Distributing Your Finished Game

Presents information about how to share your game with any Windows user, even if the user doesn't have XNA Game Studio Express installed. This type of sharing is referred to as independent publishing.

Quick Information

PlatformSource Code VisibleFormatWindows User Requirements
WindowsNo.zip or other compressed format
  • Must be running at least Windows XP Service Pack 2.
  • Must have a video card that supports at least Shader Model 1.1.

If you would like to share your XNA Game Studio Express game with other Windows users, but do not want to share your source code and assets, you can create an installable package that contains your game binaries and the necessary redistributable files.

Sharing to Another Windows User

You may package XNA Game Studio Express game projects only for the Windows platform. Use this method for distributing your compiled game code and asset files.

To compile your game binaries for distribution

  1. In XNA Game Studio Express, open the project you want to package.
  2. From the Build menu, click Build Solution.

    This creates the necessary files needed to run your game on other computers.

  3. Package all files located in the appropriate output directory of your project, using an installation package tool of your choice.

Notes for Independent Publishing

In addition to the requirements listed in the previous table, there are additional software prerequisites that must be installed on a player's machine if the computer does not have XNA Game Studio Express installed. If these files are not installed and the player's machine does not have XNA Game Studio Express installed, your game will not run.

You are responsible for installation of the following software packages on the player's machine.

  • The .NET Framework 2.0 Redistributable.
  • The XNA Framework Redistributable corresponding to the version your game was built against.

    You can find this version number by loading your project in XNA Game Studio Express and clicking the project node in Solution Explorer. The XNA Framework Version property is visible in the Property pane.
  • The following files from the DirectX 9.0c Redistributable.

    • dsetup.dll
    • dsetup32.dll
    • dxsetup.exe
    • dxupdate.cab
    • OCT2006_d3dx9_31_x86.cab
    • OCT2006_XACT_x86.cab
    • OCT2006_xinput_x86.cab

    The total size of these files is around 4 MB.