Jason Zander is Corporate Vice President of Development for the Windows Azure team at Microsoft.
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My boys (11 and 13) *love* playing video games. I've also spent time trying to get them interested in authoring their own game software using Visual Studio. I once started writing a game with my son, showing him how to create a project, importing System.Drawing, then drawing a line. Next we changed the color. I was proud of transferring my vast knowledge to my prodigy as well as the high quality of my product.
His response? "Yeah, that's interesting, but where do we put Mario?"
For me as a kid with no training and no mentor, "inventing" a bubble sort algorithm was really awesome even though my mom seemed puzzled. But for my kids, what they really wanted was an easy way to get a game up and running. The code is something that would come next as they made their effort much more sophisticated.
Today we are announcing the new Game Creator for Popfly which allows precisely this. Game Creator is Silverlight based which means the games you create have vector graphic support and access to a ton of great media support. The result is really cool looking applications.
To make sure it really was easy, I brought my two sons Michael (13) and Eric (11) to Microsoft during their spring break to be beta testers. They had a blast working with Adam and Suzanne:
Each was able to create a game in two hours.
Michael's game concentrated on covering a breadth of features to see what it could do (and found a few bugs).
Eric's game is a side scroller ala Mario called JellyMan.
You can get going with the Game Creator on Popfly from the main page:
This will allow you to either find existing games you can play or modify, or create a new game.
In my case I opened the UFO Attack template. This brings up the designer:
You can now start to customize the game. For example, if you select Scenes you can change characters, behavior, decide what to do when you win or lose the game, etc:
As with all Popfly work, you can now save your own version of the game and share it with your friends. I think you'll find the environment is pretty addicting once you get going.
The top level goal for Popfly remains the same: make it super easy for anyone to start creating their own software they can share with their friends. There is an amazing amount you can accomplish without having to actually write code. When you decide you want to do something much more powerful, then you'll have the opportunity to start working with Visual Studio.
Congratulations to the Popfly team on the new release!