Building a Language Learning Game (QuizGame)

Building a Language Learning Game (QuizGame)

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This week we’ll be starting a new game for the Windows Phone. We’ll be using Silverlight this time around, and building a language learning game. The idea behind the game is to make use of a database of words and meanings, pick a word, and give four possible definitions. I actually originally built the first version of this game in XNA, and when I redid it in Silverlight, the implementation ended up being much easier. This week, we’ll start with a new Silverlight project, and walk through what that gives you. We’ll also look at a source of graphics we’ll be using for the game.

To begin with, load up Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, and choose File –> New Project, and under the Silverlight for Windows Phone templates, choose Windows Phone Application. In the Name field, type QuizGame, then click OK. You’ll get a new solution containing a single project with a few files. The basic structure a Silverlight application is a set of XAML files, containing markup that defines the user interface, and .cs files with code behind. In the MainPage.xaml file, you’ll get a visual desginer with a few elements in it. The layout is done through a Grid element containing a StackPanel with two TextBlocks. When you run the application, the emulator will pop up and display the application, looking something like the following:

QuizGame

The numbers on the right of the page is a frame rate counter. You can turn it on or off using the following line in the App.xaml.cs file’s constructor.

Enabling the Frame Rate
  1. Application.Current.Host.Settings.EnableFrameRateCounter = true;

The other important files in the project are the ApplicationIcon.png file, the icon that will appear in the list of apps on the phone, Background.png, the image to display when your application is "pinned" to the Start screen, and SplashScreenImage.jpg, the splash screen that will be displayed when you launch the application.

We’ll be getting deeper into the XAML next week when we lay out the user interface. This week, we’ll finish off by looking at the source of images we’ll be using. There’s a great resource over at http://www.lostgarden.com/ where an artist occasionally posts sets of graphics like the one we will be using. The post in question is Danc's Miraculously Flexible Game Prototyping Tiles.

Here’s an example of the type of graphics we’ll be using.

Character Cat GirlCharacter Princess GirlSpeechBubble

StarGem GreenGem OrangeHeart

See you next week, when we’ll set up the game interface.

  • Cool! Silverlight looks like a lot of fun. I can't wait to work through this as I follow your blog. Keep it coming.

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