This week I had the privilege of attending and helping with some Silverlight in casual games presentations at the XNA Gamefest conference happening in Seattle. I say helping because the real game experts were there.
Two Silverlight presentations were given. One by Bill Reiss/Joel Neubeck and the other by Mike Snow. Between the two sessions we covered concepts in Silverlight game development as well as a walk-through of starting out to create a simple game. I consider these guys to be the foremost experts on the topic given their experience in creating games like Dr. Popper, Stack Attack, Zero Gravity, Zombomatic and Tunnel Trouble. Mike also will be posting some game frameworks as well as demonstrating some multi-player aspects.
It was a decent turnout for those interested in learning where Silverlight plays in casual games. We also were able to talk with the MSN Games teams that gave us an understanding of what would be needed to implement a game in Silverlight. I was surprised to see how simple the initial process is to get a game in the pipeline for consideration of MSN Games. So if you have some thoughts on writing a game in Silverlight and want a distribution channel…consider MSN Games!
Silverlight Game Contest!
Need some incentive? How about a Silverlight game contest? TeamZone Sports is sponsoring a contest…with some cash prizes. Official rules are coming soon, but you can sign up to be notified here. I’m excited to see what comes out of the contest!
XNA and Silverlight?
With the announcement at XNA that the XNA Community games are going to be opened up wider so that anyone can essentially write an XBOX game and have other community members consume it, I suspect people will be jumping at those opportunities! Maybe you want a game in multiple channels: XBOX, Windows, Zune, Web. There are going to be things you may want to know in advance. Bill did a demonstration of a single code base that ran on Windows (XNA), Zune (XNA for Zune) and Silverlight. It was pretty cool to see the same experience in all those different platforms. Bill had some good advice on things to look for when developing for this goal…maybe he’ll append those to the post (hint, hint). You can download his sample code here.
Thanks to MSN Casual Games for inviting Silverlight to the conference (and for the sweet swag). Thanks to Bill and Joel as our MVPs in this area for representing their experiences and sharing their knowledge with us. Thanks to Mike for sharing his expertise and be on the lookout for him to provide some source on how he accomplished some multi-player game play within Silverlight using sockets.
One of probably the coolest casual ‘games’ I’ve ever seen is Line Rider. It’s a fun game, but really gets exciting when you have an artist behind it. Basically it’s a blank canvas for you to draw a route for the main character to hop on his sled and ride. Sound lame? Not when you see what some have come up with. For example, here’s a very popular ‘ride’ on YouTube.
Well, the Line Rider team has recently modified their beta version and implemented in Silverlight 2! They’ve also added some social networking integration using Live Messenger and the ability to send your rides to your contacts, etc. The team was a group of developers and designers from the Line Rider team from InXile Entertainment as well as the crew from Cynergy Systems. The Line Rider game was also used in a creative McDonald’s television campaign as well – McDonald’s gettin’ all involved with the interwebs…cool.
In addition to the Silverlight version, InXile has announced console versions for XBOX 360, Wii, and PS3. I think that will definitely a must get console game for myself and for the kids. This Silverlight version really demonstrates some great things in Silverlight 2 and shows that the platform is a great one for casual games and how creative you can be with what version 2 has to offer.
Congratulations to the Line Rider teams!
The group that brought you one of the first Silverlight end-to-end games (Zero Gravity) is now featured for some of the work they've done with Silverlight 1.0 and Silverlight 2 for Miniclip.com, the largest online gaming site in the world.
You can view the Terralever case study online here. The Terralever crew is interviewed in four different segments talking about the project from a designer, developer, business and technical perspective.
The team built two casual games for Miniclip.com on both versions of Silverlight. The first, a Silverlight 1.0 game called 'Zombomatic 3000' has been on Miniclip's site for a few weeks now. It is a puzzle-based game built entirely using Silverlight 1.0 technology and the tools. The team took the vision further and had been working on Tunnel Trouble, a game with more interactivity, more logic and a more dynamic game play.
I've enjoyed watching the process happen and have been amazed by the talent that has been producing these games. I've also been impressed with how far the team has been able to take Silverlight to its limits and the challenges and learnings they have faced along the way. They presented a session at MIX08 on their experiences with developing Tunnel Trouble if you want to check it out as well.
Congrats to the Terralever team for building the first commercial games built on Silveright!
miniclip.com now has a silverlight 1.0 puzzle game to their catalog. this is pretty good to see among the massive catalog of casual games they offer. this game is built using silverlight 1.0 and is a good use of a lot of the capabilities (and in some cases maxing them out) for the 1.0 platform.
the game, built by terralever, falls into that 'casual gaming' category -- you know, the ones where you decide only to spend a few minutes taking a look and then end up forgetting that meeting so you can complete all the levels? this one is an addicting game to figure out how to reveal all the levels possible. check it out.
you may remember the terralever name from the zero gravity game. while that game was a proof to look at the capabilities of silverlight 1.1 at that time, the zombomatic game was built using silverlight 1.0 release technology so that it could go production. congrats to the terralever team for this release and we look forward to seeing what you can do with silverlight 2 when available for production applications!
the silverlight team will be at MIX08 this year and i'm sure eager to talk to those interested. i'm trying to ensure they stop by open spaces @ mix where i'll be hanging out most of the time.
got an email today about something i hadn't seen yet, another silverlight 2.0 game, Pirates! cameron emailed me about a cool prototype he's working on with the farseer engine. here's a shot:
as cameron puts it:
"The goal of the game will be to attain the buried fortune of a long dead pirate named Rough Hand James. He created a map to his treasure and scattered the pieces all across the globe. It will be your adventure to find those map pieces and locate the treasure. You will start out on your ship with the first clue to the treasure and along the way you may encounter the Royal Navy, sea monsters and other pirates. You will engage in sea and land battles, loot merchant vessels and follow clues through towns, uncharted waters and wilderness all to find the greatest fortune every massed by one pirate."
awesome...'rough hand james' -- nice. check out cameron's blog to follow some of the interesting things he's finding along the way with both silverlight as well as creating some artificial intelligence for gaming. i can't wait to see what cameron thinks of silverlight 2.0!