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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Must Have Games not starting on April 6

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Back in February, WPCentral reported on the Xbox Live 6 weeks of Must Have Games promotion. Basically, every Wednesday for 6 weeks, a high-profile game will come to Xbox Live.

We expected the promotion to begin on April 6, but it turns out that won’t be the case. This week’s Xbox Live title is Super Monkey Ball, which will cost $4.99. Read our impressions here. Who Wants to be a Millionaire also comes out that day, but only in territories outside of North America.

April 13 will see the release of Harbor Master and Centipede. Thus the earliest the Must Have Games promotion could start is April 20, but it might be even later. Update: When contacted, Microsoft would only confirm Spring as the promotion's launch date. We'll surely hear from them again in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

For now, let’s look at the Must Have Games themselves:

  • Hydro Thunder Go – The only Windows Phone-exclusive of the bunch. Go is the mobile adaptation of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the latest entry in the popular boat-racing series. Go’s 3D graphics and water effects are probably the best Windows Phone 7 has seen. Follow this link for a video trailer and our first impressions.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – Sonic 4 marks the return to side-scrolling gameplay for everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. The series has been marred by lackluster 3D titles in recent years. Sonic 4 doesn’t quite match the quality of the 16-bit Sonic games, but it’s still a worthwhile platformer. The mobile version of Sonic 4 was developed concurrently with the console title and features different stage layouts.  Follow this link for our first impressions.
  • Plants vs Zombies – From the makers of Bejeweled comes a unique tower defense game in which players place plants in strategic locations across lawns, swimming pools, and rooftops in order to fend off an army of cartoonish zombies. The PC version of Plants vs Zombies is one of my all-time favorite games.
  • geoDefense – A challenging tower defense game that features neon-colored vector graphics, much like the Geometry Wars series of shooters. geoDefense is a pretty game, but is it really that popular?
  • Doodle Jump – The original jumping game makes its way to Xbox Live. Tilt the phone to steer Doodle Jumper up a never-ending series of platforms, much like MonsterUp. Knock out enemies by furiously tapping on them. Windows Phone gamers may already know Doodle Jumper from his Parachute Panic cameo.
  • Angry Birds – One of the most popular mobile games of all-time rounds out the Must Have Games promotion. Launch birds out of a slingshot in order to collapse structures and eliminate the pigs who’ve stolen the birds’ eggs. The Windows Phone version of Angry Birds has a whopping 195 levels.
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3 years ago

WP Bench: Arrive vs Focus vs Quantum [Video]

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WP Bench is a nifty free app that hit the Marketplace this weekend. It's what it sounds like, a full featured Benchmarking suite used to gauge your device's GPU, CPU, battery, display, etc. All in all, solid stuff. Couple of niggles though: you can't save results, you lose them if the screen turns off and no database to compare to other devices. But hey, for v1.0 and free, it's a great start.

  • CPU singlethreaded performance
  • CPU multithreaded performance
  • Memory read/write speed
  • Storage read/write speed
  • GPU performance
  • Display color reproduction
  • Battery life tester

We decided, for laughs, to throw it on the LG Quantum, Samsung Focus and HTC Arrive to see what we got. (hint: results were similar) You can see the results above and watch the short video after the jump to see what the app has in store. Overall, we like it. You can grab it here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

'Spring cleaning' gives devs chance for Marketplace spotlight

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One big complaint we hear over and over from devs is how to get their app featured in the Marketplace--you know, one of the apps listed in when you launch the store, sometimes it has a nifty panorama, or the app is feature on Microsoft's site, etc. To have your app up there, especially for indie devs, is huuuge as it gives much attention to their work and in turn, well, more revenue. 

Microsoft just announced the oddly titled 'Spring cleaning project' which is a contest of sorts to allow devs a shot at getting their app featured. Up till now, the process has been mostly unknown and there were no known methods of getting MS's attention to consider your app. Now, with this contest, devs can basically contact Microsoft and tell 'em why their app meets the three requirements:

  1. There will be three different opportunities: April, May, and June 2011
  2. Your App must be published to the Windows Phone Marketplace by the 15th of each month (by 11:59 PM PST)
  3. Your App must work as promised
  4. Your App must be new to the Marketplace or be a new version with substantial, new features or capabilities as mentioned earlier
  5. You then email the following information to wp7springclean@microsoft.com:

We'll post the rest after the break, but this should be a big hit with indie devs and we're hoping some of our favorites get featured.

Update: To clarify, games do count too--but since pivot/panorama don't apply, other criteria will e.g. use of a Live tile or push notification. In other words, be creative! (Thanks, Ben Lower, from Microsoft for the clarification)

Source: Windows Phone Marketplace Developer Communication

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3 years ago

What do those signal icons mean on my Windows Phone?

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Ever wonder what all those icons mean at the top of your Windows Phone screen? Look no further at Microsoft has gone ahead and detailed all of 'em for you.  Things like roaming, DO (for EvDO, CMDA's 3G standard) and a few others may be a little obscure, so it's nice to have a key.

