Mobile Application Development Tech Reviews

Sweepy Cleaner is “New and Impressive”

I was pleasantly surprised when my fellow Hull Computer Scientist and good friend John Van Rij pointed out that my version of Sweepy Cleaner was listed as the 7th most “New and Impressive” application on AppFlow.

AppFlow describes a new and impressive app as one that was “released in the past few months and according to ratings so far is definitely worth trying”. That to me seems quite good 🙂

For those who don’t know AppFlow is an alternative way to find and view applications on your windows phone, in my opinion its 100x better than the built in marketplace and some of the statistics it provides are actually better than the Windows Phone Developer portal, But don’t get me started on that… It really needs some work. AppFlow is also one of the most beautifully designed Silverlight applications I’ve seen.

If you still haven’t downloaded and played Sweepy Cleaner it’s available here.

Thanks to all 320 people that have download the game so far!


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. 🙂

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,


Mobile Application Development University

Sweepy Cleaner is now Available on the Windows Phone Marketplace

Today Sweepy Cleaner passed certification and was added to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. You can download it here.

Some of you may notice that the version number is v0.1, this is because there are still a few features I want to add in before I consider it a complete version of the game, these include the full implementation of Photo Highscores, more realistic cleaner movement, an online highscore system and 12 more levels. All of these are already being worked on, so you can expect version 1.0 soon.

Why release the game now? Well, I wanted people to enjoy the basic fundamentals of the game ASAP, and according to my reviews on the marketplace so far they have done!

Draxfear gave the game 5 stars and said:

Fantastic game, especially menus & music!

ZeldaLegend92 gave the game 5 stars and said:

Brilliant game. Shame the cleaner doesn’t point the way it’s moving but still it’s fun to play! Good job

Not1Got1Xbox gave the geme 5 stars and said:

Fun little game, nice graphics, music and user interface! : – )

Fellow Hull Computer Scientist and blogger James Croft has also beaten me to the punch and wrote a review of Sweepy Cleaner which you can read here, thanks James!

As you can see from the image above lots of people have also been posting their scores to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Cleverly I included a link to download my game when a user posts their score, increasing awareness of the game. 🙂

Below you can see an image of what the game looks like on the Web Marketplace for Windows Phone

Windows Phone Marketplace - Sweepy Cleaner
Windows Phone Marketplace – Sweepy Cleaner

So get over there and download it now, and please be sure to submit feedback and provide a rating 🙂

Hopefully you’ll have a good experiance with the game, if you have any niggles please don’t hesitate to contact me about it providing as much detail as possible using the following email address:



Mobile Application Development University

An Update on Sweepy Cleaner

This morning I handed in ACW 2 for programming 2, A.K.A Sweepy Cleaner. I’m quite happy with the design of the game, particularly the fact I built it so that adding a new level requires only 4 additional lines of code and the relevant graphics. Below you can see some screen shots showing how it turned out:

My time to present my code to my programmer lecturer is midday Friday, so I’ll update the blog then letting you know what grade I get. Friday is also the day the game should go live on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, subject to being approved by Microsoft, so that’s something to look forward to! 🙂

Once its up expect an update within a few weeks adding in some features which I’m working on now, including more realistic cleaner movement and additional levels.

I’d like to thank Shane Gravestock for producing all the music and sound effects for the game and Shaun Rhodes for making the game logo and the vacuum cleaner sprite 😀

Thats all for now,


Life Mobile Application Development Programming University Web Design

Easter Projects Update

Finally users can see Scottish Lighthouses

Worldwide Lighthouses

Earlier in the holidays I posted a blog post about what I was intending to get up to. One of the things I needed to get round to doing was fixing my brothers website, Worldwide Lighthouses. After a data loss last year and a loss of back-ups we had to start from scratch, many of the features that users — and my brother — loved on the site we’re lost as was most of the actual content.

Now, things are back on track. I’ve spent a portion of the last week or so fixing issues with the Custom-built content management system and now, finally Michael can upload information about Lighthouses outside of England and users can view them. I’ve also stopped most of the deadlinks returning 404’s and instead they now show a coming soon message, which is slightly better for SEO in the long run. I’m currently working on the module of the CMS which works on Lightships, after that will come fog signals, daymarks and finally the glossary.


Another project I wrote about was 5Hives, a website for a local bee keeper who wants to start his online presence in an affordable manner, but be able to update his website with new products and information without the need to constantly refer back to his webmaster. This is therefore the second Custom Content Management System I’ve created this week.

5 Hives Progress
5 Hives Progress

It’s not the best-looking website in the world at the moment, but the basic Database input and output works. I’m gonna put all my effort  into making it pretty over the next week whilst we wait for the domain to transfer from 123-reg to Fatcow hosting.

Sweepy Cleaner

Over the holidays I’ve been rewriting sweepy cleaner, its been going well and my code is now much more tidy, more managable and easier to understand, all of which are good things! Today, thanks to Mr Shane Gravestock, I added in a game sound track — to accompany the menu sound track — as well as a new sound effect for when the hoover dies — i.e. when you hit some furniture or the sides of the screen.

I’m going to upload a pre-release version of Sweepy Cleaner to the marketplace tonight, come back here to get the URL to be able to download and play it later.

Meta blogger App

I’ve been working hard on my other projects, but I’ve still made time for the metablogger app. I now have a fairly solid user-interface. I hope to have the app complete and submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace sometime next week.

Thats all for now,


Easter Projects

Here’s a badly taken photo of Hull’s Paragon Interchange Station, taken whilst waiting for my train home

Friday was our final day at University and consisted of a Lab session and a Tutorial in which we talked about the coursework for ACW 2 for Programming 2 — A.K.A. Sweepy Cleaner. Almost as soon as the Tutorial was over I was on my way to the station to head home for two weeks off, well deserved after a busy term.

