My name is Martin. I’m one of the developers of the so called Windows Phone game FlyingTiles (see previous blog post on FlyingTiles for additional information about the app). Below, I will share the experiences that I had with Microsoft as well as the development for Windows Phone.
Some information about myself
My enthusiasm for technology developed at a young age. Windows 95 was my first introduction to Windows software. In 2003, age 10, I got my first computer and my first mobile phone a short time after that. Some years later I was introduced to programming through a friend, who is actually the second developer of FlyingTiles. I bought a book with the basics of C# and programmed my first small applications for Windows. I even took a Computer Science course in school and thus improved my skills.
At the beginning of 2011, I heard about Windows Phone. My buddy pointed this out to me, explaining that it is very easy to develop applications for this system. A short time later I purchased my first phone, an HTC Mozart 7. I developed my first application quickly and placed it in the Marketplace. The enthusiasm was very big from the beginning because it’s really easy with the developer tools to design applications and to write the code behind it. My buddy, at the same time, developed some apps and games. In fall 2011, I started my study of Computer Science at the Technical University of Munich. As part of a bachelor course, "Development for Windows Phone" my friend and I created the idea for FlyingTiles.
The Development of FlyingTiles
The DevelopmenAfter the idea of the game was developed, we spent a weekend developing the basic building blocks for our game. We came up with the name "FlyingTiles" at that time. We are very pleased with the entire Metro design and wanted to program a game that accurately reflects this. It was a great moment when the first square flew across the screen. We tried to realize all our ideas. A global high score list was important for us from the beginning, because this challenges and provides an incentive to players. At the end of 2011, our beta version was placed in the Marketplace. The first reviews of users were taken into consideration and the outcome turned out surprisingly well. This increased our motivation and in a short time we were able to accomplish many of our ideas. Feedback from our users created some interesting and exciting features.
At the end of the bachelor course we did a presentation for our university and this included a few representatives from Microsoft. For example, the manager of Windows Phone Germany, Frank Fischer, attended the presentation. He was very pleased with our game.
We now have almost 10,000 users worldwide. We hope that this number is still growing considerably in the near future.
Hurdles in the Development Process
Not everything always went as planned. This game moved more and more towards functionality, so we had to repeatedly change our whole system. This was very expensive but also absolutely necessary. Furthermore, we tried to get by as long as possible without financial expense. We did everything on our own, the graphics, the sounds, the promotion and the support. We only had to buy our phones ;)
Unfortunately, our users were not always satisfied. Since we are only the two of us, it is of course very difficult for us to test all functions of the game extensively. So now and then some bugs in updates occur. One, for example, we’ve had problems with the built-in advertising. After playing for a few seconds, the app always ended by itself. We did not notice before the release of the updates, because we ourselves have only the full version without advertising on our phones.
But over time we have learned a lot and now know what we need to keep an eye on.
I'm not quite sure what I want to do after my studies. As I am more the project manager in our development than the programmer, I wish to go more towards management; ideally, of course at Microsoft. But until then, it will take a long time...
In the near future we intend to publish our game for Windows 8 and therefore we hope to fill more people with enthusiasm. It's just a wonderful feeling to give other people something that they enjoy, to see how all over the world our game is played, to write and communicate with our users and to tell the public our own experiences. Even though our game is currently relatively unknown, we would like to reach even more people with it. That would be a great reward for our work.
The free version of FlyingTiles is available here. The paid version is available here.