What's New in This Release
Windows Vista Compatibility
XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 Refresh installs and runs without compatibility issues on the Windows Vista operating system. All varieties of Windows Vista are supported. And of course, XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 Refresh continues to support Windows XP Service Pack 2 as well. See the Supported Operating Systems topic for more information.
With XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 Refresh, developers can share their games more easily. This release adds functionality that packages the binaries for an XNA Framework game. The game package file can then be shared with other users of XNA Game Studio Express. A user who receives the game package can simply double-click on it to deploy and run the game. In order to run games on the Xbox 360, the user will need a membership in the XNA Creators Club. See Sharing and Distributing Your Game for more information about the new game-sharing feature.
XNA Creator Club Community Site
The XNA Creators Club community web site is up and running. This site is the hub for all things related to XNA. Here you'll find new samples and starter kits, tutorials and white papers, and forums to share your ideas and find answers for developing with XNA Game Studio Express and the XNA Framework. The XNA Creators Club site is available from within XNA Game Studio Express by selecting a dedicated menu item from the Community menu.
Integration with Visual C# 2005 Express Edition and the Xbox 360 Console
- Incremental deployment of Xbox 360 games to the Xbox 360 console has been improved.
- It is now possible to cleanly cancel a build in progress, saving you time during your development process. You can cancel a build that is building game code or content.
- XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 Refresh adds functionality that makes it easier to test and troubleshoot connectivity issues between your Windows computer and your Xbox 360 console.
- You can now associate a game thumbnail with your game. This image will appear when you unpack an XNA Creators Club Game Package and, for Xbox 360 games, this game thumbnail will also appear in XNA Game Launcher.
- Bitmap-based fonts are supported.
- XACT 3D Audio is supported.
- The math library has been enriched with over 65 new methods based on customer feedback.
- The GamePad.GetCapabilities method enables full support for checking the gamepad's capabilities.
- Per-pixel lighting is now available and used as the default lighting method for BasicEffect. If your hardware doesn't support per-pixel lighting, BasicEffect falls back to per-vertex lighting.
- The SpriteBatch.Begin method now has an overload that takes a Matrix parameter for drawing sprites using world coordinates.
- This release improves how shader constants are set and retrieved, making it more consistent.
- The Content Pipeline Graphics DOM now supports the Texture3DContent class. Also added are the ContentTypeWriter and ContentTypeReader classes to read and write Texture3DContent to .xnb format. These additions are not breaking changes, except that .xnb files containing volume textures would obviously not be readable by the XNA Framework 1.0.
- XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 Refresh enhances the Clean Solution feature of Visual C# 2005 Express Edition so that it now deletes content files in addition to other build output files. Also, Clean Solution forces the next deployment to the Xbox 360 console to be nonincremental, ensuring that the console has only the files that were deployed.
- The performance of content builds has been significantly improved. Also, you can now cancel content builds.
- It is now possible to read data from vertex buffers and index buffers that were created by using the Content Pipeline. The usage flags now leave out the WriteOnly semantic.
- This release adds functionality to determine which root directory the Content Pipeline is reading from.
- For advanced users, this release offers improved extensibility in the Content Pipeline.
New and Enhanced Educational Topics
The table of contents has been reorganized to make topics more discoverable. This release also includes new documentation for high-level shader language (HLSL) including Xbox 360 microcode and attributes references. You'll also find many new How-To topics, which are listed below.