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MS announces revamped Xbox 360 coding kit

XNA 2.0 to merge pro, amateur SDKs

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Microsoft will offer the next major version of its XNA Game Studio pro- and amateur-oriented Xbox 360 game creation tool for download later this year, the software giant has said.

The PC-hosted software development kit, to be re-released as version 2.0, will sport a new user interface that Microsoft said would make transferring and testing games on its console easier than before. Assembling game code and content should be more straightforward too, it added.

Games created in XNA Game Studio 2.0 will be built using the XNA Framework game development API, a new version of which will also be made available alongside the software tool. XNA Framework 2.0's key new feature is the addition of multi-player gaming via Xbox Live, but it also incorporates improvements to make graphics easier to do. It will make it possible to embed games in a Windows Form.

The new kit will now work with all versions of Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005, from the the most basic upwards. Originally released as the amateur-aimed XNA Game Studio Express and the pro-centric XNA Game Studio, the two strands will be merged into XNA Game Studio 2.0 as one tool for all.

Microsoft promised more details when it releases XNA Game Studio 2.0 "late 2007", around a year after the release of XNA Game Studio Express.

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