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2018-07-08 02:07 - Flashback

Flashback #2: 2014-2015, the WP years

In an attempt to document my evolution in the environment of computer science, I decided to write a series of flashbacks, where I dive into the traces of my past. Unfortunately an important part of my programs and games has been lost, because I wasn’t proud enough to keep them, or simply forgot to copy all my files when changing computers.

In this second flashback, I will talk about my first steps playing in the big league: my apps on Windows Phone, downloaded more than 155,796 times.

The beginning

ClassPad and farewell calcs

In 2013, after having spent quite a lot of time working on my game Mipjabok which I’ve talked about in the first flashback, I made two small games on another model with touchscreen, offered by Casio in the context of a collaboration (I took part in writing a programming tutorial for their Facebook page). If you’re curious, the calculator I’m talking about is the Casio ClassPad 330 PLUS:

ClassPad 330 PLUS

Despite the touch screen and some nice features, this model, in contrary to the previous version, has lost the possibility to program add-ins on a computer to make more powerful apps. So we have to use the Basic which is very slow on this model. Moreover very few people in the community had this model to play the games, which doesn’t help finding the motivation to work on games for this model.

My first smartphone

For Christmas 2013, I wanted a smartphone, after a few years using an unbreakable T9 phone. My criteria were a quite solid phone taking good pictures, so my parents offered me a Nokia Lumia 625 (a funny coincidence, as a few years later I would live close to the city of Nokia, and right where the Finnish company had hundreds of employees before it waned). The old and the new phones together:

Samsung B2100 and Nokia Lumia 625

Right after receiving this smartphone, I began learning how to make apps for it, and I learned the bases of language C#. I began my first projects already in January 2014.

The first projects

For the record, publishing apps on Windows Phone Store is restricted to people aged 18+, so I had to lie on my birthdate to be able to create a developer account. I was able to get a free developer account by registering on the Imagine platform with a certificate of schooling.

Among my first projects, simple utilities like a coder / decoder of morse code:

Morse coder / decoder

A relative success

First game on the platform: PriDuTem

My first game was a 2D puzzle game inspired by a Pokemon Gym on one of the old games. The graphics were made on Paint with the artistic talent of a hippopotamus. And I don’t say that for self-mockery, you can see that by yourself:

PriDuTem

The game still received good reviews, partly because I asked all the people I know who have a Windows Phone to give 5 stars, and partly because people who download it have been blind enough to download despite the ugly screenshots, or have uninstalled the game before having had time to review. :D

The big success: Des Chiffres Et Des Lettres

The idea of making a game to train for the TV programme came when I was in preparatory class. One of my classmates, Emmanuel, was a champion of the TV show. He had taken part in the junior game and later took part in the adult one and won multiple times in a row. Sometimes at lunch break we used to play.

I thought there should be an app to train alone of generate the combinations to train with other people. Such apps existed on Android and iOS but not on Windows Phone. I created my app, though it wasn’t totally legal in terms of intellectual propery, thinking that if the TV channel hadn’t released the app on Windows Phone they wouldn’t mind me releasing one.

The app contains generators for the chiffres and the lettres parts of the game, with possibility to play with the generated sets, and a solver:

Des Chiffres Et Des Lettres

Some other miscellaneous projects

Hexagons, a 2-player game where one puts tokens on a hexagonal grid, the goal being to make a bridge between the two sides of one’s color. It’s a game I was playing on paper with Peio during the long and boring maths and physics classes during the first year of preparatory classes.

Hexagons

VR Slideshow is a utility to create 3D pictures’ slideshows for VR headsets in which one inserts a smartphone. The app allows the user to take a picture for each eye, then add a caption and a transition. For the record, to test my app I sent an email to a Polish startup that sells VR headsets, and they sent me a headset for free the next week.

VR Slideshows

Hall of shame of reviews

I saw many crazy reviews, particularly on Des Chiffres Et Des Lettres. In the beginning the game was only found by people who searched for it so t got good reviews, but when it became more visible on the Store there was a flow of non-relevant reviews.

“One star because I didn’t try”. Even years laters I don’t understand that person. I’ve rarely been exposed to such stupidity, I must say.

Review #1

“Must be nice when I’ll understand the game”. I’d like to thank this guy who, instead of blaming the game, blames himself for not understanding it.

Review #2

“Please change the background, then it would be ok”. When the background image costs 2 stars…

Review #3

“Bad, not like on TV”. She didn’t read the description of the app before downloading but still wants to make me feel guilty for not making the app she was expecting.

Review #4

That was all for this flashback, we’re still in 2015 so as you can guess there will be more flashbacks on other topics ;)

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