This series features interviews with student Windows Phone app developers who share what they learned building their phone apps.
This week’s interview features Harold Mintah, a student at Carleton University. Harold is a member of Team GreenSource who built a game called Grumpy Tree.
Could you briefly describe your application/game?
Grumpy Tree is a platforming game about animals taking initiative to make change in the world. The animals are faced with environmental issues presented by the grumpy Character, Mother Nature.
Experience a different style of platforming by tilting and tapping your device through obstacles, and solving puzzles.
Did you use XAML, DirectX, monogame, Unity and why?
We used cocos2d-x, writing the game in C++. We decided to use it because of our familiarity with C++ and because the engine provides professional libraries without any licensing headaches.
What was your banging your head against a wall moment?
We found it pretty frustrating trying to design levels only with code with no level editor. Since this game was being coded for a competition, we thought it was best to finish something and submit, rather than spend all the time developing a level editor
Did you ever solve that issue?
Partially, I wrote a C# application that used images to specify the positioning of objects, give objects parameters, then export a text file containing "Copy-Paste C++" code.
If you had to build this same app again from scratch, what would you do differently?
Certainly invested a bit more time into developing a good level editor.
Any nice surprises?
We had a great time developing for windows phone 8, mainly because of the powerful hardware, so it was great to be able to design high resolution textures without being concerned about lag. You won't notice any lag in our game :)
Did you leverage the mobile platform?
We tapped into the mobile platform by using the accelerometer of the device to control the character.
Did you leverage the touch screen?
The player is able to tap on the screen to make the character jump, and an intuitive swipe interface for level selection.
Did you have a favourite feature?
We really, really liked the tile-feature, because we were able to make our application stand out with our unique pattern.
What is one thing you think you did really well in this application?
We built a game that ran very smooth in a very short amount of time. As students, we had assignments, midterms and tests, and were still able to come up with a nice, smooth-running application.
Are you publishing your application/game?
Yes! It's already published, just search "Grumpy Tree" , http://www.windowsphone.com/en-ca/store/app/grumpy-tree/67823904-2ac5-408a-8681-cbb80183675a
Where can I learn more about your app/game?
If you would like to learn more about the game, and our other games visit www.facebook.com/mintahgames
Who developed this application?
We had Paul Raubic who was the lead programmer, Melanie Bujold the researcher, Jullie Sisson the beta tester, and myself Harold Mintah the lead game and graphic designer. We also had Peter Raubic, our mentor to critique our game and give us advice. Our game was developed for the Microsoft Imagine cup competition, we came first in the game's category in Canada! Paul and I are still developing games, and we hope to someday lead the indie game development industry.
From left to right: Paul Raubic, Julie Sisson, Harold Mintah, Peter Raubic, Melanie Bujold