Categories
Mobile Application Development University

Exams, Downloads and Development

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but at least that shows I’ve been busy :).

Last Monday I had my exam for Quantitative Methods for Computing, having spent the previous weekend solidly revising I think it went pretty well. Not as badly as I’d expected, not as well as I’d hoped but good enough to get me a good grade in the module overall I think.

Since then I’ve been working on some of my applications. I’ve implemented Photo Highscores into Sweepy Cleaner and Evil Squash 2 and got a lot of the features working in my Hull Computer Science Blog application which displays the blogs of all the computer scientists at my university as well as shows off some featured applications by students in a random order and allows users to go directly to their Marketplace page to download them.

Speaking of the marketplace I’m very happy to announce that Sweepy Cleaner has had over 200 downloads already — 218 to be precise — and has been enjoyed and reviewed by people as far away as America and Australia. ūüôā

Tomorrow I have my programming 2 examination, having looked over the previous 3 years’ past papers I don’t think I have anything to worry about. Programming the apps I just mentioned has almost been like revision —¬†there’s¬†nothing quite like doing something in order to revise it.

Thats all for now,

Danny

Categories
Mobile Application Development Programming

Announcing Evil Squash 2

Yesterday I received an email from the people who run the Widows Phone Marketplace telling me that, unfortunately, Sweepy Cleaner had been rejected from the store because under certain circumstances the application exited unexpectedly. I have since fixed the bug and resubmitted the application for testing and hopefully it will be available on the store sometime early next week, of course the blog will be updated when that time comes.

Undeterred by this I have started working on Evil Squash 2. I posted on Facebook that I felt I should have a funny sub-title and suggested “Evil Squash 2 : The Return of Random Rodney”, and in return had¬†several¬†“good” suggestions from my fellow Computer Scientists:

  • Evil Squash 2: Double Concentrate
  • Evil Squash 2: Electric Boogaloo
  • Evil Squash 2: Revenge of Dust
    (In some alternate universe where Sweepy Cleaner joins up with Evil Squash)
  • Evil Squash 10: Turing Complete
  • Evil squash 13: So you to can reboot an 8 bit computer
    (in reference to Apollo 13)
  • Evil Squash 2: And Why Not?

In the end I decided it was best to simply go with Evil Squash 2 ūüėČ

The update is mainly graphical, although I hope to add some new game mechanics as well as the new highscores feature you can see in the above image, the main change is that instead of being a Silverlight Windows Phone 7 application, the type more suited to applications than games, its now an XNA game, which makes doing a lot of the work and graphics easier, meaning its easier to maintain and update in the future.

Expect it to be out in the marketplace soon.

Danny

Categories
Mobile Application Development

Evil Squash for Windows Phone 7 Usage Statistics at (just over) 100 Downloads

I’ve always quite enjoyed reading Rick Brewsters¬†usage statistics blog posts for Paint.NET¬†so I thought it might be interesting to write a similar post about Evil Squash on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. I reached a milestone earlier this month of 100 downloads (not bad for an application that was originally intended to only be part of my coursework.) So here it goes:

Downloads by Market (Country)

Unsurprisingly most of my Downloads are from the United Kingdom with 56 out of a total of 112 coming from the UK.

Just behind this is the United States with 51 Downloads.

The third and last market with any downloads is rather surprising, Hong Kong with just 5.

Interestingly enough, though the app is available in Canada and Australia not a single download has taken place in either country.

Downloads by Day

As you can see from the feature image of this post most people downloaded the app immediately after its¬†availability, probably due to being high in the “new games” section of the marketplace. Since then downloads have¬†slowly¬†trailed off, but this is to be expected.

The Future

Having started the application off as a Silverlight based app I have decided to move over to XNA which will more easily allow me to more easily¬†implement¬†some more of the features I want to be in the game (including the AI doing their own moves, Animations etc). The only issue is, I’ve never used XNA… yet. So I’m steadily¬†learning from Rob Miles XNA 4.0 book.

The next version of Evil Squash will also have social network integration so you can boast of your wins.

Thats all for now,
Danny.

Categories
Mobile Application Development

Evil Squash Now Available on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

As you can see from the above screenshot of the Marketplace in Zune “Evil Squash” is now¬†available¬†for download for all Windows Phone 7 Devices in:

  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Australia
  • Hong Kong
  • Canada

You can download the application here: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/apps/0a9eeacc-8343-4c4c-ac5e-7b40487c8762 (Requires a Windows Live ID)

I hope you have fun with Evil Squash. If you have any suggestions or bug reports feel free to contact me.

That’s all for now,
Danny.

Categories
Mobile Application Development

Evil Squash Accepted to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

Some of you may recall that in order to keep my Samsung Focus Flash my Evil Squash application had to be accepted onto the Windows Phone Marketplace by 23rd December (Today!). I had been somewhat worried about this¬†happening¬†seems as the application had already been denied twice due to¬†relatively¬†minor things (I’d mis-typed a link, which caused an application crash for my first rejection and I had debug information in 2 of my screenshots to be displayed on the Marketplace for my second rejection).

Fortunately I was contacted by Grace, a Microsoft Representative, informing me that I would be able to keep my device if the application was on some time soon as they could see I’d made the effort to get it in the store. I must say that Microsoft have treated me very well, and they’re a pleasure to work with.

In the end this didn’t matter because today I¬†received¬†an Email saying that Evil Squash had been accepted into the marketplace and would be¬†available¬†to the public soon (I’ll post as soon as I notice its¬†available.)

The screenshot you can see above shows the developer dashboard at create.msdn.com which shows that my app has successfully passed all 3 stages of certification.

