Connecting to your Zune Device with XNA Game Studio

Describes the steps necessary to connect and deploy a game to your Zune device using XNA Game Studio Connect.

XNA Game Studio allows you to easily create games for your Zune device, Windows-based computer, and Xbox 360 console. Follow this guide to develop games for the Zune platform topic.

This guide assumes you have already installed a supported version of Visual Studio and XNA Game Studio. You must install these products before you connect to a Zune device. For information about installing these products, see Setup and System Requirements.

Step 1: Update Your Zune Device Firmware

XNA Game Studio is supported on Zune devices running firmware version 3.0 or later. If your device does not already have firmware version 3.0 or later, you'll need to update your Zune firmware to the most current version.

To determine Zune device firmware version

  • On the Zune device, select settings | about | zune.

The firmware version will be displayed.

If you have a version older than 3.0, you'll need to update your Zune.

To update your Zune device

  1. Make sure you have the current version of the Zune software installed on your desktop computer.

    • If you are a new Zune customer, visit and install the Zune software for your computer.
    • If you already have the Zune software installed on your computer, check for updates. From the Zune software, click Settings | GENERAL | CHECK FOR UPDATES.
  2. Use the Zune sync cable to connect the Zune device to your computer. Connect the sync cable to a USB port on the computer, not a USB hub.

    If the Zune device battery is critically low, we recommend that you charge your Zune device before you continue. For more information about how to charge your Zune device, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: How to charge the battery in your Zune device.
  3. Open the Zune software on your desktop computer while the Zune device is still connected to your computer.

    The Zune software searches the Internet for the latest version of the firmware. If a newer version of the Zune device firmware is available, you will get a notice to update your device.

    Do not move or disconnect the Zune device until the update is complete. The update may take several minutes. During this time, the Zune device may restart several times. Please be patient.

    You can also manually check for new device updates, if desired. To do so: from the Zune software on your desktop computer, click Settings | device | DEVICE UPDATE.

For more information about updating your Zune device, or to troubleshoot issues with updating, please see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: How to update your Zune device.

After you update your Zune firmware to version 3.0 or later, you won't need to perform this step again.

Step 2: Add Your Zune in the XNA Game Studio Device Center

Once you add your Zune to the XNA Game Studio Device Center, XNA Game Studio will be able to connect to your Zune so that you can deploy and debug games.

To add your Zune to the XNA Game Studio Device Center

  1. Use the Zune sync cable to connect the Zune device to your computer.
  2. Start the device center by clicking Start, All Programs, Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.1, and then click XNA Game Studio Device Center.
  3. Click Add Device, and then click Zune.

    The device center will display a list of connected Zune devices.

  4. In the list of connected Zunes, click the one that you want to add.
  5. Click Next.

    The Zune you selected will be added to the list of devices in the device center.

  6. Close the XNA Game Studio Device Center.

If you are having trouble connecting to your Zune device, or the device is not showing up in the device center, close the Zune client desktop software (if it is running).

You can also configure the Zune desktop software so it won't launch automatically when a Zune device is connected. This setting is located under settings | device | SYNC OPTIONS.

Step 3: Create and Deploy a Zune Project

Now you can try out Zune development by deploying a simple, blank XNA Game Studio game.

To deploy a simple, blank XNA Game Studio game

  1. On your Windows-based computer, at the main Visual Studio screen, click File | New Project (or File | New | Project, depending on your Visual Studio configuration).
  2. From Project types, expand Visual C# and click XNA Game Studio 3.1.
  3. In Visual Studio installed templates, click Zune Game (3.1), and then click OK.
  4. On your Windows-based computer, with your new project open, press the F5 key.

    The project will build. It launches XNA Game Studio Connect on the Zune device, deploys the project and other necessary files to the Zune, and then launches the game.

    At this point, you should see a simple display on your Zune: a light blue screen. If you see this screen, you have successfully deployed a game to your Zune. You can now deploy and play any game you dream and build.

  5. To stop the game and return to the main screen of XNA Game Studio Connect, either:

    • Press the BACK button on your Zune.


    • Stop debugging by pressing SHIFT+F5 on your computer.

    When an XNA Framework game exits on the Zune, the Zune device reboots. This behavior is by design—it ensures that game and run-time resources are completely cleaned up after a game exits.
    Holding down the Back button for 2 seconds forces the currently executing game to exit, regardless of the game's normal exit semantics.

What's Next?

You have successfully deployed your first Zune game. This game, like the other games you deploy to your Zune, will appear under games on your Zune device. Using the games menu, you can play or delete the games you have deployed to your Zune.

A good next step would be to try the 2D tutorial Your First Game: Microsoft XNA Game Studio in 2D. The code in the 2D tutorial works on Zune, Windows-based computers, and on the Xbox 360 console, so you can try any or all of the platforms to get a feel for developing on each.

For an overview of Zune-specific features and programming concepts, see Zune Programming Considerations.

See the Supported Platforms section on individual reference pages to check for Zune support. If Zune is not on the supported platforms list, the API is not supported. If listed, there is support for the API.

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