Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
Round 1 has passed for Windows Phone Game Design, Round 2 entries must be submitted by March 13th! Read on to find out more about the next steps to make sure YOU have a chance to attend the Canadian or World Finals!
To save you the hassle, I looked up GMT that works out to 20:59 Atlantic, 19:59 Eastern, 16:59 Pacific
Are you one of the Canadian teams who have entered Round 1 of the Windows Phone Game Design category? If so, you’ve taken the first step towards appearing on stage for the Canadian or maybe even World finals. The next step is to complete the requirements for Round 2.
Round 1 is just a way for us to get an idea of who has entered, there is no judging of Round 1 entries. But you must meet the requirements for each round to advance, so here’s a summary of what you need to prepare for Round 2 with more details below.
The official rules and regulations are here Game Design: Phone Rules
Here are a few resources that might help you get that First level of your game completed:
Divvy up the work among teammates to share the workload. Many of these tasks can be done in parallel: One person can start writing up the Game Play instructions before the game is completed; Collect Screenshots as you go; You can start working on your video before the game is completed. I got all this from the Game Design Rules here.
In order to judge your team’s game, we need to be able to play it! So we need an installable and playable game in the format for Phone
The Game Video is a video file showcasing your game. It must include a video screen capture of your Team’s game in action. This video can include narration, team introductions, and game presentation information to convey your game’s premise and intent as well as intended gameplay experiences. At a minimum, this must show your game in action.
You already did a first draft of this for Round 1, so this is just a chance for you to update that document. The Game Summary Document is an electronic text document that describes your Team’s game, the intent of your game, and details the unique game play features and how it aligns to the Imagine Cup 2012 Theme. You must include additional attributive information relating to third party content per the technical requirements below
Andrew Parsons is the Game Design Captain this year, he can’t wait to see your entries and neither can we!
Welcome to Building 92 on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, home of the Microsoft visitor centre and company store both open to the public.
So many serious posts lately, I thought it would be fun to take you on a quick tour of the Microsoft Visitor Centre that I got to visit in January.
As I enter, I’m greeted by a picture that looks like a cross between that 70s show and Big Bang theory. Do you think they had any idea what Microsoft would become?
A Microsoft surface table brings back memories, this was the first multi-touch device I encountered, I first saw it at the Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles a few years back. At the time pinch, zoom, and swipe seemed revolutionary. Now we do it every day as we slide from one photo to another or zoom in and out of a map.
Now we’ve moved from multi-touch to no touch and voice recognition the possibilities really are amazing! And what really rocks is that it’s not just professors in research labs who get to play with this technology, we have it in our living rooms with Xbox and Kinect, in our coat pockets with smart phones! All we have to do is download the SDKs and start coding!
I can’t help it, playing with this amazing technology just brings out the kid and me and reminds me of how far we’ve come from punch cards, TRS-80 computers and Pong game systems. It’s an exciting time to be a developer!
Three students from Ryerson University: Kowsheek, Anthony, and Alexey (akaThree Red Cubes) build their second Windows Phone Game and share what they learned along the way.
Check out more tips and tricks from students here
Could you briefly describe your application/game?
Flipper is a simple and addictive puzzle game where you flip triangles to complete squares. As you progress through the game you should watch for the special squares that can help you. Gain points, compete with players around the world, but watch the clock!
Did you use XNA, Silverlight or both?
In Flipper we chose XNA over Silverlight. The reason we chose XNA is because it gives more flexibility in certain aspects. For example, customized screen navigation logic because most of the times it differs between games. Also it allows you to use the same technology across the entire game unlike in a XNA-Silverlight mix application. Developers using XNA know that it’s a beautiful framework to work with. It gives developers a great amount of raw power over the platform so that they can create awesome games.
What was your banging your head against a wall moment?
