UPDATE: for international users, the team is aware of this limited functionality...and the current build works with US English keyboard layout and US English regional settings. sorry about that, but it's a lab project that will evolve.
for the past few weeks i've had the pleasure of really seeing this whole designer-developer continuum really work. the team over at Terralever have been working on a little lab project using silverlight. first let me tell you about the Terralever team...they rock. i figured there would be a ton of questions, etc., but from our first initial meeting, their team was already spouting off xaml in conversation and talking about the animation engine in silverlight. these guys don't go into anything blind and did their research and gained some super knowledge.
many of their clients rely on them for interactive design and development, and trust me, they know what they are doing. their project here was a simple idea, take a concept which they've done over and over for clients, a game, and see if silverlight can be proven as a platform for these types of games. they set out building a 'twitch' game...something that can be played quickly, that you'd play again and send to your friends for some quick rivalry for high score.
after about 4 weeks involving designers (using expression design and expression blend), developers (using visual studio 2008 beta 1) and animators, they've delivered on their goal. in my last meeting with the team they had a ton of ideas for the game, but wanted to get this first version out there.
so what is it? well, Zero Gravity is a game and involves our absent-minded astronaut, lt. bennett, who continues to crash his ship into an asteroid. your objective? help lt. bennett find his way back to his ship in each level through various mazes. there are different types of levels and different types of obstacles involving teleports, asteroids, ice blocks, pipes, etc. once you get lt. bennett back to his ship, you advance. your score is based on time and moves.
so try it out, get the high score, send it to your friends and see if they can beat you. follow lt. bennett and his journey via myspace, facebook and follow him as a friend in twitter. he'll be posting pictures from the milky way, comments about his journey, and reacting to your feedback about the experience. he'll also be taking questions, suggestions and possibly accepting ideas for new missions (game levels).
zero gravity requires the silverlight 1.1 alpha plugin to be installed. this plugin works with internet explorer and firefox on windows, as well as safari and firefox on the max osx platforms. you can read about silverlight and platform support at the silverlight.net community site (which has great resources as well to learn from).
this game was written entirely in silverlight 1.1 using the .net framework and the tools provided. it was really great to see the designers working in blend/design and passing their xaml assets on to the developers for integration. in fact, the continuum seemed to work well as the developers were working on the gameplay well before any assets had been created...the nature of xaml allowed them to quickly swap out the user interface elements without changing their code at all.
i know the team has visions for people creating their own levels and submitting, perhaps even hosting your own version of the game. you can follow their blogs for samples on how they implemented certain scenarios, what challenges they faced, what they liked/didn't like in silverlight, etc. for now, give them feedback and see if you can become the zero gravity master.
congrats to the Terralever team. i trust they will be doing more advanced experimentation with silverlight and their clients. if you need someone to implement some silverlight applications for you, for sure you need to contact these guys.
now, go play zero gravity... and digg it!