The Tile Slider Puzzle is about moving tiles up and down as well as right or left in order to set each row to the same color. You need to do this in the fewest moves possible. Each time you play, the board is randomized to allow for different challenges. Multiple game board sizes increase the difficulty.
The game includes randomized boards for multiple games as well as four different play board sizes. It is great for all ages.
The Tile Slider was a proof of concept application. It was built to learn about Windows 8 development. While the overall learning was relatively painless, there were a few pain points.
The one key lesson learned, however, was that Windows 8 development is not hard if you already know how to build Windows applications. The tools (Visual Studio 2012 Express or any of the other editions of Visual Studio) make it pretty easy to build the interface without knowing a lot of XAML or other mark-up. Additionally, the core logic is standard programming for a Microsoft developer.
I learned a couple of lessons building this application. These are pretty basic lessons for anyone building a Windows 8 Application:
- Think about Snap and Fill from the start
- Use Basic not Blank templates
Think about Snap and Fill from the start
To give the best experience in your application, you need to think about the device it is being used on. There are currently four different display modes that can be used with an application. The obvious are landscape and portrait modes. You should consider how your application is being used and disable one of these if it isn’t being used. Of course, it is always best to support both.
There are also snap and fill modes. These modes happen when a person snaps an app to the right or left side of the screen. Your application will be truncated if you don’t take these modes into consideration. I write about this in my blog post, 8 Days Until Windows 8: Don’t Forget Snapping and Filling.The image below illustrates snap and fill modes.
It is worth noting that there are rumors of future modes that might also be supported. As such, the more responsive you design your application to varying screen sizes, the better your application will adapt in the future.
Use Basic not Blank templates
In my blog post, I also write about using basic templates instead of the blank template. By default, a page in a Windows 8 app uses the blank template. The biggest benefit of using the basic template is that it actually includes a lot of the behind-the-scenes code for supporting the modes mentioned above. In fact, Visual Studio 2012 will allow you to use the designer to adjust and build the different mode interfaces easily if you use the Basic templates. I covered exactly how to do that in the day 8 article mentioned above.