After creating the Dice Calculator for the Windows Phone and Android, I wanted to get the application out for the Windows Store.
More real estate for user interaction, bigger screens, and an ever hungry desire to add more features meant I had my work cut out. First things first… Take advantage of the larger screen sizes typically found on computers and tablets for Windows.
Dice Calculator in the Windows Store
This required me to scale up from the smaller layout necessary for the phones.
This screenshot shows a sample roll
Additionally, I would now be able to have the saved formulas shown all the time. I added those panels to the application and started it up. Hmmm. Not much of the screen real estate utilized. I guess that means I need a new feature 🙂
I was always planning to add a roll history. So, I created the third panel. There. That was a little better.
I had to scale many of the graphics up and make them resize to support different displays. Fortunately, NGUI for Unity makes that relatively simple with the anchors.
Playing with it on a tablet, I also discovered that the hit region for many of the icons (i.e. close, add) were a little too small and needed to be scaled up.
Roll History – This is a feature where the last 60 rolls are preserved in a list so you can refer back to them. Why 60? Just a place to start and not get the app bogged down with too many items. I expect I will expand this to support a larger list and the ability to save the history or clear the history. But, I’m a big believer in keeping it simple until someone asks for it.
Virtual Table – This is a feature I personally wanted. A means of sharing the dice rolls with a group of friends at a gaming table. After doing a bit of research, I decided to use Photon Unity (PUN). The interface was relatively easy to integrate, and the best part was their proven track record for supporting many different platforms. The virtual table works a little like a chat-room. You can specify an arbitrary table name and a user name of your choosing. There are no passwords, so anyone can join anyone’s table if they know the name.
Dice Calculator Connect Dialog
Once connected, any rolls you make will show up in the history under your name. The small box area under the roll history will show you others at the table.
Updating the website
This turned out to not be so easy. While I had my page archived, I no longer had a means of rebuilding it. The last time I did any meaningful work to http://dungeonz.com was about four or five years ago. I’m in hurry. I just want things to work! (welcome to my insanity). So, I decided to blow the entire old site away and create a new one.
Awesome. I’m thinking Visual Studio Online, Windows Azure, MVC, Unit Tests, etc…
I jump right in with both feet. I setup my accounts, or connected them (many I already had from other experiments). I went to Visual Studio and create a new web project with MVC and unit testing. Blam. A new site. Connected it with Visual Studio Online and Azure for publishing to my site (it was already hosted there). Build / Publish, new site up.
Well. The template site was up. Now I needed to learn a few things to get the site to look more like mine.
Short story… I started making progress, but I don’t have any experience with MVC and unit tests directly. I send out a call for help and one of my friends, Missy, came to the rescue and helped me get things going. She showed me how to add a new controller, a new view (for the Privacy page) and some basic unit tests.
Back to Publishing
Now the waiting begins. There are many stages an app submission goes through from validation to testing to certification to release. This can take up to five days.
The next day (about 18 hours later), I receive a notice that my submission has FAILED!
Trying to publish again
With the application updated, I spent a few minutes also fixing up a couple of bugs I had found the day before. I rebuilt, uploaded my packages to the developer site and submitted again.
Four hours later, my application was approved and published to the store.
I’m very happy to have met this milestone.
Next steps will be to publish the tablet version for the Google Play Store and then onto some new features!