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Zune Game Development with XNA Game Studio 3.0

by Abel Avram on Feb 21, 2008 |

Microsoft has announced the upcoming XNA Game Studio 3.0 which will support developing games for the entire family of Zune media devices. XNA will bridge the PC, Xbox and Zune platforms to the extent that a game written for one of the platforms will run on all of them.

Game developers will be able to target the Zune mobile devices by accessing the majority of XNA framework API. There are of course some limitations since Zune devices have a small screen and are designed to be controlled with one hand. Also, a game is limited to 16 MB of memory available both for code and content. Multiple Zune devices can be engaged in networking play, but cannot be internetworked with PC or Xbox platforms for a game. Zune devices can be used to browse networks in order to discover and access user’s music as part of the media experience they already offer.

Anybody will be able to create a XNA game using Game Studio 3.0 and deploy it to the Zune without needing a license from the XNA Creators Club. XNA Game Studio 3.0 will work only with Visual Studio 2008, including the Express Edition. In order to play a game on a Zune device, the game must be first deployed from the PC to the Zune. If the game has a multiplayer feature, and the wireless networking is turned on, then the game can be played wirelessly with other Zune devices. They cannot be connected to Xbox Live since all networking takes place over ad-hoc Wi-Fi networks.

A preview of XNA Game Studio 3.0 will be made available during this year’s spring, while the final release is scheduled for the summer. The supported Zune devices will be: Zune 4/8, Zune 30, and Zune 80.

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the sound of tumble weeds.... by Michael Neale

PC and Xbox, yes, but Zune? Surely no one would target a game at the zune, for a subset of a market that is a subset of a subset of a market, and on a platform Microsoft will most likely let fade away.

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