Xbox LIVE Developer Interview: Angry Mango, developers of Mush

Windows Phone Central was at the recent WPDD event in Bournemouth on the Saturday just gone where a number of developers presented their apps and projects or gave advice to inspire attendees and showcase what they've been up to. Among the presenting developers were Ahmed Zaman and Henry Hoffman from Angry Mango, the team who brought us the Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone title Mush.

If you're not familiar with Mush, it's a charming puzzle game that is focused on alternating between moods, which can be drawn on-screen. The cute little character reflects whichever mood you decide, and each mood will bring unique abilities (for example: draw a smile and he'll float through being so elated). Mush is much like ilomilo in the sense the player can't die so the game focuses more on the gameplay and puzzle aspects.

At the Windows Phone Developer Day, both Ahmed and Henry spoke about their developer experiences with Windows Phone and how Mush came to be. What's interesting to note is that it originated on the Zune HD of all devices - in fact Ahmed gave us a quick demo of the old Zune HD version in action. Angry Mango chose Windows Phone for XNA and the potential they saw in the platform.

With Windows 8 just around the corner, and Microsoft promising further integration between its products and services, Henry and Ahmed believe Windows Phone has a strong future in mobile gaming and technical innovation. Creativity and market potential was higher on Microsoft's mobile platform than for iOS, not to mention the potential to get Xbox LIVE certified. Fast forward almost two years and we have the Xbox LIVE enabled Mush for Windows Phone.

As well as the history of the game, the two developers also explained their BAFTA nominations, and actually taking one home with them. The relationship with and support from Microsoft was reported to be excellent, especially with the Xbox LIVE status. They were asked how they managed to get into the position where Mush was potentially going to be made a LIVE title, and their response was the requirement to have at least three polished, playable levels (in their case anyway). A gameplay demo with good audio is a must when pitching away to the Microsoft team.

When in the process of communicating with Microsoft about becoming an Xbox LIVE title, the developers had to constantly apply changes requested by the team. Both Henry and Ahmed jokingly recommended the audience not to develop a large game while attempting to hold down a job, as their time at university was spent adding in more features, fixing bugs, implementing LIVE functionality, and rebuilding levels. The summer was spent all crunched up in a living room for free months while everything was finalised. We must say that all the hard work and labour Henry and Ahmed poured into Mush has indeed paid off.

As well as presenting their game and walking the audience through a number of points, we caught up with the guys after the event wrapped up for a quick interview. Check out our interview with Ahmed and Henry below for more information on their experience developing for Windows Phone.

You can download Mush from the Marketplace for $2.99 (£2.29). Be sure to keep an eye out for future details of their next project.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.