If you build DirectX applications or serious games using DirectX and want to use the benefits of the .NET Framework, then XNA is the way to go.
The XNA Framework is a class library built upon the .NET Framework 2.0. Right now only the Express Edition of the Developer IDE is available. XNA can target Windows as well as XBox.
(Note: the previous Managed DirectX class library was depricated by Microsoft.)
- Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express 1.0
XNA Game Studio Express enables hobbyists, academics, and small, independent game developers to easily create video games for Windows and the Xbox 360 console. Requires an Express Edition of Visual Studio.
- Microsoft XNA Framework Redistributable 1.0
The XNA Framework Redistributable provides game developers with the XNA Framework runtime libraries that they can include with their product for redistribution on Windows XP.