You may be building great apps and games but don't forget to add the features that will make them shine

You may be building great apps and games but don't forget to add the features that will make them shine

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So this week has been really busy, I have been presenting at events the length and breadth of the UK. On Thursday and Friday I has the pleasure of attending Euro Gamer 2012, to represent Microsoft at the Games Industry Fair.  During Euro gamer event we demonstrated Windows 8 and the games from the Train 2 game World Record gameathon teams,  we also demoed new games from number of UK Indie development studios who will be launching new titles aimed specifically for the Windows 8 platform for the Launch of Windows 8.

GamesIndustry

On Friday I attend the Careers & Education panel discussions representing Microsoft on the Game in Education discussion panel which took place in front of hundreds of eager students and graduates who want to get into the industry. The video recording of the panel discussion will be available at http://www.gamesindustry.biz/fair#home

One of the key questions the panel received was how do you get into the industry? Well the simply answer from all the members was to get yourself noticed!

To help provide some guidance have a look at the following presentation which highlights some of the opportunities for building games and entering competitions such as Microsoft’s Imagine Cup or UK specific competition such as Search for a Star. For guidance on the skills you need for development take a look at this post.

    

 

Another question was ‘How do I make my app/game shine/standout in the marketplace?’

Here a deck to guide you through some great examples of functionality you should add to a Windows 8 game

  
For more specific details on building great games for Windows 8 see http://www.ubelly.com/gaming

The following are a simply checklist of features you should consider and test in the development of your Windows 8 application or game.

Windows 8 life cycle

lifecycleIt's important to understand the life cycle process of Windows 8 and handle this in your code. When a user taps on an application to launch it, it is activated and enters Running mode. If the user closes the application it will be terminated. But what if the user user hits the Windows key and launches another application, or simply navigates to another application? In this case, the previous application will go to Suspended mode. In suspended mode, the application does not consume any CPU,but it will lose state, so you may need to add code to remember state when the app enters the suspended state. You will also want to add code in the Activated event handler to reload state when the user returns to the application

Contracts

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Implement search contract
Let your users quickly search through your app's content from anywhere in the system, including from within other apps. And vice versa. For more info, see Adding search.

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Implement Share contract
Let your users share content from your app with other people through other apps, and receive shareable content from other people and apps, too. For more info, see Adding share.

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Implement Play To contract
Let your users enjoy audio, video, or images streamed from your app to other devices in their home network.For more info, see Streaming media to devices using Play To.

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File picker and file picker extensions
Let your users load and save their files from the local file system, connected storage devices, HomeGroup, or even other apps. You can also provide a file picker extension so that other apps can load your app's content.

For more info, see App contracts and extensions.

Different views

Full

Full Screen  View - App fills entire screen

Snip

Snap View  - App is snapped to a narrow region of the entire screen

Fill

Fill View - App fills remaining screen area not occupied by the app in the snapped state.

IC536102 - Copy

Landscape View

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Portrait View

For more info, see Supporting multiple views and Choosing a layout.

 

Toast notifications
Let your users know about time-sensitive or personally relevant content through toast notifications and invite them back to your app even when your app is closed.Learn more about tiles, badges, and toast notifications. move to the 3rd app

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Secondary tiles
Promote interesting content and deep links from your app on the Start screen, and let your users launch your app directly into a specific page or view.Learn more about secondary tiles.

livetiles


App tiles
Provide fresh and relevant updates to entice users back into your app.Learn more about app tiles.
more up

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Animation
Use our library of animations to make your app feel fast and fluid. Help users understand context changes and tie experiences together with visual transitions. Learn more about animating your UI.

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Personalization

settings


Settings contract
Let your users create the experience they want by saving app settings. Consolidate all of your settings under one roof, and users can configure your app via a common mechanism that they are already familiar with.Learn more about Adding app settings.


Roaming
Create a continuous experience across devices by roaming data that lets people pick up a task right where they left off, and preserves the UX they care most about, regardless of the device they're using. Make it easy for users to use your app everywhere, from their kitchen family PC to their work PC to their personal tablet, by maintaining settings and states with roaming.Learn more about Managing application data and see Guidelines for roaming application data.


User tiles
Make your app more personal to your users by loading their user tile image, or let the users set content from your app as their personal tile throughout Windows.


Touch gestures
Let your users connect devices, by physically tapping them together, to light up experiences where you expect multiple users to be physically nearby (multiplayer games). Learn more about proximity and tapping.

touch


Cameras and storage devices
Connect your users to their built-in or plugged-in cameras for chatting and conferencing, recording vlogs, taking profile pics, documenting the world around them, or whatever activity your app is great at. Learn more about Accessing content on removable storage.

camera


Accelerometers and other sensors
Devices come with a number of sensors nowadays. Your app can dim or brighten the display based on ambient light, or reflow the UI if the user rotates the display, or react to any physical movement. Learn more about sensors.


Geolocation
Use geolocation information from standard web data or from geolocation sensors to help your users get around, find their position on a map, or get notices about nearby people, activities, and destinations.Learn more about geolocation.

Other

semantic

Semantic zoom if you have more than 4-5 groups.
Semantic zoom makes scanning and moving around a view fast and fluid, especially when the view is a long panning list.

Offline mode
Users to have better experience using your app, then your app should supports an offline mode where your application will load previous data.

Commands for a particular view/ page are in the App bar
The app bar contains transient access to commands relevant to a particular view.

Scale to different  screens resolution
Design an app UI that looks great on devices of various sizes—from a small tablet screen, to a medium laptop screen, and all the way up to a large desktop or all-in-one screen. See Guidelines for scaling to screens.

For more information on what to consider when designing a Windows 8 app refer to the Detailed UX guidelines for Windows 8 style apps.

If you would like to attend a FREE Windows 8 training camp please see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8/

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