There was a moment when the game was lagging while scrolling up. We tried profiling it, we tried decrease the resolution of our assets, we tried banging our heads. Nothing helped. Then we realized the scrolling was too fast and due to the OS limitation of 30Hz, the movement seemed to be lagging.
The bottom line is you have to always remember that you are developing to a mobile device which has some limitations. That means that sometimes you have to do your homework before writing code.
Did you ever solve that issue?
The solution to that problem was limiting the top speed for the scrolling, which actually worked out nicely. The final result was a nice range of speeds for the scrolling effect. You can experience this in the game by dragging vertically across the screen.
If you had to build this same app again from scratch, what would you do differently?
Some of the reviews we got from Windows Phone users included a great number of ideas to improve the game and its experience. We would take this knowledge and build it in the game from the get-go providing for a better experience for the gamers. However, some of the changes can be pushed with an update and that is why the feedback is always useful. In fact we have created an application called metrX for the phone with the intention of helping users and developers communicate.
Any nice surprises?
In the new version that is currently available on the Marketplace, we've implemented system color as the part of game's theme. Discovering the ability to have access to some of the phone resources from XNA was a bit of a surprise and it was quite easy to implement.
We were also surprised and pleased that people enjoy the concept of the game and find it rather addictive. We received 25 reviews to-date and the average rating is hovering around 4.5 stars. We were trying to build a simple and addictive game and we think that we've succeeded.
Did you leverage the mobile platform?
Since Flipper is a quite simple game, it did not leverage any of the phone sensors unlike some of the applications that we've published previously.
Did you leverage the touch screen?
Yes we took the full advantage of the touch interface with both tap and drag gestures built into the XNA Framework. The API that XNA exposes for the touch interface is quite easy to work with and it can be used to provide a nice experience in games.
Did you have a favourite feature?
We have taken an advantage on our own API for a platform called Lead. It's an online cloud-based leaderboard that we have developed with ASP.Net MVC framework. We use this API in our game and it's been a great success. You can find out more about it here. We've talked about it and its technologies on the Canadian Developer Connection blog.
What is one thing you think you did really well in this application?
The game idea. We were able to build a great experience with Flipper and it is something we are quite proud of. Something in those chain reactions accompanied by flipping sounds, the endless game-play and the simplicity of it makes the game addictive and enjoyable to play.
Are you publishing your application/game?
Yes we published and updated the game over the last few weeks, it's available for download and we're pushing updates every so often to keep improving the game and its aesthetics.
Where can I learn more about your app/game?
We have a Facebook page where we post about updates and our Youtube channel has videos of Flipper and some of our other applications.
Who developed this application?
Our team members are from Ryerson University and we run a company called Three Red Cubes Inc. We have been developing applications and games for the Windows Phone since its release. Sudoku3D was the first game we released as a team and we're looking forward to building many more quality games and apps that Windows Phone users can enjoy.
You can find us on Twitter and Facebook.
Picture: Kowsheek (left), Anthony (centre), Alexey (right)
Let’s clear up some confusion that arose when the new Dreamspark launched over how students sign up for the free App Hub account and save the $99 fee.
Where do I go to download software?
This has not changed, though the page looks different. Visit www.dreamspark.com to sign up for Dreamspark and download software
Do I have to use a Windows Live ID for my email address?
Dreamspark does not require you to sign up using a Windows Live ID, but, App Hub does require a Windows Live ID. So if you are going to publish a phone app the answer is Yes.
How do I save the $99 and get my free App Hub student account?
Rob Miles is the captain of the Software Design category at Imagine Cup and is having a Q&A session today at noon ET
Get your questions ready! Join Software Design Captain Rob Miles on 21 February at 17:00 GMT (12:00 Eastern) or 22 February at 07:00 GMT (02:00 Eastern) via Live Meeting and ask him about competing in the Software Design Competition. Follow these instructions to join Live Meeting. The Live Meeting sessions will be recorded and posted on this page under the Helpful Links. Find out what time these meetings take place in your country/region.