Microsoft has released the final version of XNA Game Studio 2.0 over on the XNA Creators Club website.
Chief new additions to version 2.0 are support for networked game development over Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live and support for all Visual Studio 2005 versions rather than just the Express variant.
"When building XNA Game Studio 2.0, we wanted to offer everyone the opportunity to utilise the rich gaming environment of LIVE used by AAA developers for titles such as Halo 3 and Gears of War," said Chris Satchell, general manager of the XNA organization at Microsoft.
"We accomplished our goal with this new toolset, and, best of all, it remains highly accessible to students, hobbyists and pros alike."
At the same time, Microsoft has opened the warm-up round of it’s XNA development competition Dream Build Play 2008. Entitled ‘Silicon Minds’, the contest is seeking games that feature impressive articifical intelligence.
The Silicon Minds round is supported by Microsoft’s research centre in Cambridge, Rare and Lionhead, and the prizes will feature ‘an opportunity to interview for an internship at one of those organisations’.
"Artificial intelligence is so important to the games we make at Lionhead Studios, and we are very excited to see what the community can come up with in this Warm-Up Challenge to Dream-Build-Play 2008," said Peter Molyneux, managing director at Lionhead Studios.
"We are always on the lookout for the best talent and believe that XNA Game Studio 2.0 will be a great platform for contestants to showcase their skills on."
More information on the competition can be found at the official website.