Microsoft Solitaire Collection

It's Solitaire, and it's included in Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 8! Cool!

Microsoft Solitaire Collection
Platforms Windows 8, Windows Phone
Publisher Microsoft Game Studios
Released 2012
Languages C#
Credited Role Lead Programmer
Additional Role Manager of Game Programming

I was the lead game programmer on Microsoft Solitaire Collection for Windows 8, which is pretty cool. It's amazing to work on a game that literally hundreds of millions of people will eventually play.

I joined Arkadium at the beginning of this project, which began development in Spring 2011. We started out working on Microsoft's fancy new version of Solitaire for Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 using C# and XNA. Later in the year, Microsoft announced Windows 8, and our development switched over to our true target platform: a Windows 8 app using DirectX. We kept a lot of our existing code written in C#, and thanks to Alex Mutel's amazing SharpDX library, we were able to use DirectX from C# with no problems at all (well, some problems, but Alex was always willing to help us out).

Working with Microsoft on a Windows 8 launch game reminded me a lot of working with Microsoft on a Windows Phone 7 launch game (surprise, surprise!)—changing specs, breaking OS changes, and incomplete certification requirements were a few of the familiar occurrences. But all in all Microsoft is a great partner, extremely supportive and helpful, and we never felt lost or blocked by them.

Partway through development, we started working on three more Windows 8 launch titles published by Microsoft Game Studios: Microsoft Minesweeper, Microsoft Mahjong, and Taptiles. After some missteps and issues building the games in parallel, we consolidated shared feature development into a single core team, with individual game teams for the gameplay programming. This reorganization had an immediate and huge positive effect on development; if we hadn't gone this way, we wouldn't have finished the games, and the results would not have been as consistent as they are.

All in all this was a great project to work in. I have come to love C# and .NET as a programming environment, and planning, researching, and helping to execute an entire DirectX game engine in C# was an enormously interesting and rewarding challenge.

Microsoft Solitaire Collection was developed by Arkadium. It was published on the Windows 8 Store by Microsoft Game Studios.

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