Developing for Xbox 360 is now easier than ever. With a free, integrated development environment based on Visual Studio 2010 Express, you’ll have everything you need to create games for Xbox 360 and Windows.
Optionally, sign up as an Xbox LIVE Indie Games member. Being an Xbox LIVE Indie Games member provides you with a member profile to help identify you in the forums and is a required step if you subscribe to the Xbox LIVE Indie Games to sell or give away your apps or games.
Once you start the Windows Phone SDK, review the Start Page for links to the documentation. You’ll find articles and sample code to help you get started. There’s even more information here in the Education section, where you’ll find starter kits, samples, tutorials, and educational articles. All this documentation should help you learn the art and science of app and game creation.
Creating apps and games for Windows Phone and games for Windows is free, and you can start right away. If you want to develop games for Xbox 360 or to sell your apps and games, you’ll need to Purchase an Xbox LIVE Indie Games subscription.
To begin, launch the Windows Phone SDK and click on the New Project… link on the Start Page. This will present you with the New Project window and you can select project templates for either Silverlight for Windows Phone or XNA Game Studio 4.0 from underneath the Visual C# node.
Templates that begin with "Windows Phone" enable you to create apps or games that you can make available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The Xbox 360 (4.0) template allows you to create a game for the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. The Windows Game (4.0) template allows you to create games for Windows.
You can develop apps or games for Windows Phone without a phone by using just the Windows Phone Emulator. If you have a phone, you can use the Windows Phone Developer Registration tool to unlock your phone, and use the XAP Deployment Tool to deploy your project to your unlocked phone. To make your app or game available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, an Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership is required.
Developing games for the Xbox 360 requires an Xbox 360 console with hard drive, an Xbox LIVE Gold or Silver account, and an Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership. Your computer and Xbox 360 console must be on the same network, which is the typical configuration.
For more information about Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership, see Purchase an Xbox LIVE Indie Games subscription.
Once you’re ready to make your app or game available in the Windows Phone Marketplace or begin developing Xbox 360 games, you'll need to sign up for a $99 USD Xbox LIVE Indie Games annual subscription.
A subscription enables you to submit apps and games to the Windows Phone Marketplace and games to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, and to create and debug your games on Xbox 360.
If you have a prepaid membership code, redeem it on your Xbox 360 by signing in to Xbox LIVE with the gamertag associated with your profile. Navigate to the Marketplace blade, then choose Redeem Code. Enter your code to receive your Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership.
Once you subscribe as an Xbox LIVE Indie Games member, you’re ready to connect to your Xbox 360 console by using XNA Game Studio on your Windows-based computer.
Now that you’re a member of the Xbox LIVE Indie Games, it’s time to set up your Xbox 360 console so you can transfer your games from your PC. On your Xbox 360 console, sign in to Xbox LIVE by using the gamertag associated with your membership. Once you’re signed in, navigate to the Games Marketplace.
In the Games Marketplace area, select All Games, Browse, All Games, and finally XNA Creators Club. From there, select and download XNA Game Studio Connect. This Xbox 360 download connects your Windows computer running XNA Game Studio to your Xbox 360 console so you can deploy and debug your games on the Xbox 360 console.
When the download finishes, navigate to the My Xbox channel. Select Game Library, Indie Games, and then select XNA Game Studio Connect.
The first time you run XNA Game Studio Connect, you'll see a code on the screen. Leave the code on the screen. You'll use it to connect to your computer.
On your computer, click the XNA Game Studio folder on your Start menu, and then click XNA Game Studio Device Center. Select Add Device, and then enter a name for your Xbox 360 console. Enter the code provided for you by XNA Game Studio Connect on your Xbox 360 console, and click Next. Your computer and your Xbox 360 console should display a message letting you know that you have a successful connection. If you run into trouble, see Troubleshooting Xbox 360 Game Deployment on MSDN.
You can now deploy an Xbox 360 Game project from XNA Game Studio to your Xbox 360 console. To deploy a game project on the Xbox 360 console, have the project open in XNA Game Studio. Make sure XNA Game Studio Connect is running on your Xbox 360 console, and then press F5 on your keyboard. The project deploys and runs automatically.
If you have a Windows project you want to run on your Xbox 360 console, simply open the project in XNA Game Studio, right-click the project icon in the Solution Explorer, and click Create Copy for Xbox 360. Now set your Xbox 360 project as your startup project by right-clicking on the project and selecting Set as Startup. Press F5 to run the game on your Xbox 360 console.
Every game submitted to the Xbox LIVE Indie Games needs to be reviewed before it can be released to the public on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. The review is designed to find prohibited content or errors, and to check that the game’s content is classified accurately.
Before you submit your game to Peer Review, review the following Guidelines, Rules, and FAQ’s, in order to improve your chances of passing Peer Review on the first try:
Peer Review Guidelines
The Evil Checklist
This is a list of the most common reasons games fail peer review, plus a list of test cases that are designed to flush out these problems. This list is meant both for developers who want to test their own game before submitting it to review, and for peer reviewers as a suggestion for how to test a game they are reviewing, and what cases to think of.
The Not so Evil Checklist
This is a list of things that historically are not reasons to fail a game in peer review. However, several of these are things that you SHOULD fix in order to improve your game’s quality.
Language/Translation Review FAQ
Languages declared in peer review do not appear on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. They are not a declaration of translation, merely an indicator of which languages are used in the binary, and therefore which languages need reviewing.
If you’ve created a game for Xbox 360 that you’re ready to share on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, you need to package it into a .ccgame file. This package keeps your source code and game assets hidden while it permits others to play the game. You’ll submit this file, called a game package, to the Xbox LIVE Indie Games through your dashboard. This initiates the peer review process.
All you have to do now is navigate to your .ccgame file. Inside the folder for your game project, open the bin folder followed by Xbox 360 and finally Release. There you should see your .ccgame file. Drag this file to a safe place so that it will be easy to find when you submit it to Xbox LIVE Indie Games.
We'll show you how to submit your completed Xbox 360 game in the next "how it works" page.
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