Thats all for now,
Danny.

Categories
Leaving Home Life

Won a Samsung Focus Flash & Went House Hunting

Today’s¬†been a pretty good day! A few days ago I entered a competition held by Microsoft Students UK, the details of which you can see here¬†and today I¬†received¬†confirmation that I had won a phone with my submission of Evil Squash :). I think its pretty good when you do a coursework, get a grade of 96% for it and then win a ¬£400 phone for it! So glad I took computer science ūüėõ

I spent a lot of the day after receiving the news adding in multi-tasking support to my application in order to ready it for submission to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

At 5 I went for a somewhat hurried dinner and then got on the bus for hull to go house hunting! This was a new¬†experience¬†for me having never lived in a house away from my home in¬†Dunstable¬†before and¬†I¬†must say I enjoyed it. We’re looking for a house of 8 people and the first property we were shown was 2 sets of 4 person flats next to each other. I wasn’t too keen on these as they were quite far away from the uni and I felt a little cramp, even though they were well maintained.

The second property we looked at was an 8 Person house much closer to the uni and I thought it was fantastic! The rooms were spacious, the utilities were modern and the deal included unlimited internet a TV license and a TV for around ¬£84 a month. Not too shabby. ūüôā

Gallery of the 8 Bedroom House

That sums up my day really,
Danny.

Categories
University

Evil Squash Demonstration

Today at 5:00 it was my turn to do my Evil Squash Presentation and get graded on my ACW 2 for programming which counts towards my module grade. This consisted of showing Rob Miles making sure my game worked according to a test sequence we had been given and conformed to the specification, then looking at my enhancements and finally looking at my evidence of testing and user documentation (effectively a manual).

Fortunately, my game worked correctly on the test sequence and had all aspects that we had to have from the specification, this was necessary for the first 40% of the grade. We could gain a maximum of an additional 20% for enhancements, but I had added more than enough enhancements to get that including;

  1. AI Players (worth 15%)
  2. Sound Effects (worth 5%)
  3. Windows Phone 7 Silverlight Graphical User Interface (GUI) (most people did console based games) (worth 15%)
  4. “Photocounters” (allowing the user to take a picture of themselves to be used as their counter on the board) (worth 5%)

The user documentation and test report were worth 10% of the total grade each and rob seemed happy with both, except that my test report wasn’t quite detailed enough, this is where I lost 4% of the total grade.

So overall I got 96% for ACW 2 for programming! Cant ask for much more than that ūüėÄ Good times.

Danny.

Categories
University

Evil Squash WP7 beta on App Hub

Just a quick post to show you all that Evil Squash WP7 is finished, bar me adding a few more¬†enhancements¬†(shake phone to roll, sound effects for bounce and squash). Its on app hub so that anyone who i give permission to can download and run it, then — if it crashes ill get a report explaining why ūüôā

Thats all for now,

Danny.

Categories
University

Expect Evil Squash WP7 Soon!

Not too much to report from the past few days, hence the lack of posts.

Thursday we had a module exam for computer systems, the results for which remain to be seen. There were a lot of questions on turing machines… which we hadn’t covered in any of our lectures. So I’m not sure how well I’ve done. Other than that I’ve been doing a lot of work on my Windows Phone 7 version of evil squash, as well as playing XBOX round Simons house.

So, you can expect Evil Squash to be in the Windows Phone marketplace soon!

Danny

Categories
University

University of Hull Windows Phone Camp

(Above you can see my Windows Phone 7 Version of Programming 1 ACW2 game Evil Squash – The first screen shows the set up page where players select the number of human and computer players – The second screen shows the page where users enter their name and select the name of the AI player they want to play against. The third page is the actual Game UI)

Today was good fun, it all started with a somewhat boring IT and Professionalism lecture however which was about¬†Computer Misuse & Software Liability and Contracts. After this we had a two hour break in which I worked on my Windows Phone 7 version of Evil Squash, which you can see above. After this break, which included a few well earn’t pints of coke, we had a computer systems lecture about multi-theading in the context of SPARC architectures, which Dr. Mike seemed rather animated about…

Welcome to Windows Phone Camp
Welcome to Windows Phone Camp Slide (with motion blur, which I totally meant to add and isn't due to my lack of photography skills)

After Computer Systems Rob, James, Lewis, Louis and I headed over to Robert Blackburn Lecture Theatre D in which Ben Nunney and Joanna Tong were ready to present our Windows Phone Camp. The 2 hour or so lecture consisted of information on:

  • How to develop Silverlight apps
  • Information on the ideas behind Live Tiles and Hubs
  • How to get add polish to applications and get them Marketplace Ready
  • How to submit applications to the marketplace
  • Requirements¬†of the Marketplace
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows Phone
  • The Convergence of Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox
  • The Metro Design¬†Language
  • Using Blend and Visual Studio Side by Side
  • Launchers and Choosers
  • Making money on the Marketplace
  • much much more I’m sure I’ve¬†forgotten¬†to write down
  • and most importantly “Witty comments” by Ben ūüėČ

Once the lecture had ended we all walked on to RB-312 for Tea (or in my case coke) and some programming time whilst we waited for our pizza (paid for by Microsoft!) to turn up. In this time I added custom counter functionality to my Evil Squash Application. My users can now use a “CameraChooser” to take a picture of themselves or an object to use as their counter on the gameboard, pretty cool I think!

Tonight I’ve been adding to the game.

Thats all for now,
Danny

PS: HTC updated all their phones, including my model – The HTC 7 Mozart – with Internet Sharing. Neat.