Explaining the Explain

UntitledLast weekend I did my first real application for windows 8. I do not have any previous experience from other platforms at all. I have done some school projects for Windows Phone 7.5, but they have been in “hello world” –level. Month ago I applied to be a Microsoft Student Partner, and I got accepted, but now I had to publish a app in Windows Store. Oh my god, I don’t have any real previous experience from any platform, I don’t have any idea for app and I really haven’t done anything like this before.

Well, in Finland we have this thing called “sisu”, which basically means tough will. So let’s dive there head first. Luckily I had awesome friends, who promised to help me if I hit the hard spot.  I got my idea from my dear friend Tinja, who gave me this awesome idea for app, and so far I haven’t found anything too similar from Windows Store. Explain… It is traditional partner word explanation game made in digital form. You play with your friend against your other friends. There are two persons in the team. Application will give you a word, and you have to explain it to your friend without using the actual word. When your friend finally gets the word, your team gets point. Simple, huh?

screenshot_12102012_213718

Other problem I had was time, because after all, I’m still a student and at this point of the semester, it is again the time when you feel like driving through a city filled with people, without a steering wheel your eyes closed and you just hope you won’t hit anything… Luckily there was a #codeFI hackathon in Otaniemi, so it was great excuse for doing the app in 24 hours. So I packed my keyboard and mouse (everything true hacker really needs) and went there. Teemu Tapanila got me a laptop with Windows 8 (since I made biggest mistake in my life two years ago and I got MacBook, and bootcamp doesn’t support Windows 8 yet). Soda, junkfood and computer, let the hacking begin.

keeboord

I decided to do as simple application as possible for now, just a basic functionality and nothing too crazy for the night. After couple hours of browsing tutorials and my previous C# school projects I quickly noticed how simple it is actually make Windows 8 apps if you have any previous programming background (yes, also basic “hello world” programs will do it, at least for me).

Visual studio 2012 and Windows SDK 8 was really easy to use, and in no time I had basic functionality of my application done. I wanted to do as simple app as possible, not only because I wasn’t sure about my skills, but I also as an user usually love to use apps that are simplified as much as possible. Game should be quick and easy to start for users to actually enjoy playing it. You just input your team names and hit go. Then the game begins.

screenshot_12102012_213941

Hardest thing probably was making countdown timer for app. Team has 30 seconds to explain as many words as possible and then turn changes. I found good tutorials online for DispatcherTimer –class, but the problem was how to update textblock for displaying the time for user. Luckily there was Teemu helping me around, and he showed how to do it, problem solved. Next big thing was imputing the words for the game. I inputted over 800 words by copy-pasting from dictionary, not fun job at 10am after sleepless night… Well, I got it done. After that it was pretty much making some basic logos and submitting it to marketplace. Test kit at the Windows 8 SDK was super simple, and the actual submitting wasn’t too hard either.

screenshot_12102012_213745

I submitted the app to Windows Store on Saturday, and it got certified in Monday morning, pretty fast… Now I have my first real app online, and anyone can download and use it, feels really exciting. Next I will continue with the same app and make it look little bit better by updating the UI as soon as I get all the school work out of the way.

The app can be found here!

About the author

teemupetajaniemi

Teemu Petäjäniemi (@Tpetajaniemi)

Teemu is IT student at Metropolia Leppävaara. He is a technology
enthusiast and tries to be a better programmer. Other that programming and technology, Teemu enjoys photography, online video games and lasertag. Lately Teemu has used a lot of time in learning Windows phone and Windows 8 application development. He believes life could be easier with better software.

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About arcticmsp

The Finnish Microsoft Student Partners are a group of enthusiastic students, who are interested in technology and all things new, techy and cool!
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