Tips and Tricks from Students: Windows Phone Game “Flipper”

395197_375835345775252_332666150092172_1496010_1649989891_n[1]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)


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