their game to the marketplace.
Once you’re ready to begin creating your first game, you can download Microsoft Game Studio 4.0 here. After it’s installed I suggest taking a long look through the official XNA introduction section, as well as the entire Microsoft XNA guide library.