# Monday, 25 November 2013
Monday, 25 November 2013 21:46:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Road Runner Jump is a simple game in which the classic Looney Tunes speedster runs to his right and jumps from platform to platform. The player gets points by advancing further to the right without falling into the gaps between the platform.

The game could be improved by adding animations or by adding some obstacles or more complex achievements. Still, it is a fun little time-waster that takes almost no time to learn (pressing any key causes Road Runner to jump).

On the plus side, this app is free and contains no ads.

You can download this Road Runner Jump at http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/007B8B3B-68F8-4C63-A0F6-0D548CDBF469.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013 19:55:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 03:06:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Knave Blackjack was created by my friend Jason Follas. It realistically mimics the experience of playing blackjack in a casino, down to the texture on the table and the sound of the cards flipping out as they are dealt.

In its simplest form, the player receives 2 cards and elects to hit (accept another card) or stand (keep and play the cards dealt). The player competes against the dealer for the highest score without exceeding 21. 

However, there are multiple options that allow you to add more players; change dealer defaults; and even select the dealer's next card by clicking a spinning deck. The game also includes information to help you learn blackjack, such as a "Hint" button; a "Strategy" diagram, indicating recommended moves based on the player's cards and the dealer's visible card; and a "How to Play" button that explains the rules of blackjack and this video simulation.

The free version shows an ad on the left, but you can pay $1.49 to remove all ads.

I found Knave Blackjack fun and educational, particularly for those of us who don't play blackjack very often. You can download this game at http://www.knave21.com/index.html.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013 20:31:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 11 November 2013
Monday, 11 November 2013 23:05:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 08 November 2013

Earlier this year, I wrote a Windows Phone app. I had to register for the Windows Phone store (and pay $19) so that others could download my app. Later in the year I wrote a Windows 8 app and registered for the Windows 8 store (for an extra $49).

Registering for these stores was not a huge chore and the cost was still cheaper than the iOS store. But this process just became much simpler and much cheaper. Microsoft announced this week that developers can register for both the Windows store and the Windows Phone store for a single annual fee of $19.

If you are already registered for one of these stores, you will automatically have access to the other; and, if you've registered for both (like me), you receive an additional year for free.

Full details of these changes can be found at http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/appbuilder/archive/2013/11/06/unifying-developer-registration-windows-and-windows-phone.aspx

This is good news for people like me who like processes to be simple and fees to be low. It removes much of the friction of publishing an app.

Friday, 08 November 2013 06:01:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 05 November 2013

Word Guesser is a simple 2-player Windows 8 game. Player 1 enters a word and player 2 tries to guess the word in as few attempts as possible. The only clues are that the word is between 2 other words in the dictionary. The boundary words are refined with each guess.

This looks like a fun game for children of elementary school age. I can see this game as a good one to hand to kids on a long car trip. It can help to teach both vocabulary (assuming you are providing challenging words) and the concept of a binary search algorithm.

Download Word Guesser at http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/b85001c1-0782-4d4a-af96-caf23d56806e


Have you written a Windows 8 app or downloaded an app that you would like to see featured here? I will give preference to apps written in the US Central District after July 1.

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 22:44:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 04 November 2013
Monday, 04 November 2013 18:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 02 November 2013

Yesterday was my first solo flight for the Microsoft DPE team.

I've been at Microsoft over 2 weeks and I've spent my time learning technologies, filling out forms, learning about the company, and shadowing other evangelists.

But yesterday, I traveled to DeVry University in Tinley Park, IL to teach students how to build games for Windows 8.

The hosts at DeVry were great. They were extremely nice, they accommodated every request I made, they made sure the room was set up properly, and they even bought me lunch (Aurelo's Pizza is to die for, BTW).

I built a sample application of a game in which a player shoots monsters that chase him around a 2D landscape. We used the Construct2 game engine from Scirra Ltd - an impressive tool for building such games. The students followed along with my demo and built the project with me.

The students were great. About 30 high school students traveled to DeVry by bus and 4 DeVry students were in the audience. I was impressed that they not only picked up the tool and the concepts, but that they extended my demo - modifying the game in clever ways. One student flipped the game around so that the monster was shooting attacking humans; another bundled multiple players together so that he fired 10 rounds at once; another replaced all the game characters with NBA players. I was delighted to see so much creativity from high school students.

It wasn't all smooth sailing.  When I arrived, I discovered the only browsers on the student machines were IE8 and Firefox 3. Since these browsers don't support the HTML5 features of the Construct game, we could not use them. But the DeVry IT department quickly fixed this and I now have one more detail to add to the classroom setup sheet I hand to the next event organizer.

I was excited to get my first event out of the way successfully and I'm looking forward to the next thousand events.

Saturday, 02 November 2013 18:42:20 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 28 October 2013
Monday, 28 October 2013 14:41:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)