Microsoft XNA (a recursive acronym for XNA's not acronymed) is a freeware set of tools with a managed runtime environment provided by Microsoft that facilitates video game development and management. XNA is based on the .NET Framework, with versions that run on Windows NT, Windows Phone and the Xbox 360. XNA content is built with the XNA Game Studio, and played using the XNA Framework (for Windows games), or published as native executables (for Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Zune).
|Target platform(s)||Xbox 360, Windows, Windows Phone|
|Editor software||XNA Game Studio|
|Player software||XNA Runtime|
|Programming language(s)||C# and Visual Basic .NET (officially)|
|Application(s)||Video games, Console games, Mobile games|
In many respects, XNA can be thought of as a .NET analog to Microsoft's better known game development system, DirectX, but it is aimed at developers primarily interested in writing lightweight games that run on a variety of Microsoft platforms. XNA is the basic platform for Xbox Live Indie Games.
The XNA toolset was announced March 24, 2004, at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California. A first Community Technology Preview of XNA Build was released on March 14, 2006. XNA Game Studio 2.0 was released in December 2007, followed by XNA Game Studio 3.0 on October 30, 2008. XNA Game Studio 4.0 was released on September 16, 2010 along with the Windows Phone Development Tools. According to an email sent on 31 January 2013, XNA is no longer being developed, and it is not supported under the new "Metro interface" layers of Windows 8 nor on the Windows RT platform.
An open source cross platform version of the Microsoft XNA 4 Application programming interface called MonoGame is being developed, and a crossplatform reimplementation of the XNA API called FNA exists as well.
Microsoft XNA Framework is based on the native implementation of .NET Compact Framework 2.0 for Xbox 360 development and .NET Framework 2.0 on Windows. It includes an extensive set of class libraries, specific to game development, to promote maximum code reuse across target platforms. The framework runs on a version of the Common Language Runtime that is optimized for gaming to provide a managed execution environment. The runtime is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Phone and Xbox 360. Since XNA games are written for the runtime, they can run on any platform that supports the XNA Framework with minimal or no modification. Games that run on the framework can technically be written in any .NET-compliant language, but only C# in XNA Game Studio Express IDE and all versions of Visual Studio 2008 and 2010 (as of XNA 4.0) are officially supported. Support for Visual Basic .NET was added in 2011.
The XNA Framework encapsulates low-level technological details involved in coding a game, making sure that the framework itself takes care of the difference between platforms when games are ported from one compatible platform to another, and thereby allowing game developers to focus more on the content and gaming experience. The XNA Framework integrates with a number of tools, such as the Cross-platform Audio Creation Tool (XACT), to aid in content creation. The XNA Framework provides support for both 2D and 3D game creation and allows use of the Xbox 360 controllers and vibrations. XNA framework games that target the Xbox 360 platform could only be distributed by members of the Microsoft XNA Creator's Club/App Hub, which carried a $99/year subscription fee. Desktop applications can be distributed free of charge under Microsoft's current licensing.
XNA Build is a set of game asset pipeline management tools, which help by defining, maintaining, debugging, and optimizing the game asset pipeline of individual game development efforts. A game asset pipeline describes the process by which game content, such as textures and 3D models, are modified to a form suitable for use by the gaming engine. XNA Build helps identify the pipeline dependencies, and also provides API access to enable further processing of the dependency data. The dependency data can be analyzed to help reduce the size of a game by finding content that is not actually used. For example, XNA Build analysis revealed that 40% of the textures that shipped with MechCommander 2 were unused and could have been omitted.
XNA Game Studio
XNA Game Studio is a programming environment for development of games. Five revisions have been released so far, but as of 2015, no new versions will be developed.
XNA Game Studio Express was the first version released on August 30, 2006, and was intended for students, hobbyists, and independent (and homebrew) game developers. It was available as a free download. Express provides basic "starter kits" for rapid development of specific genres of games, such as platform games, real-time strategy, and first-person shooters. Developers could create Windows games for free with the XNA Framework, but to run their games on the Xbox 360 they will have to pay an annual fee of US$99 (or a four-month fee of US$49) for admission to the Microsoft XNA Creator's Club. With an update, XNA developers could compile Xbox 360 binaries and share them with other Microsoft XNA Creator's Club members.
XNA Game Studio 2.0 was released on December 13, 2007. XNA Game Studio 2.0 features the ability to be used with all versions of Visual Studio 2005 (including the free Visual C# 2005 Express Edition), a networking API using Xbox Live on both Windows and Xbox 360 and better device handling.
