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360 and Playstation Homebrew Games |

Microsoft plans to release XNA Game Studio Express so that aspiring hobbyist game developers can make their own 360 games. This is similar to the Linux kit that Sony released for the PS2 so that hobbyists could make their own games.

This is a nice gesture, but the problem isn’t the API or devkit barrier. It’s already extremely easy to get the APIs and distribute games on the PC. The biggest barrier, by far, is the game development itself. It’s really really hard to write games that people want to play. Even most mediocre games take huge time commitments and require very complex skill sets.

Sure Counterstrike was great, but that was done by a highly skilled professional level team. Darwinia is fun, but in reality that was more successful as a platform for pundits to romanticize the notion of hobbyist developers than as a game that people actually played.

Sorry to be so cynical, but I believe that most journalists like to fantasize and exagerate the hidden potential of homebrew and closet game developers.

Microsoft lets players be designers

  • It’s been done before on various formats before, I remember Net Yaroze on the PSone for example.

    If anyone can develop a truly outstanding game then they should be a professional games developer anyway. A token gesture more than anything.

  • I dunno. Opening up the homebrew market on the PSP would help the PSP immensely. Right now people are jumping through hoops to allow homebrew. If Sony is nicer to us with the PS3 and PS3 Linux, that can only be a good thing.

  • Yes Henning, thats REALLY one BIG POINT, Sony should reconsider.

    I have 2 1.5 PSPs (ok, one is my brothers, but lets keep it simple). These are MAINLY being used for Homebrew. PiMPStreamer for watching Mythbusters in the garden while sunbathing, or playing cool old SNES or Mega Drive games long forgotten.

    Not only that. Via PSPVNC I can used my PSP as a remote for my media station pc (which has no Screen other than a TV), with a display, which shows me the screen itself.

    I really REALLY hope, Sony opens up homebrew. I doesnt need to be kernel access at all. Many homebrews dont use the media engine and still get good performance out of it.

    As my programming skills are only some simple java and c++ things (hello world and simple arithmetic stuff, just for pratice), I wont be using it to program, but others can do HELLISH good things with it, GREATLY improving the value of the console. This is one point, why I prefer my Linux pcs over any console. I can do WHATEVER I want with it.

    I may also be some nice opportunity for soon to be game developers to show, what they are capable of.

  • Matt

    Microsoft doing what they are doing can’t hurt. If one great game comes out of this than I think it is worth it. Hopefully Sony does the same thing (esp. with PSP)

  • Darth Pixel

    Microsoft seems to think they can do with Xbox 360 what they did with Windows.

    Provide tools.
    People will use tools to develop applications.
    Applications will make the platform more valuable.

    I don’t think it will work the same here, though.

    Developing a shareware for Windows is one thing. Developing a video game people will want to play is something else entirely.

    I would love to do it, but I am the worse artist in the world.
    An artist friend of mine could not program, even if his life depended on it.
    You really need a lot of different talents to produce a game people will like to play.