Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How about a nice game of dice?

A big problem with the community games channel is the lack of playtesters in the testing pool. You currently need to pay the 100 dollar entry fee into the creators club to log on and check out all the neat games being made by the community.

"But Darthy, I don't want to pay Microsoft 100 bucks just so I can test out some games!"

Hey! Guess what? You don't have to!!

By enrolling in a free 12 month trial membership to the creators club, you will gain the ability to play these games on your XBOX 360 :)

Here are a few links you should click on to do just that!
Description of the various membership levels in the creators club

Free 12-month trial membership from dream-build-play
(The easiest method)

Free 12-month trial membership from dreamspark

(requires cooperation from your school)

There are two pieces of free software that must be installed before you can deploy creators club games onto your XBOX 360. They are, Visual C# 2008 Express Edition, and XNA Game Studio 3.0. Download and install Both of these now, then come back to this posting for further instructions!!
Visual C# 2008 Express Edition (the green button)

XNA Game Studio 3.0 (link at bottom of page)

The next part can be a bit tricky, but have patience It will all be worth it!
These Instructions are taken from XNA Documentation

Step 1: Sign In to Xbox LIVE
Turn on your Xbox 360 console and sign in to Xbox LIVE.

Step 2: Download XNA Game Studio Connect

You must download XNA Game Studio Connect from Xbox LIVE Marketplace and install it on the Xbox 360 console. XNA Game Studio Connect is listed on Xbox LIVE Marketplace next to the XNA Creators Club Subscription, which may be found by selecting Game Marketplace, Community Games, Listed under X, for XNA Connect

Step 3: Connect Your XBOX 360 Console And Windows Based Computer

With your computer and console on the same subnet, follow these steps to set up a connection between your computer and your console.

Step 3A. On Your Xbox 360 Console, Generate a Connection Key:

  1. From the Xbox Dashboard, select the Games tab.

  2. From the item list, select Games Library, and click the A controller button.

  3. From the Games Library list, select My Games, and click A.

  4. Select XNA Game Studio Connect, and click A.

  5. Select Launch, and click A.
    The XNA Game Studio Connect screen appears.

  6. If the XNA Game Studio Connect screen displays a connection key, continue to step 3B.
    If the connection key does not appear, you can generate a new key by clicking the X controller button.

Step 3B. On Your Windows-Based Computer, Enter the Connection Key and Initiate the Connection

  1. From the Start menu, select Programs, select Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0, select XNA Game Studio Device Center, and then click the Add Device button.

  2. Enter a name for your Xbox 360 console.

  3. This name serves only to identify your Xbox 360 console to XNA Game Studio. The name does not need to correspond to any other computer or Xbox 360 name.

  4. Click Next.

  5. On the Xbox 360 display, enter the connection key displayed in XNA Game Studio Connect.
    The connection key might be somewhat hard to read on a standard television screen. Look at the guide below to help you distinguish between specific letters and numbers:
    • The number "1" has a small tick at its top left, whereas the capital letter "I" does not.
    • The number "8" does not have a straight side at the left, whereas the capital letter "B" does.
    • The number "3" has no straight side at the left, whereas the capital letter "B" does.
    • The number "0" and the capital letter "O" are so similar, XNA Game Studio Connect treats those characters as the same character. Therefore, the number "0" and the capital letter "O" are interchangeable.
    • If the connection key seems difficult to read, click X to generate a new connection key.

  6. Once you are sure that the two keys match, Click Next on the XNA Game Studio Devices dialog box.
    XNA Game Studio Device Center will test the connection with the Xbox 360 console.
    If the connection is successful, the XNA Game Studio Device Center on the Windows-based computer will display "Successfully connected to the Xbox 360 console." XNA Game Studio Connect on the Xbox 360 console will display "Waiting for computer connection" followed by the name you have chosen for your Xbox 360 console in the XNA Game Studio Device Center.
    If the XNA Game Studio Device Center fails to connect to the Xbox 360 console, click Try again to edit the connection key and try again. If the connection continues to fail, make a careful note of the error message displayed at the bottom of the XNA Game Studio Devices dialog box. This error message can help you or a technician diagnose the cause of the connection failure, if it did not result from mismatched keys. For more information about troubleshooting a failed connection, see Troubleshooting Xbox 360 Game Deployment.

  7. Click Finish.
    The name you gave to your Xbox 360 console will be listed in the XNA Game Studio Device Center. From now on, your computer and your console can connect to each other easily.

That wasn't so bad now was it :) The good news you can now easily deploy creators club games to your XBOX!! Just remember that you have to open XNA Game Studio Connect on your XBOX and Launch it before you install any game. Its found in your community games section.

Now, for the last piece of the puzzle. Since trial memberships don't allow access to the playtesting forums on the creators club site, Creators are going to have to make their games available over the web for trial members to play and hopefully provide some constructive feedback!

To get things started I've made my game available on windows skydrive.

Ye Olde Dice Game.ccgame

Just save it to your harddrive, and if you've followed the steps above, doubleclicking it should install it to your XBOX! It's that easy.

If you have a game that you want to make available, just upload it to skydrive or somewhere else and send me the link. We might have to make some more room here for all the feedback I hope!

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