Windows Phone

MWC 13 is now over

Posted by admin on March 01, 2013
Apps, Development, General, Windows Phone / No Comments

Well I am back from Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona and I had lots of fun. Met some nice people, learned a lot and saw a lot. I can now say that at least for apps and games for mobile, I feel like I have a new perspective on many things. Let’s see how well this will help me in future games.
Here are some pictures I took with my Lumia 920 during the MWC 2013 week.

Mobile World Congress 2013

Posted by admin on February 23, 2013
Apps, Development, Games, General, iOS, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Phone / No Comments
Mobile World Congress 2013

Mobile World Congress 2013

Tomorrow morning I will be leaving for Barcelona to attend this year’s Mobile World Congress. MWC is of course the biggest event for all things mobile in the world and this will be the first time I attend it. After attending last year’s Build in Redmond, WA and Microsoft Partner Conference the year before in LA, CA I guess I am getting the hang of going to big technology related and non-academic conferences for the first time :) After finishing my PhD last year, this seems like the next best thing, since I’ve been to quite a few academic conferences during my studying time anyway.

So back to Barcelona, MWC will take place between February 25 and February 28 in a new venue, not that I knew the old venue. The new venue is called Fira Fran Via which is apparently an awesome state of the art event space. I am sure the venue cannot possible beat being to Microsoft’s HQ building complex in November, but I’ve been to Barcelona 3 times already and I like the city and the people, so at least it will be much closer to where I live (no more crossing the Atlantic ocean – yey) and in Europe for a change.

I will arrive on Sunday and attend the Mobile Sunday event, where apparently will be lots of cool people and free beer tasting. The event  will begin at 6pm, look for me there if you want to meet up and discuss games over beers (what better way is there?). I will be wearing my MonsterUp t-shirt if it’s not too cold:) I will try to where these everywhere (I have a few of them) so you can find me:)

On Monday I will be attending Nokia’s separate event all day long. There is a keynote at 11am where I hope we get to see all new shiny awesome Lumia phones and (why not) the first Nokia tablet. That would be awesome ;) There are quite a few interesting sessions throughout the day, including game development sessions which I will make sure not to miss (in both Track 1 and Track 2) but the main thing I will try to do is talk to Nokia people about working with them for more Lumia games from Karios Games.

Tuesday will be a bit more relaxed. I think about going to Connected Living and Clicksoftware sessions about HTML5. I already have a couple of games on Facebook and Chrome Store using HTML5 so there might be a few things to learn there.

On Wednesday there are a few interesting things. I will try to attend the Generation ‘M’ session as well as the App Planet Open Forum.  After the congress, I will also try to be at WIPJam and Mobile Mixology parties. They are not very close to each other but I will do my best!

Finally, Thursday is going to be WIP-ADC day. Many interesting topics there so I will most likely spend the whole day attending these. After this, straight to the airport.

So if you are there, drop a line! I will try to tweet and otherwise write about the event here and on my twitter account (@marioskar) so if you are interested about WMC, make sure to follow me!

Build 2012 impressions

Posted by admin on November 06, 2012
Apps, Development, General, Windows Phone / No Comments

Last week was crazy and awesome at the same time. I’ve never really considered visiting Build, especially since it’s a looooong way from where I live (try 12 hours total flight time) but Sebastien seemed overexcited about going so he kind of dragged me along. Not that I complain of course, since the experience was educational, fun and I am not regretting going through with it.

Since it’s always a good occasion to visit nearby places, before going to Seattle (and then Redmond) for Build, we decided to visit Vancouver in Canada. Very nice place, I’ve been to Canada before and the impression I am always left with is how nice people are in Canada. Everyone seems to be living a relaxed life somehow, although it’s as cold as always, especially in late October when we visited. After Vancouver, it was a 4 hour train ride to Seattle.

The Seattle Needle, taken in very low light using the Nokia Lumia 920

Seattle is known for its rainy days, and boy is that true. I think during the week we spent there, it stopped raining for about half a day. This, of course, also means that the area is quite green. Seattle is your typical north-west city but Bellevue and Redmond looked oh-so-much better to me. Especially the Microsoft campus. The campus is more like a city of its own, with about 120 buildings (conveniently numbered B1-B120) but also with lots of amenities for employees, like stores, restaurants, child care facilities and even doctors. Employees can get in and out of them using their access card and they get special discounts on stuff as well. We, as Build attendees, were also given a sample in the form of a $120 limit voucher which we could use to take advantage of the low prices at the Microsoft Store where I got myself a nice bluetooth keyboard and a 12 month gold live subscription. The Microsoft Campus also features its own transit system, in the form of Connector

The sessions were very interesting during Build, although after the 3rd day me and Sebastien decided to focus on the Build Hackathon, creating an awesome real time weather app in 2 days for Windows Phone 8, complete with live tiles, map inverse geolocation and other nice Windows Phone features. Although it was not chosen for the finals, the app taught me a lot, since I normally make games. I also had a chance to speak to a couple of Microsoft employees about the future of XNA and I had confirmed my fears that XNA is officially dead on both Windows 8 Store Apps and Windows Phone 8. I also had the chance to find alternatives though, so I guess my next games will have to take a detour from the XNA libraries I have been building for the past 2 years (except in the case of MonoGame, which I have used already to make the iOS version of Galaxium as well as MonsterUp Memory for the Windows 8 Store). MonoGame will also support Windows Phone 8 sure, so there are good chances I will be porting my games to take advantage of the awesome Windows Phone 8 features like the new resolutions and in-app purchases in the future. Other options include SharpDX and Unity, the latter being a very compelling choice at the moment.

In front of one of the many logos that Microsoft should change at some point, since they recently changed their official logo:)

Of course, one of the highlights of Build was us getting 3 awesome gifts: a Microsoft Surface with 32GB and Windows RT, a custom developer edition Nokia Lumia 920 with 32GB and a 100GB SkyDrive space expansion. I will come back with close looks at the new devices in future posts, but I can say right now that they are awesome :) By the way, all the pictures on this post are taken with the 920’s awesome camera.

/b switch. You know. For “build” .

Food was great and the Microsoft employees were always nice and helpful even though they had 2500 weird people going around every day for a week. All in all, it was an awesome experience. Met some nice people from Nokia and Microsoft as well as developers from all over the world, had some nice (and not so nice) discussions, learned a lot and I would do it again. Maybe next year? We’ll see!