Category Archives: Windows

Gender of Windows 8 gamers

I am not quite sure how Microsoft goes about collecting this information (and it is clearly incomplete), but for Windows 8 apps developers are provided with the breakdown of who downloaded their apps. The two charts below show the gender distribution for the two most popular Ebscer games on the Windows 8 store. As you can see, the two games show very different results.
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These stats were collected by Microsoft for downloads of the games Pixelated and Xploding Boxes over the past 12 months.

10 new levels for Xploding Boxes

Nexus4It has been a few months since the last update, but Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 4.7 in order to bring the total number of levels up to 410.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry, Android, Nook, Windows 8, and BlackBerry 10 where the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while a one time in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while maintaining your progress from the free levels.

Links & Information

Pixelated Shapes now available for Windows 8

Pixelated Shapes has now been released for Windows 8 tablets. Pixelated Shapes is an addictive game of strategy and colour that takes the traditional Pixelated concept into new shapes such as Triangles and Hexagons. This version of the game includes all of the same features of the BlackBerry and Android versions of the app.

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About Pixelated Shapes

Pixelated Shapes is a twist on the classic version of Pixelated that replaces the familiar squares with triangles and hexagons. The object of the game is to get the screen a single color by slowly growing a blob out of the upper left hand corner by matching it to the colors of the surrounding shapes. This is done repeatedly until either the game is won, or you run out of moves. Under the default settings you must clear the screen in 29 moves or less in order to win. A one time in-app upgrade can allow you to adjust the difficult, switch color schemes, change to different game modes, and get an indicator giving you the number of remaining moves.

Links & Information

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10 more levels for Starbeams

IMG_00000022With the release of version 1.4 Starbeams has gotten ten additional levels, bringing the total up to 140. In addition to the new levels the Windows 8 version of the game has been modified in order to support a larger variety of screen resolutions.

About Starbeams

The object of the game is to assign colors to each star in order to ensure that none of the stars are connected to another star of the same color. The game starts off easy, but quickly gets more complex, adding more colors and seven pointed stars that can not be changed.

Links & Information

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Pixelated upgraded to version 3.5

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Pixelated and Pixelated Plus have been upgraded to version 3.5 for BlackBerry, Nook, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. All platforms now support a new neon color scheme that is available to users who have purchased the paid version of the app. The Windows Phone, Windows 8, and BlackBerry OS versions of the app all have a reduced footprint. Additionally the Windows Phone version has been given better support for users running a bright theme on their device.

New for BlackBerry 10

The BlackBerry 10 version of the game now starts up 12% quicker, and also has a new HDMI mode. This new feature (demonstrated in the video below) allows you to use your phone as a remote controller for the game which will be displayed on an external screen. Once the screen is disconnected the game can resume on your phone like normal.

How to Play Pixelated

Pixelated is an addictive puzzle based strategy game that requires a mixture of skill and luck in order to accomplish. The object of the game is to change the colour of the squares until the entire screen is a single solid colour. Starting with the square in the upper left corner you can change the colour of the blocks in order to match that of the surrounding squares. This is done repeatedly until the entire screen is a single colour. The object of the game is to clear the screen in as few moves as possible. Under the default settings you must do so in under 22 moves in order to win. The game is controlled by the large colored blocks at the bottom of the screen.

Links & Information

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Stuff I Need for Windows Phone 8 updated to version 2.2.1

2.2.1.DropDownThe free Stuff I Need checklist app has received a major upgrade for Windows Phone 8 users. This update adds the ability to manage multiple lists and gives the app full parity with the BlackBerry 10 version. By default users are given the option to create up to two named lists, but can create an unlimited number of different lists following a one time in-app purchase.

About Stuff I Need

Originally conceived as a grocery list app, this minimalistic checklist app can be used to keep track of the stuff you need to get, or the stuff that you need to do. Items on the list can be edited (or deleted) by giving them a long press. Lists can be switched by pulling down on the tab at the top of the screen. This will expose a spinner that shows all of your lists. New lists can be created by tapping the “+” button on the right side of the expanded tab.

Links & Information

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Stuff I Need updated on Windows Phone

2.2.1.AddNew2The Stuff I Need app has been updated to version 1.3 for Windows Phone users. This update applies both to users of Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 and includes a complete visual refresh in order to allow the app to truly embrace the dark theme that the app uses. Additionally the options page now includes an option to uncheck all items in the current list.

About the app

Originally conceived as a grocery list app, this minimalistic checklist can be used to keep track of the stuff you need to get, or the stuff that you need to do. Items on the list can be edited (or deleted) by giving them a long press.

Links & Information

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Projectile Physics also available for Windows Phone and Android

dataAfter launching last week for BlackBerry 10, the Projectile Physics app has been updated in order to also support both Android and Windows Phone.

