Microsoft builds out game development tools

Microsoft on Monday announced a version of Visual Studio for the production of computer games.

Expanding its line of developer tools, Microsoft on Monday announced a version of Visual Studio for the production of computer games.

The toolset, dubbed XNA Studio, lets members of a game development team work together, helping speed up the game creation process, Microsoft said Monday. The company announced XNA Studio at the Game Developers Conference, which starts Monday in San Francisco.

XNA Studio is based on Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 Team System. The product is meant to benefit collaboration between content creators, programmers, management and quality assurance staff working on the development of video games, Microsoft said.

Several third party providers of game development products will support XNA Studio. These include 3D technology provider Discreet, a subsidiary of Autodesk; game engine supplier Havok.com; and audio specialist Creative Labs, according to Microsoft's statement.

Monday's announcement expands on the introduction of XNA at last year's Game Developers Conference. XNA is a game development platform that Microsoft has said will be used to develop games on all game platforms, including the Xbox, mobile devices and PCs.

Visual Studio 2005 Team System, along with the other Visual Studio 2005 products, is due out in the first half of this year. Microsoft in the statement did not specify a target release date for XNA Studio.

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