Glow Artisan is a colorful and unique puzzle game, originally published on Nintendo's DSiWare service, and later released on Windows Phone 7 (Xbox LIVE), and iPhone. The Nintendo DS version of Glow Artisan was named the winner of the Independent Games Festival 2010's Best Mobile Game Design award, and was a finalist for Best Mobile Game 2010.
The initial prototype for the game was created years earlier by one of Powerhead's junior programmers, a designer, and an artist; once the decision was made to self-publish Glow Artisan on DSiWare, my job as Technical Director was to take the prototype-quality codebase and bring it up to production quality. We also added a ton of features, of course. As usual, while I was credited as Technical Director, I was responsible for a large amount of programming as well.
One challenge in developing Glow Artisan was that this was our first DSi-exclusive title, and the first to take advantage of DSi-specific features such as taking photos with the camera and accessing the user's photo album. In fact, Glow Artisan was one of the first DSiWare titles to use the DSi photo album functionality. Between the that and the extremely complex and timing-dependent DSi camera library, my hands were full, and there was a lot of back and forth with Nintendo Support and eventually Lot Check to ensure that we were using the new hardware correctly.
Later on, when we began rewriting the game in C# / XNA for Windows Phone 7, I was responsible for the entire engine architecture, as well as some specific subsystems. One of those that I am particularly proud of is the animation system we came up with; XNA is notoriously limited in its built-in support for animations, so I added a new animation system with custom 3D Studio Max compatible content importers to perform node and material animations in a single sequence. This allowed us to bring over the "personality" of the colored blocks to Windows Phone 7.
A "fun" challenge of releasing a launch title on Windows Phone 7 was that many things about the platform were in flux until the last minute (and well past it). Working with pre-release hardware and software, unfinished processes, and seat-of-the-pants technical certification requirements took some getting used to, but in the end, it all came together swimmingly.
The iPhone version came out in late 2010, and has naturally been the most high-profile of the releases. We decided to make two versions, as is the style nowadays: a paid version, and a free version (essentially the tutorial and first dozen puzzles) that can be upgraded to the paid version for the same price via In-App Purchase. Give the free version a try!
Glow Artisan was developed by Powerhead Games. It was published on the Nintendo DSiWare service and the iTunes App Store by Powerhead Games, and on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace by Microsoft Game Studios.