Sure, for many of us who've been around smartphones, the support article at Microsoft seems like a big ol' "duh" but there are more non-smartphone users in the world than ones with, so be kind.

Even more icons and descriptions can be found here on Microsof'ts support page.

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3 years ago

WP7 Root Tools 0.1 alpha [Homebrew]

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For those with developer unlocked devices, you may be interested in Heathcliff74's new tool found at XDA. Called 'WP7 Root Tools' the app is a very early release of what promises to be quite the full-featured registry editor, file explorer and tweaker app. More importantly, with this first release he's given us root (or at least near root) access on Samsung devices, something that has proven difficult so far in the homebrew scene.

This is the first release of a tool, that I've been working on for the past months. With this tool you get root-access to parts of your WP7 device. The first release only contains a registry-editor. The file-explorer and certificate stores will follow.

This tool is in alpha stage. That means that it is not feature complete and it is not yet properly tested. This tool also provides you with high privileges with which you can alter low level settings and data on this device. All this may result in unexpected and undesired behaviour, which may ultimately damage your device. Use this tool with care and use it at your own risk. The developer of this tool cannot be hold responsible for any kind of damages, caused directly or indirectly by using this tool.

The current version of this tool can only be used on Samsung devices. A small part of the code uses Samsung-specific functionality. The performance of the tool may sometimes be slow. This is the result of the way access to the system is elevated. The goal is to make this tool device-independent and to elevate access more directly in the future, but that requires more research.

Before forewarned though: if you're not a developer or know your way around registries, don't tinker--this can seriously screw up your phone as it accesses some pretty deep level stuff. Having said that, devs can now go deeper in writing apps for the phones, getting access to areas of the device not yet achieved.

Source: XDA; Thanks, Tobias, for the heads up

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3 years ago

NoDo update hack released--works for every device, every carrier right now

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Last night on the Twitter, Chris Walsh, aka one of the people who brought ChevronWP7 to the masses, was working on something "big", having Raphael Rivera testing something related to those new tools release by Microsoft. Those tools were meant to fix two rare but possible update errors people may be experiencing with the NoDo updater.

Turns out, when modified, those tools were able to force pre-NoDo and NoDo updates to any phone, any carrier with any language. Indeed. There's no sideloading here, no modifying of registries, etc. Just a multi-step process that will bring you the update to your phone right now.

Basically they’ve created a managed wrapper over the whole update process for us, rather nice of them.

So I flashed my HTC Mozart back to RTM (7004) via a ROM update HTC ship and whipped up a little application to flash pre-NoDo (7008), NoDo (7355), NoDo update 1 (7389) & NoDo update 2 (7390) all in a single process. No I don’t care which carrier you are on, which phone you have, it’ll just update your phone accordingly.

We really have to commend Microsoft here for being able to split up the OS updates into differential packs, which saves users downloading 200+ MB updates, unlike the IFruit updates.

All you need to do is run the ChevronWP7.Updater.exe console app and follow the prompts.

For the instructions and custom updater file (both for 32 and 64 bit Windows), go to Walsh's blog for more info. [Also, see Simple Mobile Review for a step-by-step walkthrough]

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3 years ago

Jeff Wilcox's Metro design guide [Developers]

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With Windows Phone 7 featuring such a beautiful UI, there has to be a level of quality present in application appearance and user friendliness to match the core system, which is entirely different to the competition. However, there are a handful (or more) apps on the Marketplace that aren't up-to-par.

Jeff Wilcox, better known for the 4th&Mayor FourSquare app for WP7, has published a Metro UI guide for developers, which is beautiful in itself. Covering the factors; ease of use, simplicity, discoverability, conformance and more, the guide is a must read for any WP7 developer or even iOS and Android developers to gain an insight into the Metro universe.

Almost simply listing what to do and what not to do, Jeff explains the steps that are required and calculations that need to be made for your app to succeed in the Marketplace with both sales/downloads and highly rated reviews. Also, it's always nice to have a resource available for those who wish to port the UI to other platforms, but mimicking the appearance of WP7 is one thing, replicating the user experience is another.

Source: Jeff Wilcox, via: @guinnesslee

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3 years ago

AdDuplex Silverlight Control v.1.1.3 Released [Developers]

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Hey, app wizards! AdDuplex Silverlight control version 1.1.3 has been released. Though not a major release featuring functions that allows you to advertise your app in another dimension (but I'm sure they're pretty close), 1.1.3 marks another stability and bug fixing update. Most notable is the memory leak bug that can occur - no one likes memory leakages.

The update is (as always) available in the client area for developers to download. If you're not familiar with AdDuplex and you're a developer seeking new ways to monetize your free app(s), then you should seriously check it out. In a nutshell AdDuplex allows developers to promote other apps in their apps while other apps promote their own. If you understood that then you are far smarter than I.

Source: AdDuplex Blog, via: WindowsPhoneGeek

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3 years ago

Harbor Master - Exclusive preview

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Harbor Master - Exclusive preview

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Harbor Master was probably coming to Xbox Live on April 13. Developer Imangi Studios recently confirmed that release date is correct, so we thought it would be a good time to bring you a full preview of the game.

