… should not be called ‘The New Windows 8 User Experience!’ It sounds stupid, and no one is saying it, so we need something different.
Oh, and most people are still calling it ‘Metro.’ I know, because yesterday, Justin and I were at the Windows 8 Developers Camp. (Which is, by the way, great stuff! Very informational, educational, and a good time was had by all.)
So what should we call it?
Do you know what surprises me more than the fact that Microsoft allowed this marketing error? The dearth of suggestions on the internet for the replacement name. Either nobody really cares, (like I said, people are still calling it Metro) or nobody knows what to call it. So, I’ll start the naming game for you…
Let’s call it…
Don’t like it? Fine, then you come up with something. All I know is that I’m getting annoyed with all this “the operating system user experience formerly known as Metro” rubbish.
Why X-TRO? Well, it’s short, and it’s certainly catchy to see in print. It could be written Xtro, you know, like Xbox, so it’s even consistent for Microsoft.
Maybe we could have the Xphone instead of the cumbersomely-named ”Windows Phone” which brings to mind the blue screen of death. Who wants that phone? Well I’ve got an Xphone, and you know what, it’s really cool, with the Xtro / Xbox style user interface, I’ve gotten rather fond of it.
So that’s my suggestion.
… because after all, it’s not really about ”ME” anymore.
…or as one of my old heroes would say, “What’s all this XAML stuff, anyway?”
Frankly, I have no idea. All I know is C#, C, various assemblys (sic) and FORTH.
As you may already know, I downloaded the Windows 8 Developers Preview, mucked about with it for a couple days and ended up having to do the whole refresh thing. Yup. And all my apps; I get to re-install them, because the only apps Win8 keeps after a refresh are the ones you buy on the Windows App Store.
OK, so basically, now I’m an amateur Windows 8 Metro developer. …or maybe not. I’m not sure “Hello World” counts in any language. After all, it’s just a start. So I’ll keep following the tutorials and see where I end up. Eventually, I’ll ask Justin for some cool graphics, code up an app and we’ll publish it. Not much of a plan, I know. Does that make us ‘indie’? <grin>
Anyway, just wait until you see what we do with it! I’ve got a great idea…!
During lunch today, I read an IGM article asking if MineCraft was still an indie game. Apparently there is some internal angst about whether they should continue to cover this game. Some people think MineCraft is too big and/or has made too much money to continue to be classed as an indie game.
I think that’s hogwash.
First of all Mojang employs only 16 people. That’s all! This is a small company. In comparison, I work for a company that employs 10,000+. Your local grocer probably employs more than 16 people! OK, OK, most XBLIG indies are made by 1, 2 or even a few people, but since MineCraft is now available on multiple platforms, just how many people can they really afford per platform? Not 16.
Second, they don’t make “too much money.” How was that ever a qualifier of an indie game? Is CastleminerZ no longer indie? What about The Impossible Game? C’mon, if we’re at all honest, most of us would love to publish a game that sells millions of copies.
Third, IGM took a poll, and so far, 73% of the readers think that MineCraft is still indie. We’ll see how the poll ends, but for now it’s pretty clear to me that MineCraft is, and always will be, indie. Yes, a big, successful, money-making indie game, but an indie game nonetheless.
Maybe Mojang will one day no longer be an indie studio, and maybe if MineCraft 2 ever comes into being it won’t be very indie-like, but for now, I’m sure Mojang can continue to be innovative and “independent” of the corporate influences that can stifle agility and innovation in larger companies.
UPDATE: As of 8/4 (Saturday morning) The IGM poll is up to 580 votes, and 76% of the readers think MineCraft is still indie.
We left the house around 6:30 this morning to go see the Great Texas Balloon Race. We usually head towards the convention center to watch the pilots scramble, driving to wherever they’re going to launch. We’ve got a friend who races balloons as well, so we usually find him and chase his balloon.
This year, we thought we’d do something different. Our three oldest children our in another state with their cousins, and since we had only the three youngest, we decided to tour the special “shape balloons.”
The skies were grey and even on the ground there was significant wind. The race was cancelled but the shape balloon pilots were allowed to tether their balloons at their discretion. Apparently, most of them did. We saw four of them inflated, and arrived at the sites of three others as they were packing up. (This was still cool because we at least got to collect their cards.)
From looking at the aviation weather forecasts, it looks like they still might have a successful balloon glow tonight, but we’re going to wait for tomorrow night. Winds are predicted to be calmer then.