XNA Game Studio 3.0 (for Visual Studio 2008 or the free Visual C# 2008 Express Edition) allows production of games targeting the Zune platform and adds Xbox Live community support. It was released on October 30, 2008, and supported C# 3.0, LINQ and most versions of Visual Studio 2008.
XNA Game Studio 4.0 was released on September 16, 2010. It added support for the Windows Phone platform (including 3D hardware acceleration), framework hardware profiles, configurable effects, built-in state objects, graphics device scalars and orientation, cross-platform and multi-touch input, microphone input and buffered audio playback, and Visual Studio 2010 integration.
XNA "Game Studio 4.0 Refresh" was released on 6 October 2011, and added support for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), and Visual Basic.
XNA Framework Content Pipeline
Formerly known as XNA Game Studio Professional, XDK Extensions is an add-on to XNA Game Studio and requires the Microsoft Xbox 360 Development Kit. Both are only available for licensed Xbox developers. The extensions include additional managed APIs for achievements, leaderboards, and other features reserved for licensed game titles. Titles developed using XDK Extensions include winners of Microsoft's Dream.Build.Play competition among others. The most heavily publicized of these was The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai.
The Microsoft XNA Framework 2.0 EULA specifically prohibits the distribution of commercial networked games that connect to Xbox Live and/or Games for Windows Live in the absence of a specific agreement signed by both the developer and Microsoft. This means that XNA Game Studio can still be used to develop commercial games and other programs for the Windows platform, although Microsoft's networking support code for Xbox/Windows Live cannot be used. Self-developed network code can still be used inside the developer's XNA project.
Games created using XNA Game Studio may be distributed via the Windows Phone marketplace, and formerly via Xbox Live Indie Games. The software may also be used to create commercial games which target Windows.
Dream Build Play
Dream Build Play was an annual and global $75,000 Microsoft contest promoting Microsoft XNA and eventually Xbox Live Indie Games, although it predated it. The contest was first announced in 2006 and first opened in January 2007. Many winners are notable developers in the Indie Game community.
Xbox Live Indie Games
Xbox 360 games written in XNA Game Studio could be submitted to the App Hub, for which premium membership was required (about US$99/year). All games submitted to the App Hub were subjected to peer review by other creators. If the game passed review then it Would be listed on Xbox Live Marketplace. Creators could set a price of 80, 240 or 400 points for their game. The creator is paid 70% of the total revenue from their game sales as a baseline. Microsoft originally planned to take an additional percentage of revenue if they provided additional marketing for a game, but this policy was rescinded in March 2009, leaving the flat rate intact regardless of promotion.
Microsoft also distributed a free year premium App Hub subscription for educational establishments through their DreamSpark program and MSDNAA. These accounts allowed students to develop games for the Xbox 360, but developers still needed a premium Xbox Live account to submit their game to the marketplace.
A project called Mono.XNA was formed to port XNA to the open source and cross-platform Mono framework.
From the codebase of Mono.XNA and SilverSprite, a new project called MonoGame was formed to port XNA to several mobile devices. As of version 3.0.1 (released March 3, 2013), support is stable for iOS, Android including OUYA, macOS, Linux and Metro for Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8, as well as PlayStation Mobile in 2D. PlayStation Mobile 3D and Raspberry Pi development are currently in progress.
FNA, from game porter Ethan Lee is a full-featured open source reimplementation of XNA forked from MonoGame. It's used in many games, some of which can be seen here. The goal of FNA is to preserve the XNA game library by reimplementing XNA itself.
An open source project called Grommet contains a limited port for embedded devices using the .NET Micro Framework.
A project called ANX is available which implements its own version of XNA using the SharpDX stack, support for Linux, macOS and the PlayStation Vita is in progress as well. Using ANX, developers are able to write games using code that is very similar to XNA, while still being considered a Metro application in Windows 8.
