IDE Differences Between Xbox 360 and Windows Development

This section describes the various differences in the appearance and behavior of the integrated development environment (IDE) of XNA Game Studio Express when developing for the Xbox 360.

Assembly Information Dialog Box

Use this dialog box to change the assembly information for the current Xbox 360 project. This information includes the game title, brief description, company name, copyright, and trademark. Some of this information is displayed in the My Games area of XNA Game Launcher.

The Assembly Information dialog box can be opened from the Application page in the Project Designer. Open the Project Designer by double-clicking the Properties folder under the project node in Solution Explorer or by selecting [project name] Properties from the Project menu. Then click Assembly Information on the Application page.

When used for an Xbox 360 project, the functionality of this dialog box differs in two aspects relative to Windows-based projects: The File Version field and the Make Assembly COM-Visible check box are not available due to differences in the handling of assemblies on the Xbox 360 console.

The assembly information specified here only affects the values seen in My Games if the project is a game project. Assembly information of library projects is not used when deploying or displaying information about a game.

Displayed in the My Games area of XNA Game Launcher. Specifies a title for the assembly manifest. XNA Game Launcher displays only the first 25 characters of this field. This field is required to deploy a game to an Xbox 360 console.
Displayed in the My Games area of XNA Game Launcher. Specifies an optional description for the assembly manifest. XNA Game Launcher displays only the first 300 characters of this field.
Specifies a company name for the assembly manifest.
Specifies a product name for the assembly manifest.
Specifies a copyright notice for the assembly manifest.
Specifies a trademark for the assembly manifest.
Assembly Version
Specifies the version of the assembly.
File Version
This field is not available to Xbox 360 projects due to differences in the handling of assemblies on the Xbox 360 console. Specifies a version number that instructs the compiler to use a specific version for the Win32 file version resource.
A unique GUID that identifies the assembly. When you create a project, Visual Studio generates a GUID for the assembly.
Neutral Language
Specifies which culture the assembly supports.
Make Assembly COM-Visible
This field is not available to Xbox 360 projects due to differences in the handling of assemblies on the Xbox 360 console. Specifies whether types within the assembly will be accessible to COM.

Options Dialog Box

An additional page for maintaining a list of one or more Xbox 360 consoles available for deployment is available in the Options dialog box. For more information, see XNA Game Studio Express Xbox 360 Options Page.

The Options dialog box is located in the Tools menu.

Add Reference Dialog Box

Use this dialog box to add component references needed by your Xbox 360 project. Because the Xbox 360 platform does not have the same feature set as the Windows platform, the COM tab is hidden and the .NET tab contains only Xbox 360–specific assemblies. These assemblies include:

  • Microsoft.Xna.Framework
  • Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Game
  • mscorlib
  • system
  • system.xml

These assemblies, with the exception of system.xml, are automatically added to an Xbox 360 project.

You can open the Add References dialog box by right-clicking the References item in Solution Explorer and then clicking Add Reference.

The Projects tab lists all projects in the solution, regardless of platform. The assemblies in the Browse and Recent tabs may also include references to assemblies that are not for the Xbox 360 platform. Referencing assemblies that target platforms other than Xbox 360 is not supported for Xbox 360 projects.

Add New Item and Add Existing Item Dialog Boxes

You can open the Add New Item or Add Existing Item dialog boxes from the Solution Explorer shortcut menu or from the Project menu. Use this dialog box to add new or existing Xbox 360 supported items. This list contains the following items.

  • C# Class
  • C# Interface
  • C# Code File
  • XML File
  • Text File
  • Assembly Information File
  • Resources file

    String resources are the only resource type supported by Xbox 360 projects. Adding other resource types such as bitmaps or icons to a resource file may result in compilation errors.
  • Game Component

When you add a new class or interface to an Xbox 360 project, you will notice that the C# Class and C# Interface file templates for Xbox 360 projects differ from the default templates for Windows projects: As a convenience, using statements have been added at the top of the Xbox 360 templates to include references to XNA Framework namespaces (in other words, to Microsoft.Xna.Framework, Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Audio, Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Graphics, Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Input, Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Storage, and Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Content). Including a using statement and namespace identifier lets you refer in code below to any names in that namespace without having to preface each name with the namespace identifier. For this reason, you will generally want to copy one or more of the XNA namespace using statements into any new class or interface that you add to a Windows XNA project, since the standard Windows C# Class and C# Interface templates do not include them.

The Assembly Information File template for Xbox 360 projects excludes the AssemblyFileVersion attribute, which is not supported on the Xbox 360 platform.

Project Context Menu

Use the project context menu to perform common project-related tasks, such as building, deploying or viewing the project properties. The following menu items are not available when developing Xbox 360 projects.

  • The Publish menu item.
  • The Add Web Reference menu item.
  • The Add Windows Form menu item.
  • The Add User Control menu item.

This menu can be opened by right-clicking the project item within Solution Explorer or clicking Project.

Build Menu

The Publish item is hidden. You should use the Deploy item instead. For more information on deployment, see Deploying an Xbox 360 Game.

Data Menu

The Data menu is hidden because data sources and data source management are not supported on the Xbox 360 platform.

Project Properties

Project properties are grouped into pages in the Project Designer. You can access the Project Designer in the Project menu by clicking Properties, or by double-clicking the Properties item in Solution Explorer. The Project Designer property pages are located in the same middle pane used by the code editor.

  • The Debug page has been modified for Xbox 360 projects. The Working Directory and Enable the Visual Studio hosting process controls have been disabled. Please note that the ... button, associated with the Working Directory option, is still enabled. However, any input entered with this control is still ignored by the project and XNA Game Studio Express.
  • The Settings project property page allows you to add a settings file to your Xbox 360 project. However, inote that the settings file is not supported for Xbox 360 projects.
  • The Security and Publishing pages are hidden.
  • For more information about the Content Pipeline page, see Content Pipeline Page, Project Designer.