I'm impressed by the diversity and quality of the nascent indie games featured in this XNA Video Montage, which was released on Major Nelson's blog in a format which is optimized for the Zune.*
XNA Game Studio is a set of tools based on Visual C# Express 2005 that allow students and hobbyists to build games that target both Windows and the Xbox 360, using C#.
XNA Game Studio is currently in Beta 2, which targets Windows game development. However, the final version will also target the XBox 360!
The most important addition in Beta 2 is the inclusion of the Content Pipeline, a feature set that makes it simpler and more straightforward for game developers to use 2D and 3D content in their game projects. This content can originate in third party digital content creation packages like Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya and SOFTIMAGE|XSI.
Other new features in Beta 2 include:
- New content importers for .X and Autodesk FBX 3D asset format in partnership with Autodesk.
- Xbox 360 project system gives game developers the ability to preview game design specifically for the Xbox 360 and pre-compile games starting today, giving developers a head start in preparing their games for the XNA Creators Club availability in December.
- Improved game component architecture updated with a simpler design, adding increased usability based on community feedback.
- Overall performance improvements and optimizations - XNA Game Studio Express Beta 2 is a near final version of the tool.
I linked to a slew of XNA resources a while back. With the inclusion of the content pipeline, now developers can really get coding and making impressive games like those in the video.
And I still love the fact that Microsoft is opening up the XBox 360 platform to anyone who wants to write their own applications for it!
* The Zune, Microsoft's portable media player, is coming to North America next week. I haven't heard of any European dates yet.