Not everybody loves (or even likes) video games, but imagine how much more interesting they would be if you could create your own! Fortunately, Microsoft's XNA Game Studio Express software will "let college students, hobbyists, and others create their own games for the Xbox 360 console, for a Windows PC, or both." Check out the news story: "Play your own Xbox game."
According to the article, "In the first incarnation, games developed using the free tools will be available only to like-minded hobbyists, not the Xbox community as a whole. Those who want to develop games will have to pay a $99 fee to be part of a "Creators' Club," a name that is likely to change. Games developed using XNA Game Studio Express will be playable only by others who are part of the club."
"Next spring, Microsoft hopes to have a broader set of tools that will allow for games to be created that can then be sold online through Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade. Microsoft will still control which games get published, and it'll get a cut of the revenue. Down the road, probably three to five years from now, Microsoft hopes to have an open approach, where anyone can publish games, and community response helps separate the hits from the flops." (Hmmmm.... doesn't Digg already have a Gaming tab?)
I definitely agree that XNA Game Studio Express will increase some peoples' interest in game development. "While people have long been able to create their own PC software, console game titles have historically been created by a far more limited set of developers."
Do you have an idea for a video game? One idea that I have revolves around the workplace - "The Cube Zone." In this game, you can choose where you and all of your coworkers sit, decorate cubes, decide who gets the limited executive office space, reorganize teams, and then have the teams compete against each other for merit increases, group outings, and free lunches. I think if you could personalize the characters and recreate your work environment, this game could actually be a lot of fun. Who wouldn't want to get in there and mix things up a little?
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.