Partial list of games and companies that use XNA
|Akane the Kunoichi||2011||Windows, Xbox 360, Windows Phone, iOS||Haruneko||Haruneko|
|Aliens vs. Romans||2013||Xbox 360||Sick Kreations||Sick Kreations|
|Amazing Princess Sarah||2014||Windows, Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Xbox One||Haruneko||Haruneko|
|ApocZ||2014||Xbox 360||Sick Kreations||Sick Kreations|
|Apotheon||2015||Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4||Alientrap||Alientrap|
|Arelite Core||2017||Windows||Dragon Slumber||Dragon Slumber|
|A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda||2010||Windows, Xbox 360, OnLive||Extend Studio||Origo Games|
|At the Gates||2019||Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS||Conifer Games||Conifer Games|
|Axiom Verge||2015||Windows, macOS, Linux||Thomas Happ Games LLC||Thomas Happ Games LLC|
|Bastion||2011||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360, Chrome, iOS||Supergiant Games||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Battle High||2011||Windows, Xbox 360||Mattrified Games||Mattrified Games|
|Biocide||2012||Windows Phone||Tony Sakariya||Tony Sakariya|
|Blazing Birds||2009||Xbox 360||Vector 2 Games||Microsoft Studios|
|Bleed||2012||Windows, macOS, Xbox 360||Bootdisk Revolution||Bootdisk Revolution|
|Bleed 2||2017||Windows, OS, X, Linux||Bootdisk Revolution||Boodisk Revolution|
|Blockhead||2011||Windows, Xbox 360, Windows Phone||Nightmare Games||Nightmare Games|
|Bloodline Champions||2011||Windows||Stunlock Studios||Funcom|
|Blueberry Garden||2009||Windows||Erik Svedäng||Erik Svedäng|
|Breath of Death VII||2009||Windows, Xbox 360||Zeboyd Games||Zeboyd Games|
|BulletAsylum||2012||Windows Phone||UberGeekGames||Microsoft Studios|
|Bureau: Agent Kendall||2011||Xbox 360||Twist-edGames||Twist-edGames|
|Capsized||2011||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360||Alientrap||Alientrap|
|Celeste||2018||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, PS4||Matt Makes Games Inc.||Matt Makes Games Inc.|
|Charlie Murder||2013||Xbox 360||Ska Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|Chime||2010||Windows, Xbox 360||Zoe Mode||Valcon Games|
|Cloud Blaster||2012||Windows Phone||Husky Paw Games||Husky Paw Games|
|Colosseum||2009||Xbox 360||Shortfuse Games||Shortfuse Games|
|Comet Chaos||2013||Windows 8, Windows Phone 8||Beard Bandit Games||Beard Bandit Games|
|Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst||2010||Windows Phone||Seed||Microsoft Studios|
|Cthulhu Saves the World||2010||Windows, Xbox 360||Zeboyd Games||Zeboyd Games|
|Dead Pixels||2011||Windows, Xbox 360||CSR-Studios||CSR-Studios|
|Decimation X3||2010||Xbox 360||Xona Games||Reverb Communications|
|Dinora||2013||Xbox 360||Neuron Vexx||Neuron Vexx|
|DLC Quest||2011||Windows, macOS, Xbox 360||Going Loud Studios||Going Loud Studios|
|Dust: An Elysian Tail||2012||Windows, Xbox 360, macOS, Linux||Humble Hearts||Microsoft Studios|
|End of Days: Infected vs. Mercs||2011||Xbox 360||Sick Kreations||Sick Kreations|
|End of Days: Survivor||2012||Xbox 360||Sick Kreations||Sick Kreations|
|Escape Goat||2011||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360||MagicalTimeBean||MagicalTimeBean|
|EvilQuest||2012||Windows, Xbox 360||ChaosSoft Games||ChaosSoft Games|
|EvilQuest 2||TBA||Windows, Xbox 360||ChaosSoft Games||ChaosSoft Games|
|Face-Plant Adventures||2012||Xbox 360||oddworm games||oddworm games|
|Fez (FNA/SDL2 later)||2012||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360||Polytron||Trapdoor|
|Fist Puncher||2013||Windows, Xbox 360||Team2Bit||Adult Swim Games, Team2Bit|
|Flotilla||2010||Windows, Xbox 360||Blendo Games||Blendo Games|
|Fusion Genesis||2011||Xbox 360||Starfire Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|Galactic Arms Race||2010||Windows||Evolutionary Games||Evolutionary Games|
|Gerbil Physics||2009||Windows||Pencel Games||Pencel Games|
|Gnomoria||TBA||Windows||Robotronic Games||Robotronic Games|
|Grey: The Lost Technology||2012||Windows, Xbox 360||Team Aurora||Team Aurora|
|Guncraft||2012||Windows||EXATO GAME STUDIOS||EXATO GAME STUDIOS|
|Hacknet||2015||Windows, macOS, Linux||Surprise Attack Games||Surprise Attack Games|