Although I don’t consider myself an Apple fanboy, we have two iPhones, an iPad, a MacBook, and an iMac in our house. I know, I know. …but really, it’s not that I love Apple that much, it’s just that I hate working on PC’s. …and the Apple solutions just work. The only reason I had a PC anymore was to develop XBLIG’s. I do however love the Xbox 360; it’s just cool.
Lately, I bought a Windows Phone. It’s not that I thought I’d like it, as much as that I wanted a piece of hardware to test out indie apps on the WP store. An early version of Andy’s Notepad [Saucers] was compiled on my phone. That was cool too. So I’ve had some time to get used to the whole Metro look and feel. You know what? It actually feels natural. Like Woz said, “It’s like Steve Jobs was reincarnated and is working at Microsoft now.“ (I chuckle to think what Bill Gates thought when he heard that!)
So anyway, I downloaded the Windows 8 Developers Preview and thought I would install it on a second hard drive to try it out. I began the install and realized that I didn’t have a choice of where this was going. It went right on top of my Windows 7 install! It clearly notified me, and I could have cancelled, but I thought, “What could go wrong?” *grin* Yeah, that’s right, more than I expected.
OK, so it was a little foolish installing this right on top of my dev box, but really, I’ve got all my critical stuff backed up. So, no worries, I bravely forged ahead, and I really was pleasantly surprised! The system requirements are lower, the drive footprint is smaller, and the interface is really clean. I like the app store and have tried out a few apps. Kinda cool.
Of course compiling for WP 7.1 broke, my XNA support is fragged and I had to uninstall Windows Defender, but other than that, no major issues. (Other than not being able to currently compile a patch update for my XBLIG that is. Not really a small thing, but hey ho!) I found someone’s post on how to fix the WP compile, but to date, XNA is still broken. Did I mention that I HATE working on PC’s?
Oh, oh, and I almost forgot. All of a sudden, all my apps just stopped working. That happened tonight, when I was trying to download the Metro WordPress app. “Something happened and your purchase couldn’t be completed.” Really? I wasted fifteen minutes looking for the solution.
Despite all that, even though I know (firsthand) that this is pre-Beta, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised overall. Nice job, Microsoft.
[...written on the Metro WordPress app; the standard website is still better...]
Our wives met first, before Justin and I got together. If I recall correctly, they started spending time together (at “park days”) because their kids and ours knew how to play.
What kid doesn’t know how to play? Well, quite a few, actually. See, our children can sit on the ground, pick up pine cones, pretend that the pine cones are people or knights or dragons, and have just as much fun as if they were playing something like MineCraft!
We noticed that many other kids would get bored quickly unless they were entertained by someone or something else. Unfortunately they weren’t practiced at using their own creativity and entertaining themselves.
I like games that allow kids and adults to exercise their imagination, and don’t allow them to just sit back and be entertained.
So the challenge I give myself is, how can we accomplish this while at the same time presenting an initial gaming experiences that draws people in? hmm….
I haven’t “cracked that” yet…
- Just because you like your game doesn’t mean everyone else will.
Reviews for our game have been mixed, ranging from “A” to boring. No one said it was A+ and no one said it stank. It has been really interesting to hear the (very limited) feedback. There are some really helpful points that have been made, but not many reviewers seem to have seen the game the way we do. Maybe we’ve gotten too close to the game?
- Reviewers have a different set of goals than developers.
Yes, we both want games reviewed, the difference is that I want my game reviewed, and they want to review many games, preferably the types of games that will get them the most mileage. (This of course depends on the type of reviewer they are, what kinds of reviews they like to write and what their readers like to see.)
What this really means is that the developer has to make it as easy as possible to review their game, and that no, most critics don’t have the time, or maybe even the desire to help you improve your game. You’ll sometimes have to read between the lines of a vaguely negative review or ignore what will seem like an incredibly harsh statement to get to the gem of feedback that is offered. That’s OK; just roll with it and improve.
For the record, at least one reviewer has been nice enough to provide further feedback. IndieTheory comes to mind here…
- Don’t release your product until you love it!
You know, this is probably the most important lesson of all. I loved the multiplayer game in Andy’s Notepad [Saucers], but had gotten used the weapon imbalance. I didn’t realize that Justin (my Coneware partner) didn’t love the single player mode until after release. Last our kids had some suggestions that would have improved the game, but somehow we let those get lost in the pressure to release. (Indie devs get pressure to release? Really? Yes, we do.)
For now, that’s what comes to mind. I could also talk about lessons from gameplay mechanics to the (in?)effectiveness of our marketing but these are my top three, at least for now.