In an attempt to keep on top of work and hone my skills as a Software Engineer I have lined up a few projects for myself, to be completed over Easter.

The first of my Projects is to design and develop a custom website front-end and back-end content management system for a local bee keeper who offers Bee Keeping courses, bees for sale, honey products and a range of soaps and lotions. The system will need to allow the customers to edit their product ranges and content on their pages, it will also need to provide an attractive interface to customers and be SEO friendly in order to rank well on Google Searches for Bee related terms.

The Content Management System will be a fair bit of work, but fortunately I can use my previous experiences on projects such as Worldwide Lighthouses in order produce a better system, I also enjoy making user interfaces — particularly for the web, so I’m looking forward to working on this project and hopefully making my customers happy.

My second project is to complete Worldwide Lighthouses, a website run by my brother which uses a custom made CMS (Content Management System). Due to a data loss around Christmas a lot of the workings of the site remain unfinished, hopefully by the end of  Easter all functionality of the previous website will have been restored and even improved upon.

My third project is for my lecturer, Rob Miles, and is to produce an application for the Windows Phone 7 platform which uses the MetaBlogger API to allow people with blogs on blogger and other services to upload, view and edit posts on the go.

My fourth and final project is to create an Augmented reality game. It’s based off of my original proposal for three thing game —  a Tower Defence game which turns into an First Person Shooter once the enemy reaches the end of its route.

My aim is to have the “map” for the tower defence section of the game to be the actual location of the player, complete with enemies actually following the real roads to get to them,  I will do all this using the Bing Maps API. The FPS section will use the image produced by the back-facing camera as the background and the user will have to occasionally point their phone to the sky to fight back helicopters, and point it straight forward to take on Soldiers and Tanks. I think its an interesting concept, will be fun to play and is certainly technically interesting and possibly challenging to produce.

Expect to hear more about these projects soon!


Mobile Application Development University

Sweepy Cleaner Theme Tune and Social Network Integration

Today I uploaded this video showcasing the new Sweepy Cleaner theme tune, lovingly created by Shane Gravestock, as well as the addition of named highscores and score-posting to Social Networks including Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live.

If you want to use Social Networking in your own applications then my good friend Rob Crocombe has a guide on adding it here.

I hope you enjoy watching the video as much as I did making it.


Mobile Application Development University

An update on the Progress of Sweepy Cleaner

I posted this video to Youtube today which details the advancements made with my Sweepy Cleaner XNA game project for my Assessed coursework 2 for the Programming 2 Module. As I state in the video its mainly for the benefit of my friend Shane, who has very kindly agreed to make some banging 8 bit tunes for the Marketplace release of the game, but it does give an overview of the game as a whole for anyone who is interested (you also get to hear my very weird voice).


Mobile Application Development University

Same Task, Different Implementations

3 Windows Phones, Running 3 different versions of “Sweepy Cleaner”

Nick took this photo today of 3 windows phones running three different version of  “Sweepy Cleaner”, the all action domestic cleaning game. I thought it was interesting how, given the same brief, we had all came up with different implementations. John’s version, shown on the cyan Nokia Lumia 800, has a really cool attract mode on his menus with an artificially intelligent vacuum cleaner picking up dirt, whereas I’ve gone for a metro style menu with a simple, pre set, vacuum animation. (By the way, check out Johns Blog here)

Even in the actual game we had all gone for slightly different implementations, my game (shown on the Black Samsung Focus Flash) respawns your vacuum in the middle of the screen if you loose a life by touching the edge of the screen or the furniture whereas Robs game (shown on the HTC Radar) bounces you away from said object at the speed you collided into it. Again, both ideas work, both fit the specification for the coursework, but both are different. This shows how creative programming can be. 🙂

Look out for all 3 versions of the game on the Windows Phone Marketplace soon!


Mobile Application Development University

Randomization on a Logical System

Short version of this post: Randomization on a computer system is totally impossible, any “Randomization” you do see is purely clever deception.

Today I’ve been writing the Start Game logic for Sweepy Cleaner. One of the things I have to do during the start of a game is randomize the position of 5 pieces of dirt, and I have spent some of the night tinkering with getting things as random as possible. I say as random as possible because making random numbers is impossible, a number is selected based off of the exact time of the System clock in your PC or on your mobile device. You can prove this with the following C# code:

for(int i = 0; i < 1000; i++)


Random r = new Random();

int randomInt = r.Next(0, 3000);

Console.WriteLine("Random Number: " + randomInt);

For me this outputted “Random Number:  1742” around 500 times and “Random Number: 2818” around 500 times. This is because this entire loop takes place in just a few milliseconds, not allowing for much change in the System clocks time.  Producing lots of identical numbers in a short space of time can be a pain, especially if you want to initialize a game quickly but want random locations for dirt like I do.  The solution I found is simple, pause the thread for a “Random” amount of time as well before each pass.

Random RandomX = new Random();

System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(new System.TimeSpan(RandomX.Next(0,7)));
x = RandomX.NextDouble() * (RandomX.Next(0, 800));

System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(new System.TimeSpan(RandomX.Next(0,8)));
Random RandomY = new Random();
y = RandomY.NextDouble() * (RandomY.Next(0, 480));

This makes things a little more random but as I said at the beginning Randomization on a computer system is totally impossible. If this makes little sense to you think about what a computer is (an arithmetical and logical processor), there is no such thing as random in Logic, hence there can’t be in a logic system. 🙂