|Ilomilo||2011||Windows Phone, Xbox 360, Windows||Southend Interactive, Microsoft Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|Infinifactory||2009||Windows, macOS, Linux||Zachary Barth||Zachary Barth|
|I Made a Game with Zombies in It!||2009||Xbox 360, Windows Phone||Ska Studios||Ska Studios|
|Islands of Wakfu||2011||Xbox 360||Ankama Play||Microsoft Studios|
|KGB: Episode One||2010||Xbox 360||Sick Kreations||Sick Kreations|
|Kodu||2009||Windows, Xbox 360||Microsoft Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise||2012||Windows, Xbox 360||Qooc Soft||7sixty|
|Light's End||2009||Xbox 360||Ryan Thorlakson||Xbox Games Store|
|Lemon World||2010||Windows||Alonso Leonardo||CEFET-MG|
|Lucidity||2009||Windows, Xbox 360||LucasArts||LucasArts|
|Magicka||2011||Windows||Arrowhead Game Studios||Paradox Interactive|
|Miasma: Citizens of Free Thought||2010||Windows, Xbox 360||ESP Games||ESP Games|
|Miasma 2: Freedom Uprising||2012||Windows, Xbox 360||ESP Games||ESP Games|
|Miner Wars 2081||2012||Windows, Xbox 360||Keen Software House||Keen Software House|
|Nuclear Wasteland||2010||Xbox 360||Sick Kreations||Sick Kreations|
|Orbox C||2013||Windows Phone||ProGamix||ProGamix|
|Over 9000 Zombies!||2014||Windows||Loren Lemcke||Mastertronic Group|
|Owlboy||2016||Windows, Linux, Mac OS||D-Pad Studio||D-Pad Studio|
|Plain Sight||2010||Windows||Beatnik Games||Beatnik Games|
|Pokémon 3D||2013||Windows||Kolben Games||Kolben Games|
|Potion Lore||2012||Windows Phone||Hexfire Software||Hexfire Software|
|Protect Me Knight||2010||Xbox 360||Ancient||Ancient|
|Proxy Blade Zero||2014||Xbox 360||D6||D6|
|Reus||2013||Windows||Abbey Games||Abbey Games|
|Residue||2014||Windows||The Working Parts||The Working Parts|
|Rogue Legacy||2013||Windows, Linux, MacOS, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PS Vita||Cellar Door Games||Cellar Door Games|
|Rocket Riot||2009||Xbox 360, Windows Phone, iOS||Codeglue||THQ|
|Run-8 Train Simulator||2012||Windows||Run 8 Studios||3DTrainStuff Skunkworks|
|Schizoid||2008||Xbox 360||Torpex Games||Microsoft Studios|
|Score Rush||2010||Xbox 360||Xona Games||Reverb Communications|
|Secrets of Grindea||TBA||Windows||Pixel Ferrets||Pixel Ferrets|
|Sequence||2011||Windows, Xbox 360||Iridium Studios||Iridium Studios|
|Serious Sam Double D||2011||Windows, Xbox 360||Mommy's Best Games||Devolver Digital|
|Skulls of the Shogun||2012||Windows, Xbox 360, Windows Phone||17-Bit||Microsoft Studios|
|Snops Attack! Zombie Defense||2012||Xbox 360||SnopsGames||SnopsGames|
|SoccerTime||2013||Windows Phone||T-Bag Games||T-Bag Games|
|Solar 2||2011||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360||Murudai||Murudai|
|Soulcaster||2010||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360||MagicalTimeBean||MagicalTimeBean|
|Soulcaster II||2010||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360||MagicalTimeBean||MagicalTimeBean|
|Sol Survivor||2009||Windows, Xbox 360||Cadenza Interactive||Cadenza Interactive|
|SpeedRunners||2016||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4||DoubleDutch Games||tinyBuild|
|Stardew Valley||2016||Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android||ConcernedApe||Chucklefish|
|Super Amazing Wagon Adventure||2013||Windows, Xbox 360||sparsevector||sparsevector|
|Survivalist||2014||Windows, Xbox 360||bob_the_pr_bot||bob_the_pr_bot|
|Terraria||2011||Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox 360, PS3, iOS, Android||Re-Logic||Microsoft Studios|
|The Adventures of Shuggy||2011||Windows, Xbox 360||Smudged Cat Games||Valcon Games|
|The Bridge||2013||Windows||Ty Taylor and Mario Castañeda||The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild|
|The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai||2009||Xbox 360||Ska Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile||2011||Xbox 360||Ska Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|The Fall of Gods||2012||Windows, Xbox 360||Geex Games||Geex Games|
|The Harvest||2010||Windows Phone||Luma Arcade||Microsoft Studios|
|The Path of Go||2010||Xbox 360||Microsoft Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|The Undead Syndrome||2012||Xbox 360||MUKAGOSOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT||MUKAGOSOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT|
|They Bleed Pixels||2012||Windows, macOS, Linux||Spooky Squid Games||Spooky Squid Games|
