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GDC: Build a game for XBLA

Microsoft lays down gauntlet.

Microsoft has announced a competition to find the best game created using XNA Game Studio Express. The winning entry will be published on Xbox Live Arcade and also bag the creator US$ 10,000.

As part of its ongoing effort to create larger awareness of its development tools, the Redmond giant has offered plenty of other runners-up prizes, too. Alienware, AMD, Autodesk and Softimage are all chipping-in various goodies.

The Dream-Build-Play competition is open until 2nd July, and winners will be announced at the Microsoft Gamefest 2007, on 13th August.

However, if you don't fancy waiting that long, you can head over to the XNA website and take part in the warm-up challenge, which will dish out US$ 500 to the best of the bunch.

XNA Game Studio Express is a free download that lets hobbyists, students, and independent developers create and share games for Windows. It was released last December along with the Creators Club, available for a yearly EUR 99 subscription, which enables you to develop and play games on Xbox 360.

The software is due to expand, with Club members gaining access to the Torque X Engine from GarageGames, XSI-3D technology from Softimage, and a 2D texture editor from Allegorithmic ProFX.

Microsoft will attempt to show off just how easy and flexible the XNA program is, when renowned game creators converge at GDC to create four games in just four days.

The first Live Arcade title we'll see that's built on the software is Schizoid from Torpex Games, a co-op action game due to launch later this year.

Head over to the XNA website for more information about the competition and the technology itself.