Build-A-Game Workshops, Oct. 26th

Both Josh and I are hosting hands-on Windows 8 workshops this weekend – he in Farmington and I in Cambridge; each runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Microsoft offices at those locations. We’ll both be covering Scirra Construct 2, a fantastic tool to build HTML5 games that you can deploy to Windows 8 (and Windows Phone) whether you’ve been a developer for years or are just getting started.

Build a Game with Construct 2

To make the most of the workshop, be sure to have your laptop set up before hand (see below), and if you need some help doing so, note that there are Studio Time opportunities in both Farmington and Cambridge before Saturday’s events.

  1. Mac users only: Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, VirtualBox or VMWare Fusion
  2. Windows 8 (a 90-day evaluation version available here)
  3. Visual Studio 2012 Professional (free for DreamSpark or MSDN subscribers) or Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 (free for anyone)
  4. Scirra Construct 2 (free version)

Publish Your Own "LetterMan" in the Windows Store

Ok, I admit it: LetterMan holds a special place in my heart. It was the first app I published in the Windows Store, and it’s how I cut my teeth on Scirra’s Construct 2.

LetterMan was also the basis of four additional apps I published, each leveraging the same game logic but offering bilingual play in English and each of Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, and German (all with the help of volunteer translators).  Together, I’ve had more than 4000 downloads and 22 ratings with an average of about 3.75. Alas these are free apps, so I haven’t yet quit my day job!

Screenshot from German version of LetterMan

I had grand plans for a Latin version and even a “geek” version, but also realized there are a host of other apps that could arise – fueled by all of you multi-linguists out there.

So rather that hoard all the fun myself, I’ve open“open-sourced” the template I used for each of these applications and provided detailed instructions for you to create your own localized versions of the game and likewise get published in the Windows Store.

You’ll need to do a bit of work translating some text and, of course, finding images of objects starting with the various letters of your target language’s alphabet, but there are lot of public domain and Creative Commons repositories that can help (assuming you’re as graphically challenged as I).

For my apps, I made heavy use of the following sites for the graphics and background music:

  • clker.com – for vector-based, public domain clip art (there’s even an in-browser SVG editor you can use to make modifications to existing assets)
  • soundbible.com – sound effects (public domain and Creative Commons)
  • incompetech.com – royalty-free background music requiring only attribution within the application (something already accounted for in the template)

I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with, so be sure to add a comment to this blog post if you’re planning to undertake a new language version. And definitely let me know when your app is live in the store!

Lastly, don’t hesitate to drop me a note if something about the template or the instructions isn’t clear.

Publish Your First Game – Hartford, Sept. 28

I am somewhat of a rarity – a geek that’s not really a gamer (well, unless you count Wordament with my 40 1st place finishes, w00t!), but for those of you that are and/or aspire to bring your own game concepts to life, plan to attend the FREE Windows 8 Game Development for Beginners workshop this Saturday, Sept. 28th, at the Microsoft Farmington Office.

Even if you have no software development background, you’ll be able to quickly grasp how to create a casual game using Construct 2 and package it for submission to the Windows Store. I’ve done that a few times – check out Letterman for instance, but don’t be fooled by how simplistic that one looks. With the same tool, another developer (with considerably more artistic skills than I) created the stunning Mortar Melon app (below) that’s on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Mortar Melon - built with Construct 2

So set aside a few hours this coming Saturday (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.), bring your laptop with Windows 8 (or even Windows 7), and join me and Josh for a fun and informative session.

Lunch is on us!

And if you have teens or preteens that might be interested in taking part bring them along too. At past workshops in Farmington and elsewhere, we’ve had several parent-child teams participate. After all, the family that codes together….