|Tile Rider||2014||Windows Phone||7 Soft Pillows||7 Soft Pillows|
|Undead Carnage: Redemption||2012||Windows Phone||PixelsFury Games||DevRain Solutions|
|Underrail||2015||Windows||Stygian Software||Stygian Software|
|Veks and Silence||2009||Xbox 360||Edible Entertainment Pty Ltd||Edible Entertainment Pty Ltd|
|Weapon of Choice||2008||Xbox 360||Mommy's Best Games||Mommy's Best Games|
|Yo-Ho Kablammo||2009||Xbox 360||Canalside Studios||Microsoft Studios|
|Zeit 2||2011||Windows, Xbox 360||Brightside Games||Ubisoft|
- Rose, Mike (February 1, 2013). "It's official: XNA is dead". Gamasutra.
- "XNA Is Dead: 3 Alternatives That Let You Use Your C# Skills". Lifehacker. February 2, 2013.
- Williams, Chris. "XNA is Dead; Long Live the New XNA, MonoGame". Code Magazine. Retrieved May 8, 2016.
- "ANX.Framework (ANX's not XNA... but kind of) | Coding4Fun Blog | Channel 9". channel9.msdn.com. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
- Crossley, Rob (31 January 2013). "Microsoft email confirms plan to cease XNA support". CVG. Future Publishing.
- Klepek, Patrick (16 September 2011). "The Future of XNA Game Studio and Windows 8". Giant Bomb.
- "App Hub - downloads". Archived from the original on 2015-02-04.
- Microsoft XNA Frequently Asked Questions
- "Code sample details: Game State Management (, C#/VB)". xbox.create.msdn.com. Microsoft. 24 May 2011. Archived from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- Brian Keller: "Will XNA tools be able to help reduce game sizes?"
- "XNA Game Studio". Retrieved 2007-03-20.
- "Microsoft kills XNA". ExtremeTech. February 1, 2013.
- Gamefest announcement of XNA Game Studio Express Archived August 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- XNA Game Studio Express Archived May 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- XNA Creators Club Online - quick start guide Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- XNA Tutorial
- "XNA Team Blog : XNA Game Studio 2.0 Released". Archived from the original on 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
- "xna game studio 4.0 available for download!". XNA Game Studio Team Blog. Microsoft. September 16, 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- "What's New in XNA Game Studio 4.0". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- "XNA Game Studio 4.0 Refresh". Downloads. Microsoft. October 6, 2011.
- "Download GDC 2009: XNA Game Studio Program Overview from Official Microsoft Download Center". Microsoft.com. Archived from the original on 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- XNA Game Studio 2.0 Software License Terms
- Winterhalter, Ryan (April 29, 2011). "31 Homebrew Games Worth Playing". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on May 3, 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
- Dream Build Play, Alfred Thompson
- App Hub Archived 2015-02-08 at the Wayback Machine
- "Download History News". Archived from the original on March 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
- "Mono.XNA". Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- "MonoGame: Write Once, Play Everywhere". Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "MonoGame Wiki". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
- "Grommet". Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- "Jon Shafer's At the Gates » Weekly Update #5". Kickstarter. 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
- "The Future of XNA Game Studio and Windows 8". Giantbomb.com. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
- FEZ 1.12 by Renaud Bédard on theinstructionlimit.com (August 16, 2016)
- "Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: Ilomilo". wintersupersite.com. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
- "JeanBaptistePortfolio" (PDF). www.jbriguet.com. Retrieved 2012-06-26.
- "Interview Skulls of the Shogun Dev on asynchronous multiplayer and xbla". xblafans.com. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
- "Mac/Linux Support? :: Underrail General Discussions". Stygian Software. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Underrail - An indie role playing game". Stygian Software. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- Training resources