Making popular games for Windows

This post is about card games and casual Metro gaming experience, based on Card Games Chest for Windows 8. For those of you who played the Windows Phone version of my games, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover them in Windows 8 Release Preview. Thanks to Microsoft, I did lots of changes to take advantage of minimalistic and elegant Metro design language.

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Thinking about how many people will be playing these games, with half a billion or so registered Windows PCs in the world puts a very special responsibility on the quality of my games. I focused on the quality from the start, and I can proudly share some initial stats: even with Windows 8 being less than a week is in release preview, I’m getting thousands of downloads every day. Of these thousands downloads, I had extremely positive reviews that put my games on par with Cut’the’Rope blockbuster (if you sort by highest ranking, it’s now around #8).

Best things in life are FREE, so Card Games Chest is FREE for your entertainment.

Card Games Chest for Windows 8

Card Games Chest for Windows Phone

My goal is to help startups and developers building great popular products for Windows Phone and Windows 8, I hope to hear your success stories!

 

Playing Cards on Windows 8

 

When you start the Game Chest for Windows 8, notice how it opens with a beautiful graphics and smooth transition? I worked hard on this animation, making everything, including coffee stains on the cards Smile No worries, stains are decaf (and even built with vector graphics), but I hope you like the quality and notice that every little detail is taken care of. And yes, the design is made in sunny California. 

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Beautiful Games for Modern Metro

 

After the splash screen, you can jump right into action: the Metro design language likes flat minimalistic images and even though games are in a special category for Metro design, I wanted to follow Metro design language as much as possible. You’ll find plenty of examples of games that use highly customized graphics, there’s nothing wrong with it, in fact many games can benefit from immersive game-specific experience. But Card Games Chest shows off Metro, and I hope you like it. So, no shadows or borders here Smile

Card Games Chest for Windows 8 currently has 5 very original and fun games, and will be adding more by the time Windows 8 comes out in the final release. So you can stick the live tile to the chest to your Start screen: these games are there to stay and become richer and more beautiful, with your support and motivation Smile Without further ado, let’s play Crazy Eights!

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Notice that the game screen is also flat and very Metro looking. Cards are clean and simple (I designed the cards from scratch, mostly because I wanted them to look good on Windows Phone, and also to follow the Metro digital style). All design is based on vector graphics, so I can easily scale the assets to multiple devices and resolutions in Windows. Working on good quality assets and design is 90% of work in game development. I built software for years, and I know that, but looking back at the number of backup folders I have and the original assets, I can assure you: Metro simplicity requires a lot of thinking and work.

Contracts

Let’s review the Windows 8 contracts that the game supports. My games currently support Sharing and Settings contracts, and I’ll be adding more in the follow up releases, so watch for changes!

 

Share Contract

The Share contract is one of the best and newest Windows features. Let’s say you want your app to share an achievement, so your app becomes a sharing source. You don’t need to learn APIs or include libraries to your app, Windows 8 allows other apps to expose the fact that they can do what they are best at: sharing that whatever your source app wants to share, a URL, an image or some text or HTML. Here my Card Games Chest sharing achievements with Mail app, People app and WordPress app ready to take the job:

 

Options

Options is also implemented as a Settings contract. According to Metro UX guidelines, settings changes should be applied instantly. So, when you change the sound setting, make sure that the sound is instantly updated for your app.

About

The Settings contract includes an About and Options flyouts. Note the About contract on the right. I also placed a Microsoft tag on the contract, because many Windows users will be choosing Windows Phone as a companion device, and scanning the tag with a Phone immediately gets you to mobile versions of my games.

 

Multiple Resolutions and Orientations in Windows 8

Card Games Chest for Windows 8 makes a great use of snapping mode. In fact I want users to play cards even if they are watching stocks, working with Excel, or do other serious things Smile After all, we keep playing games, so the snapping mode is the must for any game developer. It’s up-to you how you implement that mode, but Card Games Chest handles it beautifully by offering a fully functional game you can play even on a small screen. Here, Card Games Chest for Windows 8 is snapped alongside the Finance app.

 

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Finance and games, obviously they should be right next to each other!

 

Mobile versions for Windows Phone

 

Great news! You can use your Windows Phone to scan your Windows 8 page and immediately download Windows Phone versions of these games. You can even try it on this page right now, just click hard search button on Windows Phone, then click an eye icon, and Windows Phone immediately starts scanning the tags on the image below:

This is what it looks like when Windows Phone scans tags: you can then immediately click on the links and Windows Phone will take you directly to the games in Windows Phone marketplace!

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And this is what a developer workstation looks like for Windows 8 in case you’re curious. At the bottom I have a Samsung Series 7 tablet with a dock and the second monitor (touchscreen), connected via HDMI, and my HP laptop (touchscreen) is right next to it.

 

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Enjoy the games and tell me about your experience!

Card Games Chest for Windows 8

Card Games Chest for Windows Phone

 

Video Teaser

I hope you enjoy these games, so here’s also a YouTube video. 

 

Building and playing games for Windows 8

Enjoy the games!