In some fields, achieving – or even attempting – mastery is very difficult. Developing video games for today’s consoles and PCs falls into that category. Part of it is the creativity, the ability to come up with a novel idea or game play system that will attract players. And part of it is the technology. Modern game development is nothing if not a technical skill, requiring an understanding of hardware, processors, memory utilization, graphics, and some significant math skills, not to mention some understanding of programming and software development.
Even if you have the ability and drive to master these things, though, game development has been out of reach for most people because of the high cost of the tools needed to pull it all together. Until now, that is. Microsoft announced this past weekend that they are releasing the XNA Game Studio Express to help overcome the cost obstacle.
In the 30 years of video game development, the art of making console games has been reserved for those with big projects, big budgets and the backing of big game labels. Now Microsoft Corp. is bringing this art to the masses with a revolutionary new set of tools, called XNA Game Studio Express, based on the XNA™ platform. XNA Game Studio Express will democratize game development by delivering the necessary tools to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike to help them bring their creative game ideas to life while nurturing game development talent, collaboration and sharing that will benefit the entire industry.
In his book The Children’s Machine, author Seymour Papert wrote, “If you play a computer game, you should be able to write a computer game.” As I’ve mentioned before, the tool itself can not make a master. But I think this tool is a good start for helping those who want to write their own games get off on the right foot. I wonder if the other consoles will offer something similar?
(Thanks to Randy Holloway for the heads up.)