I’ve been lucky enough this week to find myself in Köln Germany at Gamescom 2010. It’s also a pretty exciting day as we announced a number of Xbox LIVE games that will launch with Windows Phone 7 this holiday season. You’ll find several familiar names in our first wave of titles from companies like Gameloft, Konami, Namco, Popcap and THQ. Microsoft Game Studios is also publishing several titles for Windows Phone 7 and partnering with many independent studios like Press Start to bring innovative indie content to Windows Phone 7. This is really cool to me, because it shows another step forward Microsoft is taking with the small and independent developer community.
One particular game that we announced that’s interesting to me is CarneyVale: Showtime. It’s because its story is intertwined with so many significant milestones through XNA Game Studios’ history and really shows the growth from a great idea from a few folks to having a game available as a launch title for a platform. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, CarneyVale: Showtime is an acrobatic puzzle game where players are asked to complete various circus stunts. CarneyVale was developed by Team GAMBIT, a small indie studio in Singapore backed by MIT (yep, that one!).
CarneyVale first showed up on my radar when it was submitted for an entry in our second annual Dream.Build.Play contest circa 2008. As a member of the judging team that year, I was simply blown away at how polished the game was and how fun it was to play. Using XNA Game Studio, Team GAMBIT was able to build the game in four months and the game ended up winning the Grand Prize and $40,000. CarneyVale went on to accumulate other accolades such as the PAX 10 award and being chosen as a finalist in the Independent Games Festival. The game was included as part of our launch of Xbox LIVE Community games (now called Xbox LIVE Indie Games), which allows indies to publish their games on Xbox LIVE. In March of this year Team GAMBIT announced that they plan to bring CarneyVale: Showtime to the PC thanks to a distribution contract with Games for Windows – LIVE. They are taking full advantage of the portability that XNA Game Studio provides.
For the Windows Phone 7 port of CarneyVale: Showtime, Team GAMBIT partnered with Microsoft Game Studios to integrate Xbox LIVE services available on the platform. In order for us to succeed, we want all types of content on Windows Phone 7, including games that are innovative and introduce concepts that are new to players. CarneyVale: Showtime is just that type of game.
Because the game was already written in XNA Game Studio, the developers were able to bring their game across the Xbox 360 platform to Windows Phone 7 quickly. Instead of spending a lot of time re-coding the game, they were able to really focus on the differences between the platforms such as user input and screen resolution, while having the core game experience easily translate.
CarneyVale: Showtime is just one example of a game that’s built by indies who were able to utilize XNA Game Studio to bring their game to Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7. Another great example of this is also included in our launch wave lineup; Rocket Riot from Codeglue, a game that’s currently available on Xbox LIVE Arcade. We’re looking to everyone, bigger studios, indie studios, or just a single person with a bright idea to create games for Windows Phone 7.
If there’s one piece of information that can really get you started it’s that all the titles used the same toolset that’s available to you today at http://developers.windowsphone.com. If you’re part of an indie group like Team GAMBIT, or a developer with a bright idea you can get everything you need from the site above. If you’re just starting out with game development, we’re here to help along the way at the same site you download the tools, or at our XNA Game Studio site at http://creators.xna.com.
I hope you get started today and will be looking forward to playing your next game on Windows Phone 7!