Firemint’s Flight Control is a well-known line-drawing game. The game presents players with a simple 2D overhead map with two or more runways and helicopter landing pads. Planes and helicopters enter the screen randomly and the player must direct them to the appropriate runway/landing pad by drawing pathways. Vehicles are color coded and must be sent to the same colored destination. They also vary in size and speed, but they’re all worth one point each when landed. As an aircraft lands, it disappears and the player is free to worry about other oncoming planes. It’s a simple formula that becomes more challenging as the number of incoming planes increases.

Imangi Studios saw an opportunity to improve on the line-drawing formula with their own title, Harbor Master. At first glance it looks similar to Flight Control, but Imangi has made a lot of tweaks that result in a different and more interesting game.

Right from the start, Harbor Master’s focus on boats instead of planes changes the line-drawing experience. Each map has land forms and structures that boats must navigate around in order to dock. Thus maps require unique strategies as players create shipping lanes based around map’s shapes.

Steer past the jump for our full preview with plenty of screenshots and exclusive details straight from the developer...

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3 years ago

ESPN ScoreCenter - Review

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ESPN ScoreCenter - Review

Growing up, ABC's Wide World of Sports was the place to be for sports programming. How did the saying go? "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." Today, most will agree that ESPN is the leading name in sports programming, news and information.  Okay...so how does all this tie into Windows Phone 7? Easy.

ESPN recently released their first Windows Phone 7 application, ScoreCenter, that brings the resources of ESPN to your Windows Phone.  It's a clean, well presented application that will keep you up to date on the latest sports news and allow you to follow your favorite sports and teams. Move on past the break to see how well the ESPN ScoreCenter performed and how it measures up against another Windows Phone sports app, ScoreMobile.

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3 years ago

Get a sneak peek at Sonic 4 gameplay

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Looks like we have some eagle-eye readers out there like Beshoy, who noticed on the official Windows Phone Facebook page a sneak-peak at Sonic 4.

We've known since February that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 (also on Xbox 360) was coming to Windows Phone 7. The classic platform game is part of the big-title push coming in April to our beloved OS, which includes Angry Birds and Doodle Jump, amongst others.

Anyways, if you head to the Facebook demo page and hit the Xbox LIVE button, you'll be treated to some very brief gameplay of Sonic in action. It's what you expect it to be as it looks just like the console port that you can get now. We're certainly curious about how in-game controls work for this title and are hoping for the best as you really just can't beat some old Sonic, now can you?

Source: Windows Phone Facebook (demos); Thanks, Beshoy, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Fable Coin Golf - Review

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Fable Coin Golf - Review

The Xbox game Fable has been around for years, dating back to the first generation Xbox consoles.  It is a widely popular game (it even has its own Wiki Page) that is on its third installment (fourth if you count the Lost Chapters) and has now come to your Windows Phone.  Well, in a manner of speaking.

Fable Coin Golf is a companion game to the XBox 360 console game and incorporates several elements of Fable III in a table top golf game.  The object, as described in the Marketplace, is to "rid the land of evil and conquer each area by getting your Hero Puck into the Pillar of Light in as few shots as possible." The evil in which is spoken of includes characters from the video game including Hobbes, Balvarines, Hollow Men and other colorful characters who are intent on destroying you.

Fable Coin Golf is a wonderfully presented game that has challenging moments that border on being a pain. To find out more about this XBox Live game for your Windows Phone, slide on past the break.

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3 years ago

InQuizition - Review

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InQuizition - Review

IronSun Studios, developers of Ionball, Lucky7 and Santa Quest, is now offering InQuizition over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. InQuizition is a trivia application that presents you with questions that have multiple answers.  Your job is to find all the correct answers under a time limit.  You start the game with three lives and with each wrong answer or if you fail to beat the time, you lose a life.

InQuizition presents you with a question and twelve possible answers. The number of correct answers are illustrated by a row of stars at the top of the screen and as you choose the correct answer, a star lights up.    Trivia questions range from identifying Beatles songs to animals in the Chinese Zodiac.  

You will need to read the questions carefully. Sometimes the questions directs you to choose answers that are NOT a part of a particular group. Then there are times you are asked to identify answers that are a part of a particular group.

Continued after the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Support Tool fixes NoDo update errors

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One story that has gone mostly unmentioned, due to the non-drama, is how smoothly the NoDo updates have been going for thousands now--meaning we're not having the botched updates we saw with the February/pre-NoDo update.

Still, on the rare occasion there are still a few errors happening (though we haven't heard anyone complain yet to us). Specifically there are two errors that seem to affect a small amount of users that have the following codes:

  • 800705B4: The timer ran out on what we were trying to do.
  • 80180080: We couldn't update your phone because your operating system might be corrupt.

For those, Microsoft has released a special tool, preventing users from fiddling with their hard disk space and/or hard-resetting their phone. If you do have the above mentioned errors, head to Microsoft support to grab the special tool and get 'er fixed already.

Source: Microsoft Support; Thanks, Kevin W, for the heads up

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