About Projectile Physics

This app is a projectile physics calculator designed to solve for all of the components of a typical projectile motion problem. The app solves for both the vertical and horizontal components of the distance traveled, the constant acceleration, the initial and final velocity, as well as the time. These factors are solved for in real time in order to help you get back the factors of the equation quicker.

Links & Information

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Forcing a dark theme on Windows Phone

Despite the fact that it looks terrible, Windows Phone offers users the ability to place their phones into a light theme. For any app that applies a specific color or background anywhere, testing against this theme is a critical step before submitting a new application, and is almost guaranteed to cause a few headaches.

While BlackBerry 10 allows you to force a dark theme for your app with a single line of XML, for Windows Phone you need to force individual components into a dark theme. For the most part this is done by remembering to explicitly set your background and foreground colors for every component, this can usually be done either in XAML or in C#. Below is an example of setting the colors for the ApplicationBar in C#.

ApplicationBar appBar = new ApplicationBar();
appBar.BackgroundColor = Color.FromArgb(255, 0, 0, 0);
appBar.ForegroundColor = Color.FromArgb(255, 255, 255, 255);
ApplicationBar = appBar;

Setting the SystemTray to a dark theme requires a bit a more unique approach, where you add attributes to the root element of the main PhoneApplicationPage in XAML. As seen in the following lines of code.

shell:SystemTray.BackgroundColor="Black"
shell:SystemTray.ForegroundColor="FloralWhite"

Also note that you can not set the SystemTray ForegroundColor to exactly white. It can be very close to white such as a very light gray, or the FloralWhite that I used, but it can not be exactly white. While the small print of Microsoft’s documentation is very clear on this, the reason why seems to be a complete mystery.

Free Jack-O-Lantern app now on Windows Phone

1After adding support for BlackBerry 10 a week ago, the Jack-O-Lantern app has now also added support for Windows Phone as well.

About the Jack-O-Lantern App

This application is designed to turn your phone into a virtual Jack-O-Lantern in order to help you celebrate Halloween. You can change the Jack-O-Lantern’s face by swiping in different designs from the left and right for the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can also change the back light colour of the design by tapping on the screen.

Links & Information

More levels for Starbeams

IMG_00000024Starbeams has been expanded to 130 levels in version 1.3 and is available for download in BlackBerry World and the Windows 8 Store.

About Starbeams

The object of the game is to assign colors to each star in order to ensure that none of the stars are connected to another star of the same color. The game starts off easy, but quickly gets more complex, adding more colors and seven pointed stars that can not be changed.

New in Version 1.3

This versions adds levels 121-130 to the game. Additionally the game has been optimized so that the install size is smaller, and the app has a quicker start-up time.

Links & Information

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How Microsoft’s reorganization may help

Earlier this week I wrote at The Gadget Masters about the recent reorganization at the company.

Despite both platforms supporting C# and the .NET framework, writing code for Windows Phone and for Windows 8 is very different. I have released the game Pixelated for both Windows Phone and for Windows 8, yet despite both being written in C# there is shockingly little code in common between them. This is a direct result of Microsoft’s divisional structure.

The dream for developers is that Microsoft’s reorganization will result in a more consistent set of UI tools for writing apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and for Xbox.

Read the full article at The Gadget Masters website.

Xploding Boxes reaches 400 levels

IMG_00000017Xploding Boxes has been updated to version 4.6 in order to expand to 400 unique levels. The game supports BlackBerry phones both with and without touchscreens all the way back to OS 5.0 as well as BlackBerry 10, and the PlayBook, in addition to support for Android phones and tablets (including the Nook and Kindle), and also supports Windows 8 devices such as the surface.

About Xploding Boxes

Xploding Boxes is a strategy game for BlackBerry, Android, Nook, Windows 8, and BlackBerry 10 where the goal of the game is to start a chain reaction that will explode all of the boxes on the screen. Each level gives you a different number of touches, and requires a different strategy to solve.

The game itself, and the first 25 levels are available for free, while an in-app purchase can be used to access the rest of the levels for just $2.99 while maintaining your progress from the free levels.

Links & Information

10 new levels for Starbeams

IMG_00000051Starbeams has been updated to version 1.2 in BlackBerry World and the Windows 8 Store. This new version adds 10 new levels and the BlackBerry 10 version also gets a swipe-down menu.

About Starbeams

The object of the game is to assign colors to each star in order to ensure that none of the stars are connected to another star of the same color. The game starts off easy, but quickly gets more complex, adding more colors and seven pointed stars that can not be changed.IMG_00000052

New in Version 1.2

This versions adds levels 111-120 to the game. Additionally there is now a swipe-down menu that allows you to restart the current level or view the how to play information. Users of the Q10 or Q5 can also restart the current level by using the ‘R’ shortcut key.

Links & Information

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