MS have released Visual Studio 2005, which is nice…

Whats really nice is the Express Edition. MS annouched they were provided full dev environments for $49 (each langauge, costs $49). So for a mere $49 you get a full optimising compiler (one of the best), a decent IDE and debugger (worth its wait in gold), a bargain…

But in a fit of kindness (i.e. they really want you developing for Windows ;-) ) they have provided all of them free (if you download them this year). Which means its possible to get a complete professional quality PC game dev environment for free. Just go here MS Visual C++ Express Edition Register it Download the Platform SDK and DirectX SDK Make sure you re-enable Win32 Application (at the bottom of the Platform SDK link above) and your ready to develop PC games.

Worth grabbing C# and Web development while your there.