Games programmers can try their hand at winning $40,000 and a chance at an Xbox Live Arcade publishing contract with a new competition from Microsoft.
The prizes will be awarded to the winner of the Dream.Build.Play 2011 Challenge. Registration for the competition is now open at www.dreambuildplay.com, and you’ve got till June 14, 2011 to submit your game to the contest. Microsoft’s aim is to encourage independent game developers to create games using the free-to-download XNA Game Studio.
Each game will be judged by three standards: how fun it is to play, how creative and unique it is, and how well it is produced. While the prize money is a big incentive, previous winners such as Beat Hazard, CarneyVale Showtime and Weapon of Choice have gone on to become top sellers on Xbox LIVE Indie Games.
Last year’s competition was won by a game called Lumi, a platform/action/puzzle game (so that seems to cover most options), where you lead the main character through levels, collecting fireflies and illuminating the world as you go. It’s currently on Xbox Live marketplace for $3.
All games submitted to the contest have to be created with XNA Game Studio 4.0, Microsoft’s games programming environment that can be used to develop games for Xbox 360, Windows-based PCs and Windows Phones. Version 4.0 of the software was released last September, with heavy emphasis on support for creating games for the Windows Phone 7 platform, to the irritation of many developers who aren’t interested in that platform. The software makes use of Visual Studio 2010, and you’ll need at least Visual Studio 2010 Express Edition.
More information on the Dream.Build.Play Challenge, including official rules, can be found at http://www.dreambuildplay.com.
More information on XNA Game Studio can be found at http://create.msdn.com.