Microsoft announced the start of this years Dream-Build-Play competition and part of the press release was that XNA development tools are to get an update to enable Avatars to be included in Community Games.
Kicking off the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft today announced the third annual Dream-Build-Play global game development competition that encourages aspiring and hobbyist developers to create new and innovative games for Xbox 360.
Beginning Monday, April 6 developers from all over the world will have an opportunity to submit their unique game creations to the Dream-Build-Play 2009 competition for a chance to win a cash prize and an opportunity to sign an Xbox LIVE Arcade publishing contract. Winners will be announced this fall. Last year, more than 10,000 members of the community enrolled in Dream-Build-Play, yielding more than 350 completed games from all over the world developed using Microsoft’s free XNA Game Studio tools.
Several of last year’s winners, including Team GAMBIT for “CarneyVale: Showtime” and Mommy’s Best Games for “Weapon of Choice,” collectively took home more than $70,000 in prizes and have since become top sellers on the Xbox LIVE Community Games Channel. Winners from 2007, “The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai,” “Blazing Birds” and “YoHo Kablammo!” from the United States, Canada and UK respectively, are all slated for release on Xbox LIVE Arcade in the coming months.
Microsoft also announced new updates to its free XNA Game Studio development tools, available to professional and hobbyist developers this spring, which will allow developers at any level to take advantage of new partner additions and Xbox LIVE features. Both Xbox LIVE Arcade and Community Games developers will be able to include customized Avatars, which have quickly become one of the most popular features on Xbox LIVE, and LIVE Party functionality, which makes playing games a social experience by letting gamers seamlessly play and chat with their friends online. Professional Xbox LIVE Arcade developers will be able to release game add-ons like episodic content.
“The level of innovation and the number of submissions we receive each year to Dream-Build-Play has increased exponentially because the development community is becoming increasingly familiar with the XNA Game Studio,” XNA General Manager Boyd Multerer said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what developers are able to create with the latest LIVE features and updated tools at their disposal.”
The XNA Game Studio update, which will also include improvements like video playback and new audio APIs, means that more games featuring Avatars and LIVE Party could start appearing on Xbox LIVE as early as this fall.
Additionally, Microsoft reinforced its commitment to professional developers with the preview of new Xbox 360 Development and Test Kit hardware. This hardware includes additional debugging memory that allows developers to more efficiently produce games, push the console to its maximum capabilities, and ensure the best titles continue to be created for Xbox 360.