In a move that opens videogame development to the open source model, Microsoft began offering a free set of game-development tools called XNA Game Studio Express as of yesterday:
See a press note from Gamasutra that also notes a full-featured version will be out in Spring, 2007, aiming for professional game creators.
Also, note a report from Dev-X.com warning readers that there are severe restrictions on the use that essentially mean the created games won't be share-able with others in XBox format. But you can deploy them on Windows platforms. .Link here. I wonder if I can use these tools? How much chops needed?
XNA Game Studio Express Opens Up Game Creation to the World
By providing an integrated, seamless development environment based on Visual Studio® Express and .NET that simplifies the integration and use of game content, XNA Game Studio Express makes game development easier to accomplish for smaller projects, strongly increasing the chance for great game ideas to make it out of the concept stage and into the hands of gamers everywhere.
The XNA Game Studio Express beta will be available Aug. 30, 2006, as a free download on Windows XP, for development on the Windows XP platform. XNA Game Studio Express will give anyone with a Windows XP-based PC access to a unified development tool that liberates the creation of great Xbox 360 and Windows XP-compatible games, providing a new alternative to the existing multithousand-dollar development kits that many console games require. The final version of XNA Game Studio Express will be available this holiday season.
(from the press announcement link in the title above). Link here for the download of the beta version now available. The terrific image of Rodin's The Thinker with a lightbulb and computer is appallingly enough, from www.ideacenter.org/.../misc/thinker_idea.gif, which is a website about Intelligent Design and Evolution.