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