Here we are in week 4 of the Ultimate Coder: Ultrabook Challenge (see our week 4 video at the bottom of this post). As I write down the things I wanted to share for our development so far in the contest I have decided to go back to the beginning and remind our team here in the shop of the criteria Intel lined out for us for an award winning app on the Ultrabook to win. Some of the judges have poked at the developers to add things like a battery optimization and other features that just don’t fit into Wind Up Football (WUR). Here again is the criteria for the contest:
“An app will be considered a good Ultrabook app if it
– Fits the use case for using an Ultrabook – a work, create, play & consume device that has the mobile convenience of mobile and the power of a workstation
– Takes advantage of one or more of the following technology vectors for Ultrabook
o CPU Performance |Graphics | Security |Touch & Sensor technology |AppUp APIs (In-App Purchase etc)”
So with these back in mind, we are well on our way to making a game that shines on the new Ultrabook.
This week we are looking at interface. We really liked Steve “Chippy” Paines’s Ultrabook video where he dives into how developers can optimize the navigation methods and interface on a touch device like the new Ultrabook. One thing that stood out to us was the use of thumb navigation on the sides of the screen. ( a side note: I have found it frustrating when I have to use buttons or such on the bottom of the Ultrabook screen. It really gets bad when you are stuck with an upright screen on while on a commercial economy flight. This is just another reason to make specific changes to navigation strategy and arrangement on the touch Ultrabook.)
So after seeing those comments we are investigating switching our controls in the main menu of WUR to be optimized for side screen/thumb navigation.
While discussing how to take advantage of new ways of interacting with the game, Gavin came up with a cool way of displaying helpful information anytime during the game. The plan basically replaces the hover tool all of us are familiar with as mouse users. We are planning to implement a simple question mark that when touched and held down will pause the game and darken the entire screen except for the item it is over. For example, during game play you will hold down the question mark icon and drag it to a robot. While it is over the robot all other parts of the game will remain darkened except that robot. A callout area will appear showing details about the robot as well as other tutorial text and instructions.
We plan to deploy with at least the reorganized navigation but the question mark tool will probably come out in the first update after we launch.
Oh an before I sign off, we are now working on Unity3D 4.0 (beta) which is Windows 8 ready. The game deployed to Windows 8 using 3.0 but we now have direct contact with Unity as well as the full features that will help us get the most out of publishing on Windows 8 and Metro. We will continue to post how that process is going.
Next week Chris Skaggs and I will be at IDF where we will be showing off WUF as well as a few other games. If you are at the conference, make sure you get in contact with us. We would love to connect.