Microsoft made headlines earlier this month with their announcement of XNA Games Studio Express, their easy-to-use game creation tools for both the PC and Xbox 360. Developer GarageGames also announced their plans for Torque X, which will make their game creation tools work with XNA Game Studio Express. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with GarageGames president Mark Frohnmayer to find out more about their plans for Torque X.
FiringSquad: First, GarageGames has been very successful in promoting the creation of indie games with their own tools. Why did the company want to team up with Microsoft to help their own efforts with XNA Game Studio Express?
Mark Frohnmayer: We see the XNA framework as one of the most important emerging platforms for independent game developers interested in console games. We thought it was a natural fit for our tools, giving users of the Torque engines another great platform on which to develop and deploy their games.
FiringSquad: Was GarageGames suprised that a major company like Microsoft wanted to give people the freedom to allow the ease of use of making games?
Mark Frohnmayer: We could hardly believe it when we heard about it. Not only have they staked out a real leadership role in beginning the process of opening what has always been a rigidly controlled development platform, but they have a real commitment to making coding on it substantially easier than it's been before.
FiringSquad: How hard was it to port over your tools so that it would work with XNA Game Studio Express?
Mark Frohnmayer: Surprisingly easy. We actually haven't ported over the tools though - what we've ported over is key pieces of the 2D and 3D engine technology. We're also in the process of making our tools capable of outputting data to both Torque and the new Torque X.
FiringSquad: Since XNA Game Studio Express is free to download and use for making PC games, will the XNA version of Torque Game Builer also be free to use as well?
Mark Frohnmayer: There won't actually be a separate version of Torque Game Builder for XNA - TGB will simply be compatible with Torque X. As for pricing on Torque X, that has yet to be determined.