XNA Game Studio is a set of tools developed by Microsoft for making games for Windows and the XBox 360. XNA simplifies many aspects of game development, producing a managed framework, handling things like the game loop and the content pipeline.
XNA Game Studio 3 can be downloaded from the XNA Creators Club
I’ve been using it for about a year now and I really like it. My first project with XNA was for a games design paper that I did at Manukau Institute of Technology. The idea was to make a 2D role-playing game, where a player could control a character and go around and do quests and kill bad guys.
The levels are made up of tiles, each tile being a square of grass, a building, a tree etc. Tiles are drawn in layers, grass is drawn first, then things like trees and roads are drawn on top of the grass.
The levels where defines in a XML file, and I made a level editor in the game where the user could make their own levels and save to to an XML file and then play them.
I’ve put this on hold for the moment, I have lots of ideas for it and would like to see it completed one day.
Another game i’ve been working on is a 3D tank game, XNA is really good for developing 3D games, and also allows me to write shaders which allows more control over the graphics and rendering.
Here the player takes control of a tank in a 3d digital world, and has to find and destroy the enemy takes. Still in its early stages but it’s being going well so far.