IGM Tutorial: Exporting to XNA

in Tutorials

Want to check out a PDF of this tutorial? Right click save as HERE.

The first thing you should know is that when you export to XNA and test your games on the Xbox 360 some things will work and behave differently than they do when testing in IG Maker. I highly recommend testing your game often to make sure everything translates correctly from your PC to the console.

Also, while the programs below are completely free, testing games on an Xbox 360 or selling games on the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace currently requires an App Hub membership, which will cost $99 per year. You can read more about that on their faq. Before attempting to make a game for the Xbox 360, make sure you’ve updated IG Maker to work with XNA 4.0. The update and instructions are available here.

In the screenshots below look for blue highlights, numbers, or messages for points of interest.

IG Maker can export to XNA from by default, but if you want to put that to good use and get your games playable on an Xbox 360, you’re going to need a few things. You need to start off by installing Visual C# 2010 Express. This is a very easy, very quick installation. Just click the blue “Install Now” button and run the program when it finishes downloading. The program will walk you through the simple steps needed to complete the install. Here’s the link and a screenshot!

Once that install is finished, it is time to install XNA Game Studio 4.0, which functions more like an add-on for Visual C# 2010 Express than an independent program. This is another simple installer that you only need to download, run, and follow the program’s instructions. Here’s the link for the download and another screenshot.

At one stage of the installation, it will ask you to set up rules for Windows Firewall. If you use Windows Firewall, I recommend enabling the rules if you plan to export your games from XNA to an Xbox 360. Here’s a screenshot of what I’m talking about.

When you export a game from IG Maker into XNA format, you can open Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express (in your start menu this will be in a folder called Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express), then go to File and Open Project, find the folder you created when you exported your game from IG Maker, and select the .sln file.

If you plan to export your game from XNA to the Xbox 360 you should check out this tutorial, as it will walk you through everything you need to get your game playable on an Xbox 360. When you finish a game and want to submit it to the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace, you only have to log into your App Hub account and follow their directions for submitting a game.

A common problem people have is that when they test a game on the Xbox 360, there will be colored bars around the screen.This is called the “Safe Area”. It’s a requirement for submitting your games to App Hub that nothing important be placed inside these bars, otherwise some televisions may cut it off.

Removing this any time you want to test your game without the overlay is very simple. Start by getting your .sln file loaded into Visual C# 2010 Express. On the right side of the screen should be a list with a lot of files and various materials in it. Towards the bottom of this list you will see something called Game1.cs. If you open that up and scroll down just a bit you’ll find a line of code that says – DebugUtil.IsDrawSafeArea = true. All you have to do is change “true” to “false” and the bars will go away. Here is a screenshot that might help.

That’s pretty much it for XNA exporting. In the coming tutorials we’ll be going over the basics of IG Maker and I’ll be showing you how to make a simple game step-by-step. If you have any problems with this process, ask your questions in the comments section below.

Ready to get started with Indie Game Maker? Use the coupon code igmakerohyeah at check out to get 10% off your purchase of IGM.

Kain is a composer. You can check out his work at kainvinosec.com. You can also contact him directly with questions about his IGM tutorials or IGM in general at igmakertutorials@gmail.com.

14 comments… add one

  • Vokram February 16, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Love it ! Thanks !!

    I have a question, when you finaly put your game on XBOX360, do you have to pay the membership as long as your game is in the marketplace ? (99$ every year or just the first year when you put the game on it)

    • Nick Palmer February 16, 2012, 4:08 pm

      I’m actually not sure. I read around their site, but I couldn’t find an exact answer. Might be best to ask the App Hub people.

      • Vokram February 16, 2012, 5:03 pm

        Ok thanks, I will try to get the answer when I will be there, subed.

  • Vokram February 16, 2012, 3:57 pm

    And please, can you give some example about this :

    “when you export to XNA and test your games on the Xbox 360 some things will work and behave differently than they do when testing in IG Maker”

    Because now I am afraid. I hope this is just little stuff.

    • Nick Palmer February 16, 2012, 4:09 pm

      As long as you playtest regularly on the 360 and adjust it shouldn’t be a problem.

      • Vokram February 16, 2012, 4:58 pm

        Ok thank you, it’s like about “gadget behavior” difference I suppose, but no big differences about gameplay I hope. (or about the system itself, like a money counter etc)

        For example if you simply convert to XNA the “HD action rpg demo”, the game is supposed to be really close to the pc version (not to say exactly the same)… I will try with that sample game when I will have a Xbox360.

        Thanks again, can’t wait for the next tutorial.

  • Nico February 16, 2012, 9:34 pm

    $99? Pass.

    • Nick Palmer February 16, 2012, 9:47 pm

      Well, if you got into it going commercial, it could definitely pay off. That being said its also a bit of a risk if you don’t just have an extra hundred lying around.

  • Andrew March 17, 2012, 7:21 pm

    Helpful tutorial, thanks.
    If I export a game to visual studio express and then convert it to a windows game in visual studio, will it work?

    • kainvinosec April 14, 2012, 11:39 pm

      The concept isn’t impossible, but the way IG Maker exports to XNA format is designed specifically for the Xbox 360 so it would not be an easy undertaking.

  • Gavin Nichols August 25, 2012, 1:21 pm

    what i’ve been wanting to do is put my game on a disc for xbox, ya know? but i cant find a way to do that for free…

    • Kain Vinosec April 29, 2013, 5:53 pm

      I’m not really sure there is a way to do that for anything less than what major studios have to pay.

  • Dave April 29, 2013, 5:47 am

    I know this tutorial is for IGM, but can it be applied to any of the RPG Maker series applications?

    • Kain Vinosec April 29, 2013, 5:53 pm

      No, IGM is the only program we offer that can export to XNA currently.

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