After being announced at GDC 08 the only questioned that lingered about Microsoft's new Community Games initiative was when the program would officially begin. Today Microsoft inched the program closer to launch by announcing the Beta test for Community Games is available to premium XNA membership owners and the new XNA Creators Club Online community site.
The beta allows creators to submit games for review to the newly formed creators site and once reviewed and approved the game is made available on Xbox Live.
According to Microsoft during GDC, Community Games will land on all Xbox Live connected consoles this holiday season and hopefully the early beta means we can have a healthy catalog of titles to choose from.
Make sure to check out the XNA Community Games tutorial video after the jump.
Satchell confirmed word that, internally, Microsoft has already created a few concept XNA games for the Zune, including a Wolfenstein software rendered that outputs at a solid 30 frames per second. Worried about the Zune as a controller? According to Satchell, the Zune's squircle "touchpad is great". And what about those who want Zune to Zune multiplayer gaming? You're covered as well, with Satchell's confirmation that "one of the things we talked about was the network play, and we've had people doing prototypes internally of multiplayer shoot-'em-ups both in versus and co-op". Delicious!
So, now that they've dangled this XNA / Zune integration carrot in front of our faces for an eternity, when can we get a confirmed launch? Hmm?
The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai creator James Silva recently posted this sweet 1440x900 wallpaper image on his Ska Studios blog for fans to dress-up their desktop in anticipation of the XNA title's release. Fans of the game, and of the wallpaper, could see the design make its way to a t-shirt in the future. While Silva hasn't decided on that yet, we'd recommend you drop into his blog and let him know you'd like to get this print on your threads ASAP. We know we do!
Appearing on the "Three Red Lights" podcast, Ross Erickson from Sierra Online gave the IGN Podcast a host of details regarding the company's upcoming games. The biggest of the news is that Assault Heroes 2 is actually completed, and is on the road to an April release. The second-most significant news would also be XBLA related, and regards the near-completion of Lost Cities. Concerning Lost Cities, there is still no word about he price, but the rumblings are that it could hit at 400 points. Among the smaller tidbits of information from the interview, Sierra is looking at giving adventure games a return, they're going to be publishing an award-winning XNA game, and as far as their number show, expansions tend to sell less than 50% of the originals.
[Read, Three Red Lights Podcast]
Set to expire at midnight on March 9, we found that the demo still booted up and worked correctly today -- March 10. Still having the demo on our hard drive, we attempting to boot the game when a screen told us that the demo had expired, but oddly continued to the main menu of the the game.
The Dishwasher - Dead Samurai, created solely by James Silva, was heralded by Microsoft as their main attraction for the upcoming XNA Community Games feature, set to release this holiday. While we expect Microsoft has already noticed, they can see what you're playing you know, we at least can give the fantastic demo for the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade release a final farewell. Video of the demo going through after the jump.
At this time we haven't been able to confirm if all XNA demos are still functioning, but it seems likely that they will.
After spending the better part of a week "chopping dudes up," we've finally been able to put the controller down and tell you exactly how Dishwasher stacks up as a future, full-fledged, XBLA title.
Rounding out our extensive GDC08 coverage we end up where we began, talking about James Silva's Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. Eager to promote their upcoming Community Games feature slated to hit this holiday season, Microsoft released a number of demos made from their XNA development platform for free via Xbox Live Marketplace. One of the demos, Dishwasher, is one of four top prizes awarded by Microsoft for an XBLA release contract made by one extremely creative and passionate guy.
We learn that XNA Community Games can be downloaded by any Live subscriber (be it gold or silver) through the XBLM, but only XNA Creators Club members will be able to upload games. Creators Club members will also be the only ones who monitor the service and be able to review their peers' games. We also learn that achievement addicts will not get their "fix"with any XNA games. Make the jump to get a few more of your XNA Community Games questions answered. Now pass the orange juice.
During yesterday's GDC keynote, Microsoft announced that later this year, XNA development would be opening up to the Zune allowing XNA developers to create XBLA style games for Zune devices. The games can then be shared from the Zune itself to any Windows PC and also to a 360. So, Mr. Allard ends up being correct about Zune - 360 connectivity, but totally dropped the ball on Zune gaming. Why fight it Allard, why fight? Also, those cool cats over at Ars Technica are reporting that the Zune will allow for multiplayer gaming via the device's built-in wireless capability. Zune XNA development should be rolling out sometime by the end of the year alongside the new XNA / Xbox Live community features.
First, you'll have to download the XNA Game Launcher off the XBLM. You can find the this little doodad by going to New Releases > Game Content > XNA Creators Club. Once that 7MB file downloads, make your way to your XNA Game Launcher by heading to your Games blade > Games Library > My Games > XNA Creators Club. Here you'll be able to press "Y" and download all seven XNA trial games for free. Once you find a game and download it, you'll then be able to launch your demo from the same location. That's it, all done. And to get you started, we've posted a description of all seven downloadable XNA game demos after the break. Find something that appeals to you and give 'er a download. Oh, and have some fun too.
With the announcement of the Xbox Live Community Games feature coming to Xbox Live, one of our eagle-eyed X3F soldiers spotted an interesting tidbit while scrolling through the preview content on XBLM. TriLinea, one of the XNA preview games available to download clocks in at 190MB, 40MB larger than the allowed file size for Xbox Live Arcade titles. While this doesn't prove the size restriction will change, remember Microsoft selected specific titles to preview for this event and over Xbox Live. Size restrictions are already becoming an issue so if the limit is to be raised we think the best time to do it is before the XNA titles flood in at full swing.